From the director

From the director

Illuminate newsletter index page, December 2019
December 2019

Professor Doug Hilton AO
Institute director Professor Doug Hilton AO.

As the year draws to a close, it has been a time to celebrate the many great people who make the Institute a wonderful place.

From our many scientists driving our research, to our supporters who make our research possible, and our professional services teams who ensure the smooth running of the Institute, we are all united under one goal – for Institute research to improve health.

In this edition of Illuminate you can read about many of our researchers’ amazing achievements, as well as the support that will ensure they can continue their life-changing work.

Celebrating discoverers

In November our scientists and supporters came together to celebrate the careers of seven Institute luminaries who are retiring from the Institute this year: Professor Suzanne Cory, Professor Jerry Adams, Professor Lynn Corcoran, Professor Andrew Lew, Professor Nicos Nicola, Dr Ian Street and Professor David Vaux.

We also celebrated the pioneering research of Professor Jacques Miller, winner of the 2019 Lasker Award – one of the highest awards internationally for medical research.

It was a wonderful night to focus on the seismic impact these scientists’ research discoveries have had in the fields of cell death, immunology, cell
signalling and drug discovery – and the many impacts they have had on improving health over their careers.

All seven have also been inspiring leaders and wonderful mentors to scores of researchers – including me! – and I give my heartfelt thanks to them for their commitment and dedication to science and the Institute; I look forward to staying in close contact with them.

Valete Margo Honeyman and John Schrader

Sadly our alumni community has recently lost two wonderful members: Professor John Schrader and Dr Margo Honeyman.

John was a student with Sir Gustav Nossal in the 1970s, and later returned to lead a research group at the Institute where he was a key contributor to the discovery and clinical development of colony stimulating factors (CSFs).

In 1986 he left us to become the founding director of the University of British Columbia’s Biomedical Research Centre, a position he held until 2012, subsequently continuing to lead a research group there. Over John’s career he made many pivotal contributions to understanding blood cell formation, inflammation and leukaemia, and will be remembered for his sharp intellect and strong collaborative spirit.

Margo joined the Institute in 1990, bringing a wealth of experience in immunology. She led a research group until 2009 focusing on human T cells and the immunological triggers for type 1 diabetes. Margo’s research revealed much about the earliest stages of type 1 diabetes, underpinning ongoing research at the Institute and influencing the clinical detection of type 1 diabetes in children.

Margo was a beloved friend to many at the Institute and in the wider scientific community, and was well known for her intelligence, humour, energy and enthusiasm.

We offer our deepest sympathies to Margo’s husband and collaborator, Institute diabetes researcher Professor Len Harrison. I wish everyone in our Institute community a happy and safe festive season, and look forward to keeping in contact in 2020.

Thank you again for your support of our scientists – it makes a real difference, and is truly appreciated!

Super Content: 
Two men holding award trophies

Professor Jacques Miller and Professor Max Cooper were join receipients of a 2019 Lasker Award - America's highest honour in medical research - for their discoveries in immunology

Photo of large group of alumni members

Keep in contact and share reminiscences with fellow alumni

Dr Samir Taoudi and Dr Alison Farley at the Institute

Institute researchers are investigating how platelets could play a critical role in preventing brain bleeds in babies, a risk factor for cerebral palsy.