International Women's Day

Forging positive change for women

International Women’s Day is a global day to celebrate women’s achievements and to raise awareness about women’s equality, the importance of accelerating gender parity and forging positive change for women in all aspects of their lives.

On Monday 8 March, join with us as we share women’s stories of motherhood and career and celebrate the amazing achievements of our women in science and their contributions to global medical research in cancer, infectious diseases, chronic disorders and mental health.

QIMR Berghofer 2021 IWD Forum

Motherhood and Career: Mission Possible

Can women today really ‘have it all’? Is there a ‘right time’ to have children or to put your career first?

These are some of the questions our panel of amazing women and mothers explore in our International Women’s Day Forum topic: ‘Motherhood and Career: Mission Possible’.

Our Forum Panel

Professor Fabienne Mackay, Director & CEO, QIMR Berghofer

Professor Mackay is the eighth and first female Director and CEO in the Institute’s 75-year history. She is a world-leading scientist and renowned immunologist. Her research has focused on B cell-activating factor and its role in autoimmune conditions, including lupus.

Professor Ranjeny Thomas, The University of Queensland Diamantina Institute

Professor Thomas is renowned for her research into autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and Type 1 diabetes. She has also contributed major insights into autoimmune diabetes, leading to the development of disease biomarkers and innovative immunotherapies.

Professor Georgia Chenevix-Trench, Senior Scientist, Coordinator of the Genetics & Computational Biology Department, Head of Cancer Genetics, QIMR Berghofer

Cancer geneticist Professor Chenevix-Trench completed her PhD at the Medical College of Virginia (USA) in 1985 and came to QIMR Berghofer for a post-doc the following year. She established her own lab in 1992 when she received an NHMRC R. Douglas Wright award and has been continually funded by the NHMRC Fellowship scheme.

Professor Rachel Neale, Group Leader, Cancer Aetiology and Prevention, Deputy Coordinator, Population Health Department, QIMR Berghofer

Professor Neale completed a Bachelor of Veterinary Science  and spent a short time in clinical practice before deciding to pursue medical research. Rachel is currently head of the Cancer Aetiology and Prevention Research Group at QIMR Berghofer and is the Principal Investigator on Australia’s largest clinical trial, examining the health effects of vitamin D supplements. 


Associate Professor Vanessa Beesley, Senior Research Officer, Population Health, QIMR Berghofer

Associate Professor Beesley is a behavioural scientist and who holds a Bachelor of Public Health, a First Class Honours Degree in Epidemiology and a PhD in Psycho-Oncology. She has dedicated over a decade to working in the specialised field of ‘patient-reported outcomes’ in cancer research. 

Ms Julia Little, Marketing Manager, QIMR Berghofer

Julia Little is a marketing professional with nearly 15 years experience managing the advertising and marketing campaign needs of commercial clients in Australia and the US. Julia joined QIMR Berghofer in 2017 with the goal of being able translate her commercial experience to a not-for-profit environment and work on meaningful campaigns to drive public awareness and financial support of the Institute’s scientists and their research.