Professor Vanessa Hayes received a Celebration of African Australians Inc Award at Parliament House on Saturday.
The awards recognised "exceptional achievements and remarkable contributions to Australia, Africa and the world through education, science, research, philanthropy, leadership and community engagement by African Australians."
Professor Hayes heads the Human Comparative Genomics Team at Sydney's Garvan Institute of Medical Research, while also holding a position as Professor of Genomic Medicine at the J. Craig Venter Institute in San Diego, California.
Born in Cape Town, South Africa, Hayes made Sydney and Australia home in 2003, becoming a citizen in 2006. She was recognized on Saturday for both her contributions to Africa and Australia.
Hayes made headline news in 2010 when she led the team that generated the first complete personalised human DNA sequences (human genomes) for Africa, namely South African and Nobel Peace Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu and !Gubi, a Kalahari Bushman from Namibia, and again in 2011 when she co-led a project to generate the complete genome and facial tumour genome of Australia's Tasmanian devil.
At Garvan, she will be using her understanding of the complexities of the Human Genome to drive research focused on identifying the inherited and acquired genetic events that cause prostate cancer.
Generating not only the first human genome for an Australian researcher, the information gained from the African project provided for the first time a true glimpse into the extent of human diversity within Africa. The African genomes (particularly that of Archbishop Tutu) are providing the framework for disease studies and drug development tailored for Africa.
After completing her PhD in the Netherlands in 1999, Hayes returned to South Africa to head a research team that focused on determining genetic susceptibility to HIV infection and disease progression. She became frus
|Contact: Alison Heather|
Garvan Institute of Medical Research