Burnet's leaders in virology

Angus Morgan

11 December, 2017

Image: Burnet Head of Life Sciences, Professor Gilda Tachedjian

Burnet Institute Head of Life Sciences, Professor Gilda Tachedjian has been appointed President of the Australasian Virology Society (AVS), the national body for the promotion and support of research into human, animal, plant and prokaryotic virology.

Professor Tachedjian is the first woman appointed to the role and will be succeeded as AVS Vice President by Associate Professor Heidi Drummer, Burnet’s Program Director, Disease Elimination.

The appointments were ratified at the Society’s ninth biennial Scientific Meeting (AVS9) in Adelaide.

“I’m really thrilled and honoured to be leading a society that’s so vibrant,” Professor Tachedjian said.

“And I’m especially proud to be supporting the virology discipline, because this is a discipline that intersects with so many others, such as cell biology, biochemistry, immunology, structural biology and bioinformatics as well.”

Professor Tachedjian’s wish list for the AVS includes a greater focus on engagement with members, and improved advocacy and education, all through the lens of gender diversity.

While membership is evenly divided by gender, women comprised 65 percent of the lead speakers at AVS9, far surpassing the society’s gender diversity targets.

“It’s really a fantastic meeting, it beings together virologists of all persuasions and one of the roles is to build and nurture and encourage the virology discipline,” Professor Tachedjian said.

“It’s about building a sense of community and promoting scientific exchange and collaboration, and the quality of the presentations from the students and early-career researchers shows that the virology field is looking bright with all that talent.”

Professor Tachedjian paid tribute to the outstanding work of her predecessors as President, Professors Paul Young, Damien Purcell and Nigel McMillan.

The AVS was incorporated in 2011 after operating as the Australian Virology Group, which was founded in 2001.

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Angus Morgan

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