Persistence pays

When former Australian Chief Scientist Professor Ian Chubb spoke at the National Press Club in Canberra in March 2015, he was asked why he took on such a challenging job. He responded and said he wanted to be known as relentlessly persistent.

Tall Jolley

It’s a strategy greatly admired by Associate Professor Dianne Jolley from the School of Chemistry, whose research contributes to understanding contaminant toxicity and the development of environmental guidelines that assist in the regulation and remediation of contamination.

Jolley wants to extend this to make a difference at the ground level - to inspire individuals to care about their daily actions and be conscious of how their actions contribute to a larger footprint: She wants people to consider the impact of the chemicals they use at home and in the veggie garden, the consumption of unnecessary medications, and the appropriate disposal of waste.

"Securing a sustainable future is a journey we should all care about, and we need to be persistent to make a difference,” she said.

Jolley has multiple national and international collaborators within academia, industry and government, and together they have attracted more than $5 million to support their research; produced more than 80 publications and reports; delivered more than 100 international conference presentations; and graduated more than 40 research students.

She leads a dynamic research group which is investigating the assessment and prediction of toxicity. This work includes establishing field-based tools to assess the risk of contaminants in aquatic and agricultural systems; investigating the biological impacts of contaminants and uses the outcomes to critically inform the science that underpins the water and sediment quality guidelines; and probing the mechanisms of contaminant toxicity and biomarkers to diagnose this toxicity, with a goal to predict when toxicity may occur and how to prevent it.