Toby Hendy, one of our Eureka Alumni, has been awarded a Westpac Future Leaders Scholarship which are offered to students who have the power to make a difference to in the areas of technology and innovation. As part of the scholarship, the students receive up to $120,000 in funding over a period of two to three years. The scholarships also involve a nine-month leadership development program and an international experience for a period of up to six months.
Toby Hendy will begin her PhD in Physics in August after completing her honours in Physics. She also wants to spend six months at Cambridge University.
Toby's research area relates to physics and biology, and looks at the mechanical properties of plant cells and how they respond to pressure.
"Diseases infect plant cells by applying pressure to the surface before penetrating. The plant cell tries to strengthen to protect itself from that invasion. I'm looking at how the plant cell stiffens or rearranges itself to become a more resistant material.
From a biology point of view, if we can understand nature's response, we can use that to our advantage and make more resistant varieties of crop and prevent crops from being infected with disease."