Direct from Doug

Direct from Doug

Illuminate newsletter header, Autumn 22
March 2022

Professor Doug Hilton
WEHI director Professor Doug Hilton AO

Our Autumn issue is filled with stories of innovative partnerships and committed people pulling together to help some of the most complex health problems in the world.

I am well aware that in recent months many of us here in Australia have been challenged by increased rates of COVID-19 in our community. It has been a difficult summer – and not what many of us had hoped for – but I remain inspired by the pace of global scientific discovery that has helped combat this pandemic. While the virus has not been eliminated, Australians now have access to effective vaccines, antiviral therapies and home tests that are all helping to reduce the burden of disease.

Exciting new partnerships

Here at WEHI, our scientists are continuing their contributions to the global research effort and progressing their work to tackle many other significant diseases in our community. In this edition of Illuminate you can read about a new partnership between WEHI, CSL and the University of Melbourne, which is creating an incubator to grow earlystage Australian biotech companies.

Quality research would not be possible without passionate advocacy and support. I am honoured to be part of the ‘Brighter together’ section of this issue with Carrie Bickmore, reflecting on WEHI’s partnership with Carrie’s Beanies 4 Brain Cancer to establish The Brain Cancer Centre.

Sadly, over the summer, we farewelled WEHI’s long-term supporter Ms Elaine Duxbury. Elaine was a dedicated advocate for bowel cancer patients and a generous WEHI supporter who will be sorely missed. We send our condolences to her family and loved ones. Read more about Elaine in this issue of Illuminate.

I am thrilled to introduce WEHI’s new Chism Indigenous Honours Scholarship program. Thanks to generous support from WEHI alumni Dr Stan Chism and Ms Karen Chism, the new program represents an important part of our broader commitment to reconciliation and to providing opportunities for the next generation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and medical researchers.

I’d also like to acknowledge Professor Anne Voss and Associate Professor Tim Thomas for winning the prestigious Victoria Prize for Science and Innovation in Life Sciences. You can read about their pioneering research that has led to a new cancer treatment approach that doesn’t trigger the harmful side-effects caused by conventional cancer treatments.

Hoping to reconnect soon

I hope that in 2022 we will finally be able to safely welcome our community back to WEHI to meet our scientists and learn more about our research. Given the constraints last year, I was thrilled that more than 100,000 people have been able to virtually visit our ever-popular Art of Science exhibition. You can see one of the stunning prize-winning entries in this issue of Illuminate, or attend the online Art of Science exhibition.

Stay safe and take care.


Super Content: 
Researcher facing news media crews

Catch up on our latest research discoveries and announcements.

Animation still showing cells changing

Our biomedical animation team explains the discoveries made by scientists through 3D animation.

Two scientists chatting on a couch

Meet the superstars of science and the talented young sparks of the future.

Hear from the patients whose lives have been changed by new discoveries and find out how investing in WEHI’s brightest minds will help solve our most complex medical challenges.