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ARC Future Fellowship

A huge congratulations to Dr. Belinda Ferrari, a successful applicant for the highly competitive ARC Future Fellowship award. 

Atmospheric carbon fixation: a novel microbial process in Antarctic soils. This project aims to challenge our global understanding of carbon fixation. In most ecosystems, phototrophy supports higher-trophic life, yet no genetic evidence for photosynthesis exists in Antarctic desert soils. The project will determine the significance of atmospheric chemotrophy, a microbial driven process based on the consumption of atmospheric gases that it is proposed supports energy maintenance and biomass assimilation in nutrient-starved Antarctic desert soils. Additionally, the project will establish if these processes are structuring soil microbial communities, particularly in response to climate change. The expected project outcome is knowledge of primary production at the nutritional limits of life. This should provide significant benefit, such as a shift in our knowledge of the biological sciences as a new minimalistic mode of primary production.

News at the Ferrari Lab

As Mukan Ji prepares for his final presentations as part of his PhD, the Ferrari Lab welcomes Angelique Ray, who will be undertaking her Honours year in 2017. 2016 Honours student Eden Zhang is back and begins her PhD! Undergraduate lab assistant Lucien Alperstein has started a small research project as part of his coursework for Advanced Science (Microbiology) under the wing of PhD candidate Nicole Benaud.

The lab also welcomes closer ties with UNSW's Centre for Astrobiology. The Centre focuses on interdisciplinary research into the origin and evolution of life on Earth and throughout the universe.


Congratulations to Sally Crane and Eden Zhang, who graduate from an MPhil (Biotechnology) and Honours (Biotechnology) respectively! Both Sally and Eden have plans to stay with the Ferrari Lab and begin PhDs in 2017.

Sally Crane, Belinda Ferrari and Eden Zhang, post-graduation. November 2016.

Belinda Ferrari wins Best Supervisor at PGC awards!

This year Ferrari Lab Director Belinda Ferrari scooped the top prize at the Postgraduate Council (PGC) Supervisor Awards and was awarded a PGC Outstanding Supervisor Award. 

Only three supervisors receive this award each year, and this is the first time BABS has won the top prize!


Belinda was presented the award by Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research Training) and Dean of Graduate Research Professor Laura Poole-Warren, and will be featured in the PGC and Graduate Research School Newsletters. 

The award recognised Belinda's outstanding dedication to both her role as supervisor and her wider activities within the University. Belinda's lab team is both very lucky and very proud!

PhD candidate Josie van Dorst wins 2013 Faculty of Science Postgraduate Research Competition

23 August 2013.  


Josie van Dorst has won a $5000 towards international travel research in the 2013 Postgraduate Research Competition. Josie's presentation on impacts of diesel fuel on the microbial ecology of sub-antarctic soils and determining site-specific remediation end points based on soil microbial ecology responses can be seen below:

Josie van Dorst on Macquarie Island.

Josie van Dorst on Macquarie Island.