Congratulations to ARC Postpocoral fellow Dr Vanessa Kellerman who has been awarded a coveted L’Oréal Australia For Women in Science Fellowship.
The $25,000 fellowship is awarded annually to three female scientists with no more than five years of post-doctoral experience. The fellowships are awarded to women who have shown scientific excellence in their career, and are designed to help women scientists consolidate their careers and rise to leadership positions in science.
Vanessa is working with Drosophila fruit fly species from Tasmania to tropical Queensland as model organisms for investigating the capacity of species to adapt to climate change. She has already demonstrated that tropical flies are more vulnerable to change in the long term; they don’t have the genetic capacity to evolve quickly. Now, with her L’Oréal Fellowship, she will explore how flexible they are in the short term — how individual insects can respond to change during their lifetimes.
“The thinking is that if the speed of climate change is quicker than genetic change, then perhaps immediate changes in the body’s thermal tolerance can hold the fort, while evolution catches up” Vanessa said.
“Plasticity is a real hole in our knowledge of adaptation. No one has really set out to examine the variation in plasticity over so many species. The L’Oréal Fellowship will allow me to scope out the project and determine what works.”
For more, see: How flies can help us predict the future.
Check out Vanessa’s YouTube video.