Being on the front lines, Professors Michael Toole and Deb Williamson have to navigate not only the changing situation and constant influx of information, but also the media. Michael was not prepared for the media storm – since April 2020, he has had 520 media engagements with news outlets around the world. Similarly, every study on COVID testing published by Deb’s team has been picked up by the media and she has sometimes felt ambushed.
The Society is delighted to congratulate Dr Christopher Draper-Joyce, the 2021 recipient of the Phillip Law Postdoctoral Award, and the first to be awarded in the new category of Biomedical and Health Sciences. Christopher’s postdoctoral work extends his analytical and molecular pharmacology skillset into the field of structural biology, shedding new light on the molecular mechanisms of drug-receptor action.
Generally, memory T cells were thought to constantly patrol the entire body, scouting for the return of the pathogen they are trained against. Then, ten years ago, some memory T cells were found to permanently reside in the site of infection where they are poised to mediate local immune responses should the pathogen come back. They are thus called “tissue-resident memory T (TRM) cells” and reside in common sites of infection.
On the 13th of December 2019, Her Excellency the Honourable Linda Dessau AC, Governor of Victoria, presented the Royal Society of Victoria’s Medal for Excellence in Scientific Research to Professors Anthony Burkitt and Jamie Rossjohn (en route to induct the new Victorian Premier and Cabinet!). Professor Burkitt leads a consortium of Australian universities and institutes to develop a bionic eye and technology, Bionic Vision Australia, and Professor Rossjohn is a leader in the field of immunology, in his quest to better understand how the immune system works and can be manipulated to address disease. The RSV Research Medal awarded to two leaders in their fields recognises both their research career achievements as well as their impact in the scientific community through mentorship and public engagement.
RSV President David Zerman emphasises the Medal is not just about discovery and innovation, but also about fostering and supporting a thriving research community and workforce to achieve collective impact. “Some of this is demonstrated through a scholar’s personal output of journal articles and the related citations, or through patents and commercialisation, but it is also the research ecosystem that a leader supports through mentorship, collaboration and public engagement. We look very favourably on research leaders who bring effective teams together, and who actively promote younger scientists in particular, either through direct supervision, co-authorship of major papers, or simply creating opportunities for meaningful, purposeful work in an intensely competitive job market.”