Dr Rama Jayaraj, lecturer and parasitologist at Charles Darwin University (CDU), received the 2015 Pride of Australia “Inspiration Medal” for the Northern Territory (NT) at the Pride of Australia Felicitation Ceremony held in Parliament House in Darwin, NT on 7th October 2015.
Dr Rama Jayaraj has made significant contributions to Indigenous education and provided high-quality student support, while contributing to cancer and parasitology research. He inspired his students and initiated partnerships with many organisations that provide support for his student’s projects.
“I am really honoured to receive the award,” Rama said. “There are so many committed health professionals and educators working hard in the NT. I am very humbled.”
Rama said his research in Australia started with ASP, whom he considers “my mother and great association” in his professional life – particularly his research with Prof Peter Smooker from RMIT and Prof David Piedrafita from Federation University on the liver fluke’s stage-specific and multivalent recombinant protein and DNA vaccines. (Genet Vaccines Ther. 2012 Aug 31;10(1):7. doi: 10.1186/1479-0556-10-7.) “Peter and David trained me in molecular techniques and tissue handling and moulded me into a successful researcher,” Rama said.
My research with A/Prof Shelley Walton (then at Menzies School of Health Research and now at University of the Sunshine Coast) contributed to a rapid diagnostic test development for scabies using IgE specificity for a recombinant allergen of Sarcoptes scabiei. (Diagn Microbiol Infect Dis. 2011 Dec;71(4):403-7. doi: 10.1016/j.diagmicrobio.2011.09.007. Epub 2011 Oct 21.)
“I believe the best research results from a collaborative team approach” Rama said.
More recently Rama has been working on community engagement and cultural activities focusing on Australian Indigenous alcohol-associated assaults and violence.
“The whole team at CDU is excited about the award,” he said. “We hope it helps to promote the importance of health research and education in the NT, strengthens existing collaborations and creates new ones.”
“Many of our students are nurses, who are mothers and also work full-time,” Rama said. “We have developed and adapted the delivery of our courses using e-learning tools to be more flexible in assisting students to meet their work and study commitments.”
The Pride of Australia “Inspiration Medal” is awarded by the NT News and the Sunday Territorian in the NT. It recognises a member of teaching professions from early childhood to university education or a role model whose compassion and wisdom while teaching, coaching and mentoring youth has been truly inspiring.
Earlier this year Rama received the Ryan Family Award for exceptional performance and contribution to CDU for his commitment to excellence in teaching and involvement in research with a global reach.