Natasha Stott Despoja AM with Alastair Lucas AM. (Professor Suzanne Crowe AM not pictured)
Professor Crowe was recognised for her service to medical research in HIV/AIDS medicine and infectious diseases as an academic, clinician and researcher, and to professional associations.
Mr Lucas, who is also Vice Chairman and Managing Director of Goldman Sachs Australia, was recognised for philanthropy and service to the medical research community, as well as his contribution to the finance and banking sector, and wildlife conservation.
Former Democrats Leader and Burnet Board member since 2008, Ms Stott Despoja, was recognised for her service to the Australian Parliament, education and as a role model for women.
Burnet Director and CEO, Professor Brendan Crabb offered the warmest congratulations to each of the recipients on behalf of the staff and supporters of Burnet.
“It is fitting that each was recognised for their extraordinary contribution to the broader community through their selfless service to the Burnet and other organisations, as well as being recognised for their excellence in their own disciplines,” Professor Crabb said.
Professor Crowe, who has been a Principal NHMRC Research Fellow since 2002, has been at the forefront of HIV research in her role as Head, Pathogenesis and Clinical Research at Burnet since 1989.
A consultant physician in infectious diseases and general medicine at The Alfred since 1994, Professor Crowe has authored 106 published papers and 58 book chapters in the field.
“I’m so lucky to have been around from the beginning of a disease and to see how it’s evolved and how things have changed over the past 30 years. I don’t really think awards need to be given for people who are just doing their job but it really is an honour, “ she said.
“There is still a lot of work to be done in HIV and we can’t become complacent. I think Australia has fantastic expertise in this area and can share it with the rest of the world to continue making headway in the fight against HIV.
“I really love my job it’s immensely exciting and rewarding so to be recognised for an award of this nature is amazing.”
A member of the Burnet Institute Board since 1998, Mr Lucas has been instrumental in helping oversee the growth and development of the Institute into a leading medical research Institute in Australia and the region with a focus on infectious disease of global significance.
“I’m delighted to receive this recognition, but Burnet really is a team effort. We have an outstanding group of scientists and public health professionals at Burnet and I never cease to be amazed at their dedication and enthusiasm for what they do,” Mr Lucas said.
Professor Brendan Crabb said Alastair’s contribution to the Institute had been enormous and that he very much valued his support.
“Alastair has given so much of his time, energy and expertise to this organisation, the only reward being the knowledge that the health of poor and vulnerable communities elsewhere benefits greatly from this involvement,” he said.
Aside from his support of the Burnet Institute, Mr Lucas is also Chairman of Cell Care Australia, a cord blood bank, a member of the Dean’s Advisory Board for the Monash University Faculty of Medicine, a director of Fauna & Flora International Australia and a member of the Federal Government’s Takeovers Panel.
In speaking to the Adelaide Advertiser, Ms Stott Despoja she said she was “a little overwhelmed” by the award, but accepted it as recognition of her vocal advocacy.
“My work with the Burnet Institute also combines my passion for science with an interest in human rights and foreign aid,“ she said.
Professor Crabb said he was delighted to hear of Ms Stott Despoja’s award.
“Natasha has played a significant role as a non-executive Director of the Burnet Institute making a huge contribution, especially in our work with poor and vulnerable communities especially those that affect women and children,” he said.
She began her political career as a student activist at the University of Adelaide and became the youngest woman to enter Federal politics when at the age of 26 she was elected as Senator for South Australia with the Australian Democrats.
Ms Stott Despoja retired from the Senate in 2008 after a 13 year career in the political arena having held party positions of deputy leader (1997) and then leader (2001) of the Australian Democrats.
She is also director of national depression initiative beyondblue, a member of the Advertising Standards Board and an Honorary Research Fellow of the University of Adelaide.
Congratulations to all three recipients – it is worthy recognition of the outstanding roles they play in furthering the work and mission of the Burnet Institute.