University of Western Australia: UWA experts named finalists in WA Innovator Awards

Technology that combats antimicrobial resistance and a venture to help ensure food security, both initiatives founded by researchers from The University of Western Australia, have been named as finalists in the WA Innovator of the Year Awards.

Associate Professor Parwinder Kaur, from the School of Agriculture and Environment, co-founded the biotech company Ex Planta which is a finalist in the Rio Tinto Emerging Innovation category.

Associate Professor Kaur said they were using microbes to produce high-value compounds that could be used in human and animal supplements.

“We have been working on this research for more than a decade and are now getting ready to begin the journey of commercialisation to change the future of food production in a sustainable way,” Associate Professor Kaur said.

“Nature has so much to offer. We can use both nature and biotechnology to address the challenges of food security.”

Biotech company, Lixa (formerly Neolixir), co-founded by UWA Research Fellow Dr Angela Fonceca, from the School of Biomedical Sciences, is a finalist in the Wesfarmers Wellbeing category.

Dr Fonceca, who works in Microbiology and Immunology, said WA had some ‘exceptional innovators’ and it was exciting to be among the finalists in the awards.

“Lixa is developing technology that provides a non-antibiotic way to combat global antimicrobial resistance in humans, animals and commercial crops to help reduce spoilage,” Dr Fonceca said.

“We hope we can connect to commercial partners and fast-track our product development so we can bring this much needed solution to people around the world.”

The winners of the awards, which recognise WA companies that have developed an innovative product, technology or service, will be announced at the December 5 awards ceremony.

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