New Fellows ... physicist Professor Timothy Ralph (left) and Professor Phil Hugenholtz.
New Fellows ... physicist Professor Timothy Ralph (left) and Professor Phil Hugenholtz.
22 May 2017

The thrill of fundamental discovery is a driving force for two University of Queensland professors who have today been named as new Fellows of the Australian Academy of Science.

Optical quantum physicist Professor Timothy Ralph and genomic microbiologist Professor Philip Hugenholtz were among 21 new Fellows of the prestigious Academy announced at a Canberra ceremony this morning.

Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Peter Høj said the two new Fellows brought the total number of UQ academics elected to the Academy to 37.

“Tim and Philip are outstanding scientists who have made significant and sustained contributions to advance knowledge in their respective fields,” Professor Høj said.

“They have strong track records in disseminating their scientific knowledge to the broader community.

“Congratulations to both on behalf of the UQ community, and a big thank you for their ongoing endeavours.

“Their election to the Academy further attests to UQ’s global knowledge leadership in science.”

Professor Høj said Professor Ralph and Professor Hugenholtz worked in fundamental science, and their work would contribute significantly to society.

“Professor Ralph’s work as Node Director for the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Quantum Computation and Communication Technology at UQ is likely to contribute to ultra-secure communications and more powerful computers,” Professor Høj said.

“He is working in an area that offers the promise of entirely new ways to communicate, store and process information that will vastly outperform current information systems.”

Professor Hugenholtz is director of the Australian Centre for Ecogenomics at UQ, which is playing a key role in helping scientists understand the structure and function of microbial communities.

“Professor Hugenholtz’s work on the rapidly expanding genomic database is providing important evolutionary and ecological insights,” Professor Høj said.

“He is also working on the human microbiome, providing the highest resolution picture of our microbial inner workings thus far.

"And, as the only one of the new Fellows aged under 50, he has a long and bright researchfuture ahead of him.”

Professor Høj also congratulated new Fellows Professor Jenny Martin of the Griffith Institute for Drug Discovery and Professor Melsissa LIttle of the Murdoch Children's Research Institute, who had completed significant research while working at UQ.

Australian Academy of Science President Professor Andrew Holmes congratulated all the new Fellows for making significant and lasting impacts in science.

“What is delightful about our latest group of new Fellows is that many were inspired to become scientists at an early age,” Professor Holmes said.

The full list of 2017 Academy fellows is here.

The full list of UQ’s AAS Fellows is here (scroll down and click on Australian Academy of Science tab).

A video of Professor Hugenholtz discussing his work is here.

A video of Professor Ralph discussing his work is here.

Media: UQ Communications,, +61 7 3346 7086.