Keeping our best young bioscience brains in Australia

Centenary, Media releases

Centenary Institute Lawrence Creative Prize to be announced, finalists from Melbourne and Sydney

The winner of the Centenary Institute Lawrence Creative Prize will be announced at 6.30 pm, Tuesday 12 November 2013, at a reception hosted by UBS in Sydney.

There are three finalists. On Tuesday we will find out who is the overall winner of the $25,000 prize. The two runners-up will each receive $5,000.

The three finalists (in alphabetical order) are:

Preventing strokes with lifestyle and drugs, not surgery

Anne_Abbott_PhotoDr Anne Abbott, from Monash University, is transforming the prevention of carotid artery stroke. She has shown that a healthy lifestyle and medication are now better than surgery or stenting for preventing stroke in patients with symptomless narrowing of the carotid artery. But that wasn’t enough. She’s has successfully campaigned to get the international medical establishment to update health policy, guidelines and practice.

Fighting cancer with statistics

Will Ritchie imageDr William (Will) Ritchie from the Centenary Institute has used statistics to unmask a molecular mechanism that cells use to regulate the levels of individual proteins. Future development of this work could lead to drug therapies for leukaemia, Alzheimer’s disease, cardiac disease and liver cancer. He is now modifying his statistical tool to allow medical laboratories to detect the new mechanism— intron retention—quickly and easily.

Using diet to cope with the aftermath of stroke

Connie Wong 1Dr Connie Wong from Monash University thinks we may be able to prevent early deaths following stroke with a fibre-based diet. She initially used innovative microscope techniques to determine how stroke weakens the immune system. Now she is studying how it also induces leakiness in the gut wall, leading to infection and an upsurge in deaths. And the solution may well lie in diet.

Read a short profile on each of the finalists.

The purpose of the Prize is to encourage Australia’s best young biomedical researchers to stay in Australia and build their careers here.

“The scientific judging panel has been astounded at the quality of the applications and we are looking forward to announcing the winner,” said Centenary Institute Executive Director, Professor Mathew Vadas.

Thirty-two applications were received from early-career scientists from universities and medical research institutes around Australia.

The Prize honours Neil Lawrence, the Inaugural Chairman of The Centenary Institute Foundation. Neil and his wife Caroline hold the Centenary Institute very near to their hearts, as they are both passionate about advancing medical research so that all Australians can live longer, healthier lives.

“Exceptional young scientists can be hard to keep in Australia and we hope this award will not only celebrate their achievements but also encourage a domestic culture of brilliance in this truly important field,” said Professor Vadas.

“We acknowledge the generosity of our sponsors and thank them for making this prize possible.”

Major sponsors: Val Morgan Cinema Network, Mindshare, STW Group
Supporting sponsor: Deloitte
Event sponsor: UBS

Professor Vadas is available to speak about the finalists Tuesday morning, and about the winner after 2 pm on Tuesday

To arrange an interview, contact Tamzin Byrne,, 03 9398 1416

Further information: