Finding cures for children's genetic diseases


Historic visit by Governor-General

The Governor-General, Her Excellency Ms Quentin Bryce AC CVO, visited Children’s Medical Research Institute (CMRI) on 2 February—the first visit by a governor-general in the institute’s fifty-year history.

Professor Reddel, Lorimer Dods Professor and Director of CMRI, and Head of CMRI’s Cancer Research Unit, stated, “The CMRI President, Professor Frank Martin and I were delighted to welcome Her Excellency to the institute, introduce the staff to her, and accompany her on a tour of the research laboratories.

“We also shared with Her Excellency our plans for the major redevelopment of our facilities, which will accommodate the future needs of our scientists and ensure our continuing place as a world-leading research institution.”

CMRI’s Deputy Director, Professor Patrick Tam, who was recently elected to the Royal Society of London for his achievements in the field of developmental biology, said “CMRI is dedicated to improving the current situation where one in twenty Australian children is born with a birth defect or genetic disease. It was an honour to present our research to the Governor-General and also describe the institute’s work towards treatments for diseases such as cancer, epilepsy, and a range of genetic disorders, including congenital eye disorders, which can have a devastating impact on children and their families.”

Last October, the Governor-General held a reception to honour CMRI’s volunteers and supporters at Admiralty House. “Her Excellency recognises the important work of volunteers and their contributions to Australian society. CMRI has been generously supported by the community, through volunteering and donations, and it is their generosity that has enabled us to make major advances over the years,” said Professor Reddel. “Her Excellency expressed keen interest in children’s issues and in medical research to improve the lives of those dealing with disability or disease, so we welcomed this opportunity to show her the work that we do.”

Before leaving, the Governor-General made some very warm comments, “speaking as a grandmother”, about the importance of CMRI’s work, saying she found it “very inspiring”. Her Excellency also said, “I am moved by the history of how this institute was started, by a group of concerned citizens in the community. As Margaret Mead said, ‘never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.’”