University of Melbourne Magazine

Alumni milestones

  • Terry Speed

    Professor Terry Speed (BSc(Hons) 1965, Trinity College), Bioinformatics Division Head at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, won the CSIRO Eureka Prize for Leadership in Science, in recognition of his guidance of the bioinformatics team at the Institute and his contributions to the wider field. Professor Speed is also a Professorial Fellow in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics. His team uses computational mathematics to help researchers analyse massive amounts of experimental data.


    milestones Andrew Scott

    Northern Lights: The Positive Policy Example of Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Norway is the fifth book by former SRC President Dr Andrew Scott (BA(Hons) 1990, Janet Clarke Hall). The book explores how the English-speaking world might learn from the achievements of the four main Nordic European nations, which successfully combine economic prosperity with social equality and environmental responsibility.


    Laureate Professor Sam Berkovic AC (BMedSc 1974, MB BS 1977, MD 1984) and Professor Ingrid Scheffer AO (PhD 1998) have been awarded the $300,000 2014 Prime Minister’s Prize for Science for their contribution to the study of epilepsy, its diagnosis, management and treatment. The two clinician-researchers, whose work was featured in the last issue of 3010, have led the way in finding a genetic basis for many forms of epilepsy.


    Ben Rimmer (DipML(Chin), BA(Hons) 1996, LLB(Hons) 1997) has been appointed Chief Executive of the City of Melbourne. Mr Rimmer was most recently Associate Secretary at the Australian Government Department of Human Services. He has also been a Deputy Secretary in the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet and a Deputy Secretary, Director and Assistant Director in the Victorian Department of Premier and Cabinet.


    milestones Andrew Melatos - Jenny Hayes - Melanie Plesch - Bronwyn Tarrant

    Dr Melanie Plesch (PhD 1998, GCertUniTeach 2010), left, and Bronwyn Tarrant (GCertUniTeach 2013) have been awarded National Citations for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning by the Office for Learning and Teaching, part of the Commonwealth government’s Australian Education Department which promotes learning and teaching in higher education.


    Four alumnae were honoured in the 2014 Financial Review and Westpac 100 Women of Influence Awards. They were Amanda McKenzie (BA 2004), CEO of the Climate Council of Australia; Shelley Penn (BArch(Hons) 1988), Principal at Shelley Penn Architect; Dr Bronwyn King (MB BS 1999), Radiation Oncologist at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and Epworth HealthCare; and Dr Jackie Fairley (BSc 1982, BVSc(Hons) 1987, MBA 1992), CEO at Starpharma Holdings.


    Julia Marchingo (BBiomedSc, BSc(Hons) 2010) and Dr Chun Yew Fong (BMedSc 2003, MB BS 2005) have been recognised for their originality, innovation and contribution to cancer research. Ms Marchingo, a PhD student at the University and the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, and Dr Fong, a PhD student at the University and Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, were awarded the 2014 Picchi Awards for Excellence in Cancer Research. The awards aim to recognise, develop and support the top PhD students in the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre partnership.


    milestones Alan Wu

    Alan Wu (BA, LLB 2010, Ormond College) was Australia’s only community-sector participant at the World Economic Forum’s 2015 Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland. Mr Wu is the youngest member of the Board of Oxfam Australia, and has previously served as Chair of Australia’s national youth council, as Special Envoy for Young People to the UN Environment Programme, and on the National Commission for UNESCO. He is currently establishing the Canberra Hub of the World Economic Forum Global Shapers Community for young people.


    Max Lay hi res

    Dr Maxwell Lay AM (BE(CivEng) 1958, MEngSc 1960) has been presented with Engineers Australia’s most prestigious award, the Peter Nicol Russell Memorial Medal Career Achievement Award in Engineering. Dr Lay is recognised worldwide as an expert in structural engineering, road and transport engineering, the history of engineering, and information technology. Two other engineering alumni were also honoured by Engineers Australia, being named 2014 Honorary Fellows of the organisation. Electrical engineer Andrew Yuncken (BE(ElecEng) 1968, Trinity College) has nearly 45 years’ professional experience in manufacturing and consulting, while civil engineer Peter Godfrey (BE(CivEng) 1978, International House, Whitley College) was an instrumental member of the Safer Construction Taskforce that produced the Guide to Best Practice for Safer Construction in Australia.


    milestones Let Down Your Hair_Final

    Let Down Your Hair, a coming-of-age novel that explores stereotypes, subcultures and contemporary women’s issues, is the debut novel by Melbourne-based cultural diversity consultant Dr Fiona Price (PhD 2001, International House). It is a dark modern retelling of the Rapunzel fairytale with two towers: the ivory tower ruled by a Professor of Women’s Studies and the penthouse apartment ruled by a rich man’s trophy girlfriend.


    milestones Michael Green

    Professor Michael Green (MB BS 1972) has been awarded the Alan Coates Award for Excellence in Clinical Trials Research by the Australian and New Zealand Breast Cancer Trials Group. Professor Green is the Director of Cancer Services at Western Health and a consultant medical oncologist with the Department of Haematology and Medical Oncology at the Royal Melbourne Hospital. He has been involved in several clinical research trials that aim to introduce new treatments for breast cancer patients.


    Will to Win: The West at Play, the latest book by political scientist Don Miller (BA(Hons) 1961, MA 1967), is a critique of professional sport today. Mr Miller spent more than 30 years on the academic staff of the University before founding the Melbourne Centre for Ideas in 2006.


    Michelle Di Fabio (BCom, BIS 2006, GradCert Org. Leadership 2013, GradDip Org. Leadership 2014) of Hostplus Superannuation won the Rising Star of the Year Award at the Money Management and Super Review’s second annual Women in Financial Services Awards (Australia). T
    he award recognises female leaders early in their career who have demonstrated personal achievement and a meaningful contribution to the financial services industry.


    milestones Kathryn Fitzsimmons

    Geologist Dr Kathryn Fitzsimmons (DipML(Ger) 2001, BSc(Hons) 2002) has been awarded the Albert Maucher Prize by the German Research Foundation. The national prize is awarded every three years to a high-achieving early-career researcher in earth sciences. Dr Fitzsimmons was recognised for her research into environmental change and the interactions between humans and their environment in the deep past. The first non-German to be awarded the prize, she has been working at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany since 2010.


    Two alumni were the 2014 recipients of Woodward Medals, awarded by the University to recognise staff for research considered to have made the most significant contribution in their field during the previous three years. Professor Sundhya Pahuja (LLB(Hons), BA 1994), of Melbourne Law School, received the 2014 Woodward Medal in Humanities and Social Sciences for her book, Decolonising International Law: Development, Economic Growth and the Politics of Universality. Professor Ashley Bush (MB BS 1982, GDipPsychMed 1988, PhD 1993), of the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, received the 2014 Woodward Medal in Science and Technology for his research into the causes of and treatments for neurodegeneration, in particular his work defining the role of tau proteins in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.


    The Hon Geoffrey Nettle QC (LLB(Hons) 1975, Trinity College) has been appointed to the High Court. Justice Nettle began his professional career as a solicitor at Mallesons Stephen Jacques in 1977, becoming a partner of that firm in 1981. He was called to the bar in 1982 in Melbourne, appointed to the Supreme Court of Victoria in 2002 and promoted to the Court of Appeal in 2004.


    Research by Professor Lyal Harris (BSc(Hons) 1976, International House) was selected by Canadian magazine Quebec Science as one of the top 10 discoveries of 2014. Professor Harris, of Canada’s Institut National de la Recherche Scientifique, and his colleague Jean Bedard analysed radar images of the planet Venus to prove their hypothesis that certain geological formations on Earth could not be explained by the conventional theory of plate tectonics. They showed that the formations could be the result of shifts in ancient blocks beneath the earth. The discovery has the potential to revolutionise mineral exploration.


    Professor Brendan Crabb (BSc(Hons) 1988, PhD 1992) and Professor John Funder (BA 1964, MB BS 1965, PhD 1970, MD 1971, DMedSc 2013, Newman College, International House) received Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) awards in the Australia Day Honours. Professor Crabb, the Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Macfarlane Burnet Institute for Medical Research and Public Health, was rewarded for his research into infectious diseases, particularly malaria, and their impact on population health in developing nations. Professor Funder’s award recognises his work in cardiovascular endocrinology and the development of academic health science centres, and for championing research into mental illness, obesity and Indigenous eye-health.


    milestones Robyn Warner (left)

    Professor Robyn Warner (MAgrSc 1987) has been awarded the American Meat Science Association’s 2014 International Lectureship Award for her contributions to improving international co-operation, knowledge and understanding in meat science. She is the first woman to win the award, which was established in 1992 to honour an individual for internationally recognised contributions to the field of meat science and technology.


    Internationally recognised particle physicist Professor Bruce McKellar AC (DSc 1976, Ormond College) has become the first Australian to be appointed President of the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics. Professor McKellar is famous for the He-McKellar-Wilkens phase, a seminal quantum physics theory.


    milestones Juliet Flesch use h&s square

    40 Years/40 Women by Dr Juliet Flesch (BA(Hons) 1964, PhD 2002) profiles notable women associated with the University, including staff, alumnae and philanthropists. The book was published by the University of Melbourne Library in commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the United Nations International Year of Women.


    Dr Rohan Wilson (MA(CrWrtg) 2011, PhD 2014) and Angus Cerini (BCA 2000) were among the winners of 2015 Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards. Mr Wilson won the fiction category for his novel To Name Those Lost, while Mr Cerini won the drama prize for Resplendence.


    Professor John Griffiths (DMus 2012) has become only the second Australian to be elected a Corresponding Member of the American Musicological Society (AMS). The honour recognises his work as a scholar of 16th-century Spanish music and as a performer on the vihuela, medieval and renaissance lutes. The AMS has elected only 70 Corresponding Members since 1937.


    Dental scientist and Laureate Professor Eric Reynolds AO has received the 2015 Leach Medal, presented annually in honour of the eminent biochemist Professor Syd Leach (1920–2005) in recognition of scientific excellence. Professor Reynolds (BSc(Hons) 1972, PhD 1978) is CEO of the Oral Health CRC at the University.


    Alumna Jill Sanguinetti (BA 1968, University College) reflects on her days at boarding school in her book School Days of a Methodist Lady: A Journey Through Girlhood. Ms Sanguinetti became a boarder at Methodist Ladies’ College in Melbourne in 1958.


    Helen Herrman

    Professor Helen Herrman, Director of Research at Orygen Youth Health Research Centre and Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Melbourne, has become the first Australian to be elected President of the World Psychiatric Association. Professor Herrman (MD 1982) will take up the role in 2017.

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