Monday, May 20, 2024

Indian-origin professor in Australia honoured with top microbiology award

An Indian-origin professor from Australia has been awarded the 2023 Dorothy Jones Prize for using microbiology to make a significant contribution to understanding of terrestrial life and preservation of global ecosystem.

Brajesh Singh, a global expert in the field of microbial functional ecology from the Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment in Western Sydney University, was presented the award at the British Medical Association (BMA) House in London last month.

Singh’s fundamental research provides solutions to global challenges, including environmental degradation and food insecurity.

This has been done by identifying the quantitative relationships between soil diversity and ecosystem functions and exploring how these are impacted by natural and anthropogenic pressures.

Findings from his research, identifying the causal link between soil microbial and faunal soil biodiversity and key ecosystem functions and services, have advanced crucial areas of ecosystem science, according to a Western Sydney University release.

The research findings have also informed multiple policy decisions at regional, national, and global levels, including providing key recommendations for bilateral engagements in agribusiness and trade between Australia and both India and the European Union.

He has developed innovations to boost the efficacy of existing microbial products and provided new tools for manipulating soil and plant microbiomes for an array of industries across Australia and the world, the release said.

Singh is currently working with multiple government and intergovernmental bodies, including the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), to train farmers, consultants, and policy advisors in sustainable agriculture, and in the Sustainable Development Goals.

In addition, he works with the UN FAO’s Global Soil Partnership to boost the resilience of farming systems and ensure environmentally sustainable food security measures globally.

Having spent ten years honing his knowledge in Scotland before relocating to Australia, Singh also advises the European Commission on enhancing productivity in the bioeconomy.

He is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science; the Soil Science Society of Australia; the Soil Science Society of America, the American Academy of Microbiology, and a Humboldt Research Awardee.

Named after Dr Dorothy Jones — who served as President of Applied Microbiology International from 1989 to 1991 — the prize is part of the Applied Microbiology International Horizon Awards, which celebrate the brightest minds in the field promoting individuals and research shaping the future of applied microbiology.

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