Citation for the Award of Doctor of Medical Science (Honoris Causa)
As a young graduate of the Melbourne Medical School (MBBS 1978) Christina Mitchell undertook consultant training in haematology, took out a PhD at Monash University and gained fellowships of both the Royal Australasian College of Physicians and the Royal College of Pathology, Australasia. Her potential as a physician scientist was recognised by the award of a number of scholarships including a National Heart Foundation post-doctoral fellowship, which took her to Washington University Medical School in St Louis, USA. She returned to Melbourne where the promise of her research and clinical talents was recognised by Monash University with an appointment as Senior Lecturer in that university’s Department of Medicine at Box Hill Hospital.
This appointment signalled the start of Christina Mitchell’s long association with Monash University which recently saw her appointed Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences – an acknowledgement of her prominence as a leader in research and research-training – securing her executive proficiency and scientific guidance for the future development of the university.
Christina Mitchell’s research has focused on characterising the function of unknown genes that regulate cell proliferation and growth and which, when deleted or mutated, lead to human disease. Her work has long been the subject of wide recognition and praise, winning her an extensive list of research-specific prizes and awards. As leader of the Monash Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and then the School of Biomedical Sciences she drove a transformative expansion in Australian biomedical research underpinned by the development of a Biomedical Sciences Precinct at the university. She is one of only six professors at Monash University to be appointed a Sir John Monash Distinguished Professor since 1995.
Her prominence in the research arena is evidenced by frequent invitations extended to her as speaker or sessional chair at key international meetings, to write reviews on her field in high profile publications, and her work on the editorial boards of major biochemistry journals. A long track record of committee and board membership in the areas of research grants, fellowships, appointments and promotions and broad scientific advice testifies to the respect of her peers.
The author of over 100 publications, Christina Mitchell has secured over $12.5 million in research funding and supervised a large number of PhD students, many of whom have won prizes and fellowships and are now developing international careers. In addition to Professor Mitchell’s major administrative load, she has continued her research and her group is performing at the highest international level in the field.
Former Vice-Chancellor of Monash University, Professor Richard Larkins, has remarked: ‘Christina Mitchell is greatly admired for her clinical and research expertise, her inspirational teaching and her administrative skills. As a clinician scientist, and in her many other diverse activities, her reputation is of striving for excellence and remarkable success in achieving it.
Christina Mitchell is a distinguished graduate of the Melbourne Medical School who continues to contribute to the standing of the University of Melbourne as an alumna through her singular contributions to biomedical research and her collegiate leadership of medical education at the high performing and increasingly highly ranked Monash University.