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QIMR Berghofer geneticist receives prestigious award

QIMR Berghofer scientist Associate Professor Sarah Medland has been awarded the highly prestigious Ruth Stephens Gani Medal by the Australian Academy of Science.

The award recognises excellence in research into human genetics and honours the contribution to human cytogenetics by the late Ruth Stephens Gani.

Associate Professor Medland is the head of Psychiatric Genetics at QIMR Berghofer. Her research, in the QIMR Berghofer Mental Health Program, is focused on identifying genetic variants that influence the brain’s structure and function, and identifying how these genetic variants influence mental health and psychiatric disorders.

Associate Professor Medland is a co-founder of the global ENIGMA (Enhancing Neuro Imaging Genetics through Meta-Analysis) project, which aims to map the genetic architecture of the brain. She is also a member of the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium, which is identifying risk factors and treatment targets for conditions like ADHD, depression and autism.

“I am tremendously honoured to receive this award. I would like to thank my colleagues, my collaborators and all of the members of the community who have taken part in our research,” Associate Professor Medland said.

“Without their participation we wouldn’t be able to find the genetic factors that drive these conditions.”

QIMR Berghofer’s Director and CEO, Professor Frank Gannon said the award was a recognition of Associate Professor Medland’s outstanding research in human genetics.

“Associate Professor Medland is recognised by scientists worldwide as a brilliant young researcher. She is a leader on major international projects and has previously been awarded the Theodore Reich Young Investigators Award by the International Society of Psychiatric Genetics, and a Queensland Young Tall Poppy Science Award,” he said.

“This award is further recognition that she is an excellent scientist whose research stands to benefit the community.”

The award will be formally presented at a ceremony in Canberra in May 2017.