The outstanding achievements of Australian Nobel Laureate Professor Elizabeth Blackburn have been recognised through a new fellowship from the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) awarded to top female Research Fellows.
This important new NHMRC Fellowship was announced today by Minister for Health and Ageing Nicola Roxon and Minister for Mental Health and Ageing Mark Butler.
“The NHMRC Elizabeth Blackburn Fellowships will foster the career development of female scientists excelling in biomedical, clinical and public health research,” Ms Roxon said.
“Professor Blackburn’s stellar international career, which includes the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 2009, has inspired the NHMRC to recognise the next generation of Australian women in science.”
The inaugural Elizabeth Blackburn Fellowships were awarded to: Associate Professor Amanda Leach (Menzies School of Research), Associate Professor Christine Roberts (University of Sydney), and Professor Carola Vinuesa (John Curtin School of Medical Research).
“These exceptional women are contributing to Australia’s health and wellbeing through important research and I congratulate them on their awards.”
Minister Butler said the calibre of the Fellows’ work demonstrates the breadth of talent in our research community.
“Their important research includes working to improve the health of children in remote Indigenous communities, utilising population health data to improve health service delivery, policy and planning, and discovering novel pathways important for autoimmune diseases,” Mr Butler said.
“These Fellowships are an important part of the Gillard Government’s commitment to supporting women to achieve senior positions in our research workforce. This reflects Professor Blackburn’s own role as a mentor and advocate for women to become leaders in health and medical research.”
Professor Blackburn pioneered the study of telomeres, caps that protect chromosomes in cells, and is a discoverer of telomerase, an enzyme that does the protecting. Her work has opened a new field of science, raising the prospects of such medical breakthroughs as interfering with cancerous cells.