Many UQ alumni, researchers, academics and community members have been recognised in the 2018 Queen’s Birthday Honours, and among them are a husband and wife research duo who have dedicated their lives to fighting formidable childhood diseases.
Professor Claire Wainwright, a Professor of Paediatrics at UQ’s Faculty of Medicine, and Professor Brandon Wainwright, Director of UQ’s Institute for Molecular Bioscience (IMB), were both appointed Members of the Order of Australia (AM) for their significant service to medicine.
Claire, who also works as a doctor with Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital, is one of the world’s leading paediatric researchers. She was recognised in the 2018 honours for her work as a respiratory clinician and her leadership into the study of cystic fibrosis.
She said it was a great privilege to receive the honour and that the pair’s shared work in treating and curing disease was also a constant source of reward.
“I was really surprised and excited to receive this award and it is even more special that my husband Brandon has also received one at the same time,” she said.
“I work with children and families who teach me so much and are always an inspiration.
“This award, I feel, is on behalf of them as well as my wonderful research and clinical teams and the many collaborators who have supported and advised me over the years.
“I do have a lot of people to thank but especially a very understanding and supportive family!”
Brandon was honoured for his impact on science and education both within Australia and globally. His pioneering work in molecular genetics contributed to the discovery of the genetic and cellular basis of diseases such as cystic fibrosis and basal cell carcinoma, the most common form of cancer.
Recently, Brandon has dedicated his time to unravelling the cause of paediatric brain cancer and has discovered a potential new treatment for a type of brain tumour known as medulloblastoma.
Brandon said the honour belonged not just to himself but also to all staff and students at IMB, who have contributed towards the institute being one of the top life sciences institute in the Asia-Pacific region.
"I'd like to especially acknowledge my own research group, who continue to advance treatments for brain cancer into the clinic," he said.
"It is a special pleasure to receive this award in company with my wife, Claire, who is an outstanding paediatric physician and researcher."
Brain tumours are a leading cause of cancer death in infants, children and adolescents and kill more young Australians than any other form of cancer. The potential treatment developed by Brandon and his team has shown promise in increasing the survival rates of the children affected and decreasing the need for harsh treatment options like chemotherapy.
In order to move forward with this potential treatment, the researchers are seeking support from generous donors. You can support their work by making a donation below.
Other UQ community recipients in the 2018 Queen’s Birthday Honours include*:
Professor Suzanne Chambers (Bachelor of Arts ’92)
Mr Terrence Effeney (Bachelor of Engineering ’82, Bachelor of Economics ’90)
Professor Halina Rubinsztein-Dunlop
Ms Natalie Jeremijenko
Associate Professor Katherine Mary Tucker (Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (Honours) ’80)
Dr Ortrun D Zuber-Skerritt (Doctor of Philosophy ’76)
Professor Anthony Brown
Adjunct Professor Anne Cross (Bachelor of Social Work ’76, Master Social Work ’90)
Professor Ram Dalal
The Hon Justice Martin Daubney SC (Bachelor of Laws ’86, Bachelor of Arts ’83)
Air Commodore Mark Gower OAM
Professor Lawrence Hirst (Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery ’69, Doctor of Medicine ’83, Doctor of Science (Medical Science) ’15)
Dr Marie Porter (Bachelor of Arts (First Class Honours) ’94, Doctor of Philosophy ’06)
Dr Robert Riddel (Doctor of Philosophy (Architecture) ’08)
Professor Bernard ‘Mark’ Smithers (Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery ’77)
Professor Brandon Wainwright
Professor Claire Wainwright
Professor David Walker
Agnes Whiten OAM (Bachelor of Arts ’78)
Mr Neville Barwick (Bachelor of Architecture (Honours) ’61)
Mr Constantine Castrisos
Dr James Cuskelly (Bachelor of Arts ’84, Grad Dip Education ’85, Master Music Studies ’97, Doctor of Philosophy ’07)
Adjunct Professor Iyla Davies (Master Laws ’91)
Adjunct Professor Victor Feros (Bachelor of Arts ’71, Master Urban Studies ’77)
Dr Deanne Gibbon CSC
Associate Professor Vivienne Tippett (Dip in Psychology ’83, Master Public Health ’93, Doctor of Philosophy ’10)
*This list is currently being updated as we continue to identify UQ community members who have received Queen’s Birthday Honours.