22 August 2014

Neuroscientist Professor Justin Marshall has been awarded a Laureate Fellowship under the Australian Research Council’s most prestigious research grants scheme.

Professor Justin Marshall

Neuroscientist Professor Justin Marshall has been awarded a Laureate Fellowship under the Australian Research Council's most prestigious research grants scheme.

QBI Founding Director Professor Perry Bartlett said Professor Marshall is richly deserving of being honoured with Australia's premier research accolade.

"Professor Marshall’s pioneering research into how vision is processed in crustaceans and fish is leading to 'bioinspired engineering' in areas as diverse as medical imaging and remote sensing from satellites," he said.

Professor Marshall said his work in decoding languages such as colour and polarisation has significant impact for both humans and machinery.

"Nature has so much to teach us and the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) is packed with creatures with secrets to tell," Professor Marshall said.

"My work on animal vision will show us new ways of visualising the underwater and terrestrial environment.

"The project is all about studying animals behaving and seeing in their natural habitat, not in the lab.

"Taking tips from sensory neuroscience teaches us how to design our own sensors better."

Many animals experienced their world through colours and light modes that are invisible to humans, Professor Marshall said.

"The 'evolved engineering' power of the visual systems on the GBR is a resource we are only just beginning to understand. As new threats and competing interests surround the Reef, it is critical we understand what we have got there before we lose it.

"Australia has a proud tradition of showcasing its amazing animals and their extraordinary sensory adaptations. I am thrilled to continue that work."

The ARC’s Australian Laureate Fellowships scheme is designed to attract and retain outstanding researchers, to provide exemplary mentorship and nurture early-career researchers, and to create an enduring legacy in ground-breaking international research with economic, environmental, social and cultural benefits for Australia.

Professor Marshall will receive ARC and UQ funding consisting of salary support, funding for postdoctoral researchers and postgraduate students, and significant project funding over five years.

QBI’s Professor Jason Mattingley received an ARC Australian Laureate Fellowship in 2011.

Media: Mikaeli Costello, Mikaeli.Costello@uq.edu.au, +61 401 580 685