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Qld scientist up for Australia Day Award

AAP logoAAP 11/11/2016 David Sigston

A biomolecular scientist whose research has been hailed as more impressive than the moon landing is one of four Queenslanders in the running to be Australian of the Year.

Professor Alan Mackay-Sim's stem cell research played a key role in the world's first successful restoration of mobility in a quadriplegic man.

British professor Geoffrey Raisman, who was part of the surgery that allowed paralysed Polish firefighter Darek Fidyka to walk again, said the outcome was "more impressive than man walking on the moon".

Prof Mackay-Sim is one of the four finalists for the Queensland awards that will lead to a state representative at January's Australian of the Year Awards.

Also nominated is internationally renowned humanitarian Dr Nora Amath, occupational therapist Michael Lyddiard, who as a severely wounded veteran has helped rehabilitate other soldiers, and Aimee McVeigh, a human rights lawyer.

The finalists for Young Queenslander of the Year are Elijah Douglas, an indigenous teenage youth worker, Sharrel O'Brien, who provides free legal advice to domestic violence victims, 17-year-old inventor Taj Panbari and multilingual mathematician Ivan Zelich.

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