The University of Queensland's 2017 Alumni Awards recognise a diverse range of leaders who have created change by advancing knowledge, powering economies and advocating for human rights and dignity.

UQ Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Peter Høj said the awards recognised alumni who had accomplished outstanding success and made exemplary contributions to their fields and communities within Australia and globally.

Melissa is an internationally-recognised researcher whose acclaimed work includes the breakthrough of growing 'mini kidneys' in a laboratory.

Much of Melissa's distinguished career was been spent at UQ, where she completed both her undergraduate and postgraduate research training and was employed for 22-years.

Melissa is considered a pioneer in the field of renal stem cell biology and renal regeneration and has spent decades as a forerunner in these fields developing new regenerative treatment options. With kidney disease affecting one in every 10 Australians and with kidney failure rapidly increasing at six per cent per annum, Melissa recognised an urgent need for new treatment options and devoted her life to this endeavour.

Melissa is a devoted mentor to researchers of all levels and conducts workshops on empowering women for a broad range of audiences including corporate entities such as law firms. She believes in the importance of having visible female leaders across industries who are also mothers.