Alan Carpenter

Alan Carpenter

Premier; Minister for Federal-State Relations; Trade; Innovation; Science; Public Sector Management

    WA students win international recognition

    19/06/2008 12:00 AM

    Premier Alan Carpenter today announced two young Western Australian students won prizes at the worId’s most prestigious biotechnology competition in San Diego this week.


    Mr Carpenter congratulated 16-year-old Oliver Tester and 17-year-old Bindhu Holavanahalli during State Parliament today for finishing third and fourth at the sanofi-aventis International BioGENEius Challenge.


    “This is an outstanding achievement for science in WA,” he said.


    “Bindhu and Oliver are excellent role models for other WA students and their success is a credit to their mentors, teachers and schools that supported them in their studies.


    “WA is the first country outside North America to compete in the BioGENEius Challenge and these students have proved themselves to be among the world’s best.”


    The Premier said both students had made key discoveries in the field of agricultural biotechnology, which had now been recognised by the international science communities.


    “Their research has the potential to directly benefit consumers and agri-business and their achievements highlight on the international stage the significant world-class biotechnology capabilities we have in this State,” he said.


    Bindhu, a former Shenton College student, used cutting-edge GeneChip technology to understand how sulphur dioxide affected table grapes.


    Sulphur dioxide is used to give grapes a longer shelf life, but her research found that it also increases the production of antioxidants, giving greater nutritional value to the consumer.


    Bindhu was mentored by Dr Aneta Ivanova, a researcher at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Plant Energy Biology at The University of Western Australia.


    Oliver, who attends Murdoch College, established a test to identify peptide markers characteristic of different types of clover available to sheep farmers.


    This will help to quickly identify the varieties which contain high levels of oestrogen that could lead to clover disease in sheep.


    Oliver’s research improved the accuracy and reduced the time taken to carry out a purity test of clover varieties to only two days, a time saving of six weeks.


    He was mentored by Adjunct Associate Professor Chris Florides, managing director of Saturn Biotech Ltd, based at the WA State Agricultural Biotechnology Centre at Murdoch University.


    The Premier congratulated the WA trade and investment office in the US for creating the opportunity, the Minister for Industry and Enterprise and the Minister for Education for championing it, and the Department of Industry and Resources for delivering such a strong outcome.

    More information on the challenge is available at



    Premier's office  - 9222 9475