It was a glittering affair in Canberra this week as Prime Minister Anthony Albanese presented two of Peter Mac’s senior researchers with honours for their contributions to science and medicine.

Professors Sherene Loi and Mark Dawson attended the ceremony in the nation’s capital on Tuesday night to accept their prestigious Life Scientist of the Year awards.  

Professor Loi was recognised in 2021 for her ground-breaking work in breast cancer, translating scientific findings into innovative treatments that can improve the survival patients around the world, and Professor Dawson’s award for his pioneering research in the field of epigenetics and its impact on human health and disease was announced in 2020.

Announcement of the awards were made in 2020 and 2021 but the presentation was delayed due to COVID-19, culminating in a special event to honour three years of recipients this year. 

Professors Mark Dawson and  Peter Mac’s Professor Andrew Roberts were also officially elected as a fellows of the Australian Academy of Science – the top honour for Australian researchers. 

They attended Canberra’s Shine Dome for the ceremony to sign the Royal Charter on Tuesday attended by the nation’s scientific elite.

The Academy said Professor Dawson’s world leading research program “has provided several paradigm-shifting discoveries into epigenetic mechanisms of cancer stem cell maintenance, resistance to therapies and regulation of immune surveillance”. 

Professor Roberts was elected for leading the first-in-human trial of Venetoclax, before developing combination therapies and leading the first combination trials in leukaemia and lymphoma. 

Professor Dawson’s election was announced in 2021, the same year he was awarded the Academy’s prestigious Jacques Miller Medal, and Professor Roberts in 2020 – with the official signing delayed due to the pandemic. 

Read more about Professors Sherene LoiMark Dawson and Andrew Roberts.