The award recognises Professor Hilton’s service to medical research, in particular his advocacy for gender equity in science and his commitment to supporting young researchers.
Professor Hilton is a cancer researcher who was appointed as the sixth director of the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute in 2009. He is also the head of the Department of Medical Biology and an honorary principal fellow in the School of Biosciences at The University of Melbourne, and the current president of the Association of Australian Medical Research Institutes.
As director of the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, Professor Hilton has championed initiatives to redress gender imbalance at senior levels of medical research, including:
Professor Hilton’s work has spanned from basic research to innovative development. His research achievements include discovering hormones and pathways used by cells to communicate with each other. He was also the director of the Cooperative Research Centre for Cellular Growth Factors for five years, was co-founder of a biotechnology company and has spearheaded collaborations with international and Australian biopharmaceutical companies.
Professor Hilton said he felt humbled by his award. “For almost of all of the past 30 years, since I was 21, I have been a cancer researcher at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute,” he said. “As a high school or university student, I could not have imagined that research would be such a wonderful journey. It has been amazing to work with so many brilliant and passionate people – my mentors, my peers and many younger scientists. The ability to follow your curiosity but also work to improve the health, economy and innovative spirit of the country is a great privilege.
Professor Hilton’s scientific achievements and contributions to gender equity have been recognised by many awards including:
In the Australian honours system, awards in the Order of Australia are the pre-eminent means of recognising outstanding achievement and contribution by Australian citizens. Professor Hilton is one of 125 Officers of the Order of Australia (AO) announced in 2016.
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