BHP Billiton Science and Engineering Awards – a proud history for QAHS

Australia’s most prestigious school science awards, the BHP Foundation Science and Engineering Awards reward students for creative research projects and engineering innovations, and teachers for their contribution to science education.

QAHS 2018 graduates Julia Bejleri, Hannah Lee and Maria Saito, along with QAHS Head of Science and Enrichment Mr Mark Cooper,  were outstanding ambassadors for Queensland Academies at the 2019 BHP Billiton Science and Engineering Awards on 5 February in Melbourne. Prior to attending the Awards event, the student finalists attended a four day science experience camp connecting with science researchers from Melbourne University, CSIRO and BHP Billiton, and presented their scientific investigations to a judging panel of industry and university scientists.

Since becoming eligible to enter in 2009, QAHS students’ Science Extended Essays have resulted in a staggering 36 student finalists. QAHS is the only school in Australia to experience this level of success. Congratulations Julia, Hannah, Maria and Mr Cooper. Our thanks and gratitude to the dedicated QAHS Science Faculty.

QAHS 2019 Finalists

Julia Bejleri
Investigating the effectiveness of plant extracts and PPIs as urease inhibitors

After Julia found out her uncle had been impacted by Helicobacter pylori, a bacteria that causes stomach inflammation, she decided to investigate ways to counteract the bacteria. She discovered Helicobacter pylori could no longer survive in the human stomach when urease (an enzyme situated in the bacterium’s surface) is inhibited. She tested medications and found Maxor and Salpraz were the most effective in inhibiting urease.
View Julia’s finalist video profile:

Hannah Lee
Synergy between tricyclic drugs and common antibiotics

Hannah was concerned about the lack of antibiotics to counter multiple drug-resistant bacteria. She found that combination therapy targets the resistance mechanism of bacteria to increase the efficacy of drugs administered in combination. She investigated how effective tricyclic drugs (promethazine and clomipramine) were in combination with common antibiotics (ampicillin and erythromycin) against Escherichia coli K-12.
View Hannah’s finalist video profile:

Maria Saito
Efficacy of water disinfectants towards water purification

Maria investigated the efficacy of three commonly-used water treatment techniques on the disinfection of a non-pathogenic, freshwater protozoan species, Paramecium caudatum. She found a mixed oxidants solution from the electrolysis of a brine solution has a promising future as a safe and globally accessible water disinfectant to be used at around 25 degrees Celsius.
View Maria’s finalist video profile:

Mr Mark Cooper

Mr Cooper was nominated by CSIRO. He has been a secondary science teacher in Queensland for over 27 years. In 2006, he was seconded as a science consultant to the Supreme Education Council of Qatar to implement a new secondary science curriculum. He has been actively involved in the CSIRO CREST Awards program as well as the Stockholm Junior Water Prize, Chemistry Olympiad and the Science Teacher Association of Queensland (STAQ).

Prize winning projects and all finalists video profiles are located at:

Mrs Vanessa Rebgetz
Principal (Acting)