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National recognition for top scientist

Joining the ranks of Australias most esteemed scientists is Professor Patrick Tam from the Childrens Medical Research Institute, (CMRI) who has just been elected as a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science.

Peter Doherty, Ian Frazer and Fiona Stanley are also among only 400 Australians to have been honoured by election to the academy. Professor Tam is one of just 16 scientists elected this year.

Professor Tam and his team have recently completed a fate map of early embryo development. His 28-year exploration mapped the movement of cells and tissues in the developing mouse embryo between the 5th and 10th days after conception, the human equivalent of one week to one month after conception. This research revealed how cells are directed to form specific parts of the body.

A fate map reveals the precursors of different body parts and organs - where they are in the early embryo and how they mature and are assembled into the final body plan. Professor Tams fate map is expected to be used as a reference by scientists around the world investigating developmental problems such as neurological defects, and malformations of the head, face and eyes.

The Australian Academy of Science recognised Professor Tams research in Embryology by electing him as a fellow. He is a world leader in the understanding of early mammalian embryonic development, said Richard Bray, the Academys spokesman. And his research has put Australia on the global map of mammalian developmental biology.

It is indeed a great honour that my contribution to the worlds knowledge in Embryology is recognised by peers both within and outside my field, says Professor Tam. I would like to stress that the achievement is not mine alone. I am eternally grateful to present and past members of my team for their dedication and effort, and to the CMRI for the support of my research.

CMRI Director Professor Roger Reddel said that Professor Patrick Tam is an exceptionally generous colleague who gives his time and expertise to help other scientists here, and in many top research centres throughout the world. The CMRI is tremendously proud of Patrick and his research team, and all they have achieved.

Professor Tam also leads research projects on the gene mutations causing Rett syndrome, cleft lip and palate, eye development, cataracts and glaucoma.

Professor Tams election to the Fellowship of the Australian Academy of Science is especially timely. This year, CMRI celebrates its 50th anniversary and reflects on the achievements of its world-class researchers.


Contact: Ruth Hardman
Research Australia

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