FORMER Urangan High School student Karina Hamilton has once again forged ahead in the science world after taking out a prestigious government grant worth $75,000 to study if bee sap can heal wounds.
The 21-year-old won the grant from the National Health and Medical Research Council to undertake a three-year study.
Ms Hamilton will try to determine the anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties of propolis from native Australian stingless bees.
Bees collect sap from trees and buds before returning to the hive to mix it with pollen or wax to create propolis.
"So far, no one has looked at the propolis from the Australian native bee.
"So we are hoping to discover that it has similar healing abilities (to other bee propolis)," Ms Hamilton said.
During the study, propolis from hives in the field will be applied to human cells such as white blood cells.
Ms Hamilton is the first student at University of Sunshine Coast to receive the grant.
"It's quite prestigious."
"I've been really lucky to get the funding."
Ms Hamilton chose to study at USC to complete her Bachelor of Biomedical Science in two years instead of three.
She quickly followed it with a one-year Bachelor of Science (Honours).
Her first scientific paper, about the ingredients of fish oil supplements, was published in a national nutrition journal when she was 19.
Ms Hamilton said she will be at the university for another three years to complete the PhD study.
She eventually hopes to move in to post-doctoral work overseas after completing her PhD.
And her message to other Hervey Bay high school graduates?
"The sky's the limit," she said.