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QIMR Berghofer declared a Queensland Great

QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute has been named a Queensland Great at a ceremony in Brisbane last night.

The Queensland Greats Awards recognise extraordinary Queenslanders who have made a long-term contribution to, or whose achievements have significantly impacted on, the history and development of the state.

QIMR Berghofer, which will celebrate its 75th anniversary in 2022, is one of Australia’s largest and most successful medical research institutes. In 2020, the Institute was the highest ranked Australian institution included in the Nature index of the world’s top 100 not-for-profit science institutions.

The Director and CEO, Professor Fabienne Mackay, said she accepted the accolade on behalf of all staff and students.

“It is an honour that QIMR Berghofer has been named a Queensland Great,” Professor Mackay said.

“For nearly 75 years, the Institute has been studying illnesses affecting Queenslanders, starting with the tropical diseases that plagued our state in the 1940s, and more recently, researching COVID-19.

“This Queensland Greats Award is the culmination of decades of work by thousands of scientists, support staff and students.

“Never has medical research been more important than it is today, in the midst of a global pandemic.

“I am humbled to accept this award on behalf of everyone who has served this wonderful Queensland institution over the decades.”

QIMR Berghofer’s research focuses on cancer, infectious diseases, mental health and chronic disorders.

QIMR Berghofer has made many internationally significant discoveries. These include discovering Ross River virus, establishing that daily sunscreen use in adults may prevent melanoma, and developing an immunotherapy that has improved symptoms in patients with a progressive form of multiple sclerosis.

Since last year, the Institute has started a wide-ranging program of research into COVID-19, recently announcing the development of two new drugs to both prevent infection with SARS-CoV-2, and to stop the spread of the virus in already-infected cells.

The Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk presented the Queensland Greats awards at a ceremony in Brisbane last night.

“I’m proud to highlight the inspiring stories of the selfless and pioneering Queenslanders honoured at this year’s Queensland Greats Awards,” the Premier said.

“They have cared for children in the Torres Strait, found emergency housing for the homeless, discovered new treatments for infectious diseases, helped to advance medical science, and championed women’s financial opportunities and reproductive health.

“Through their contributions to education, the arts, social work, housing, health and research, our Queensland Greats have helped us live healthier, happier, more informed and more fulfilled lives. 

“I thank all of our 2021 Queensland Greats for their advocacy and life-long commitment to advancing Queensland.”

Queensland’s Health Minister Yvette D’Ath has congratulated the Institute on the award.

“QIMR Berghofer is Queensland’s statutory medical research institute. For decades it has been serving our state by improving the understanding and treatment of a range of diseases, from asthma to brain cancer,” Ms D’Ath said.

“Receiving a Queensland Greats award is a fitting recognition for QIMR Berghofer, and a reminder to Queenslanders that we have world-class medical researchers right here in our state.”