Australia China Alumni Awards celebrate top talent

Congratulations to Dr Yijia Li (PhD 2014) who this week received the AIDE Education Service – Young Australia China Alumni of the Year Award in a ceremony in Guangzhou.

Yijia LiDr Li accepting the award at the Australia China Alumni Awards night in Guangzhou.

A biologist and economist specialising in stem cell research, Dr Li set up a 3,200 square meter translational research facility – the only stem cell bank in Yunnan province, China. The facility, of which he is co-founder and director, will develop stem cell storage, genome research on stem cells and cancer, and begin clinical trials on stem cell treatments for cancer.

Dr Li not only focuses on the potential for science to benefit global health, he is also interested in working with the next generation of leaders and scientists from China and Melbourne and the results that combination may yield.

"The award is a great honour," says Dr Li. "It encourages me do better reaseach and help others, and aim to link Australia and China much tighter."

Through a not-for-profit organisation he set up when a PhD student, Dr Li also helps Chinese students assimilate into Australian society.

Congratulations also to alumna Jemma Xu (BCom 2012, BEng 2012) who was a finalist for the same award. 

Jemma is the CEO and co-founder of Tripalocal, which connects Chinese schools, students and parents to short-term international educational experiences. She was profiled in the latest issue of 3010.

In addition to working with the schools, Jemma has volunteered in rural Guizhou and Gansu provinces to experience firsthand poverty and educational issues in rural China.

“We are proud of our many exceptional young alumni who show such leadership and innovation wherever they go," says Dr James Allan, Director of Alumni and Stakeholder Relationships at the University of Melbourne.

"Dr Li’s work fosters connections between China and Melbourne while driving major medical breakthroughs in stem cell research, and we are delighted to congratulate him on this win."

The Australia China Alumni Awards were established in 2009 to recognise the achievements of Chinese students who graduate from an Australian university.

A full list of the winners and finalists for 2016 can be found here.