Women making a difference: Dr Sumaira Hasnain

Wednesday 07 March 2018

As a recipient of last year’s Mater Research Grant for Outstanding Women, Dr Sumaira Hasnain is passionate about the development of women in science.

“Although in many ways women are doing better than ever, there is a long way for women to go in research. Workplaces and the Research Councils need to take initiatives to improve gender equality not just at the early stages of a research career but also at the mid-stage, allowing more women to successfully reach leadership roles. This grant from Mater Research is one such initiative,” said Dr Hasnain.

“I am committed to improving my work environment and processes to encourage and retain more women in research.”

Dr Hasnain’s work seeks to understand the underlying cause behind many inflammatory and infectious diseases and how to treat them.

“My long-term vision is to manipulate different immune factors to develop new therapies that can target the real problem, rather than just alleviating the symptoms,” said Dr Hasnain.

“Since receiving the grant, we have made several discoveries. Including the identification of an innate factor released by our immune cells that can enhance virus infection. We are now working on targeting these factors in virus infections.

“The grant has allowed me to build my research group, perform key experiments, showed clear investment from Mater Research and helped me gain tier-1 fellowship from the National Health and Medical Research Council in 2018.”

Dr Hasnain said she finds her career in research and being a working mum very rewarding.

“If you are passionate about science and research and making an impact on healthcare, then don’t let anything deter you from following your passion.”

The Mater Research grants for Outstanding Women are proudly funded through Mater Foundation’s generous donors and supporters.