75th Anniversary Scientific Symposium

Event details

Date and time: 
Tuesday, 29 November 2011 - 9:00am to Thursday, 1 December 2011 - 5:00pm
National Gallery of Australia, Canberra

The brightest minds in international health and medical research will gather in Canberra from 29 November – 1 December 2011 to discuss the global health challenges facing this generation and the next.

Research for a Healthy Future forms part of the National Health and Medical Research Council‟s (NHMRC) 75th anniversary program.

The Symposium will be attended by approximately 200 outstanding early to mid-career researchers, nominated by their institutions as future research leaders. Speakers at the symposium are Australia’s leading researchers, including Nobel Laureates Professors Peter Doherty and Ian Frazer.

“The NHMRC has attracted researchers who are the policy leaders that set the funding agenda of the international health and medical research system (on behalf of governments all around the world) to attend its 75th anniversary symposium. These guests include members of the Global Alliance for Chronic Disease (GACD), Heads of International (Biomedical) Research Organisations (HIROs) and several high-profile international and Australian presenters.” — Professor Warwick Anderson, Chief Executive Officer of the NHMRC.

On the agenda for discussion will be the key challenges facing health and medical researchers across the globe including combating non-communicable disease, collaborating to ensure health policy and practice is evidence-based, and providing for the health needs of the present while planning for the future.

An impressive range of local and international leaders in their field will discuss mental health and dementia; patient care, policy and practice; and economic and industry benefits of health and medical research. They will also take a broad look at the future of health and medical research.

NHMRC is celebrating 75 years of enabling health and medical research in Australia. Over this time NHMRC has contributed to a dramatic improvement to the life expectancy of Australians and will continue to evolve, adapt and respond to the health issues that challenge us into the future.

NHMRC’s 75th Anniversary in 2011 will offer opportunities to highlight to the Australian public the outstanding achievements of our health and medical researchers since 1936, and to look to the future to take advantage of the exciting and rapid growth in knowledge that is set to improve the health and well-being of all Australians.

Symposium resources

Media releases and speeches

International Presenter highlights

Dr Francis Collins
Director, National Institutes of Health (NIH), USA
American physician-geneticist noted for his discoveries of disease genes and his leadership of the Human Genome Project (HGP) and described by the Endocrine Society as ‘one of the most accomplished scientists of our time’. Prior to being appointed Director of NIH he founded the BioLogos Foundation. Collins has written a book about his Christian faith and Pope Benedict XVI appointed Francis Collins to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.

Professor Sir John Savill
Chief Executive of the UK Medical Research Council
A clinician scientist from Edinburgh and chief executive and deputy chair of the Medical Research Council (MRC) since 2010. Between 2008 and 2010 John worked part-time as the chief scientist for the Scottish Government Health Directorates. He was knighted in the 2008 New Year’s Honours List for services to clinical science. John Savill's research interests revolve around the role of cell death and macrophages in resolution and repair of inflammation, especially inflammatory disorders of the kidney glomerulus (glomerulonephritis) and interstitium (tubulointerstitial nephritis).

Sir Mark Walport
Director of the Wellcome Trust, UK
Sir Mark was appointed Director of the Wellcome Trust in 2003. Formerly Professor of Medicine and Head of the Division of Medicine at Imperial College London, where he led a research group focusing on the immunology and genetics of rheumatic diseases. He received a knighthood in the 2009 New Year Honours List for services to medical research. The Wellcome Trust was established in 1936 as an independent charity funding research to improve human and animal health. With an endowment of around £13.9 billion, it is the United Kingdom's largest non-governmental source of funds for biomedical research.

Presenter highlights

Dr Michael Valenzuela
University of New South Wales
Topic: Dogs, Dermis and Dementia: Regeneration and Degeneration in Man’s Best Friend

Neuroscientist Dr Michael Valenzuela is a leading researcher specialising in dementia, cognitive ageing and brain behaviour. His research is leading the way to provide scientific breakthroughs for dementia treatment.

Dr Tania de Koning-Ward
Deakin University
Topic: Unravelling how malaria parasites make red blood cells their home

Dr Tania de Koning-Ward specialises in the study of malaria. In 2009, Dr de Koning-Ward’s team made a world first discovery of how malaria makes red blood cells ‘sticky’.

Professor Helena Teede
Jean Hailes for Women's Health
Topic: Improving Translation of Research into Policy and Practice - completing the circle

Professor Helena Teede is Director of Research at Jean Hailes and ensures research is translated correctly to a range of stakeholders to shape effective policy decisions.

Professor Philip Mitchell
University of New South Wales
Topic: Can we predict who will develop bipolar disorder?

Professor Philip Mitchell’s research and clinical interests are in bipolar and depression, with a particular focus on any predictions that can be made about who will develop bipolar disorder based on genetics.