Showcasing our year of achievements and looking to the future

Thursday 11 November 2021

Looking to the future, learning about the pioneering Sisters of Mercy who were the first ‘Mater Researchers’ in Queensland and hearing from today’s research leaders provided an inspirational background to the 2021 Mater Research Showcase.

The annual event, held at TRI in Brisbane, was a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the outstanding, world-class research contributions and achievements of our emerging and established biomedical and clinical researchers.

More than 120 people attended the Showcase in person, including the State Assistant Minister for Health and Regional Health Infrastructure, Julieanne Gilbert MP, Mater Group, Foundation, Education, Health, and Research Executives, Mater Board and Mater Research Advisory Board members, TRI and UQ Executives, Mater Research Program and Group Leaders, and researchers and staff. Numerous people also attended online.

Mater Research Executive Director, Professor Maher Gandhi said the Showcase was an important event on the Mater Research calendar.

“It provides a forum to learn about research outcomes that are having an impact at Mater and within the community at large and to discover how our future and current leaders are addressing national and international health challenges and unmet needs,” Professor Gandhi said.

“It was also wonderful to welcome Ms Gilbert, and many of our Mater Foundation and other supporters who make our work possible.”

Ms Gilbert told the audience the Showcase demonstrated the breath of skills and experience at Mater Research and the talent driving important outcomes in research.

“The evidence your work as researchers generates is the foundation for better and more effective treatment for individuals. It also improves the efficiency of healthcare delivery so that we can continue to offer world class healthcare now and into the future.”

Ms Gilbert also played an important role in recognising two award winners, presenting the Early Career Seeding Grants 2021 to Dr Kavita Bisht (Biomedical) and Dr Katie Brooker (Clinical and Health Research Services).

Brisbane Sister of Mercy and member of the Mater Misericordiae Limited Board, Sr Sandra Lupi RSM, delivered a special reminder of the First Nations people who were the first scientists in Australia, and then spoke about the Sisters of Mercy who pioneered research at Mater from the early 1900’s onwards.

Sr Sandra also presented one of the highlights of the Showcase - the Mater Sisters of Mercy Medals.

The 2021 Sister Madonna Josey Medal, which celebrates an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to Mater Research operations including research support services, clinical services, and everyday operations, was awarded to Ms Amanda Sands.

Dr Sandy Richardson was awarded the Sister Michaeleen Ahern medal for her track record of high-quality performance relative to opportunity and for making an outstanding contribution to student supervision.

The Sister Regis Mary Dunne medal was awarded to Dr Adam Ewing for making an outstanding research contribution throughout the year, and the Sister Eileen Pollard medal was awarded to Dr Lucy Burr for her outstanding translation of research into the provision of clinical care.

The Showcase also provided an opportunity to recognise former Mater Research Director of Operations, Dr Maree Knight – who was presented with a special award. Maree was Director of Operations for six years, from 2015 through to early 2021 and before that held a range of leadership roles within Mater, working in operations, through to philanthropy and external partnerships. In the latter role Maree guided Mater Research into becoming a partner in the Translational Research Institute.