Professor Suzanne Cory AC

Citation for the Award of the Doctor of Laws (Honoris Causa)

When Suzanne Cory graduated from the Science Faculty at the University of Melbourne molecular biology was in its infancy. In her enthusiasm for this new science she pursued a PhD in Cambridge at the Medical Research Council’s famed Laboratory of Molecular Biology. Immersed in a culture of discovery, her pioneering PhD studies determined the sequence of a transfer RNA, utilising new technology developed by Fred Sanger, one of the three Nobel Laureates in the institute.

After three years’ post-doctoral work at the University of Geneva, Suzanne Cory returned to Australia with her husband, Jerry Adams, to the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research where they helped to introduce gene-cloning technology to Australia. Since then, her long association with the Institute, including thirteen years as Director, and with the University of Melbourne, has been instrumental in building the international reputation of both institutions and the strength of the Parkville biomedical research network.

Suzanne Cory has made major contributions to advancing the science of immunology, cancer and genetics, in a lifelong dynamic research partnership with Adams. Her work is published widely and cited frequently. The positions held by the many PhD candidates and Post-Doctoral Fellows she has supervised demonstrate her intergenerational influence in developing scientific leaders for the future.

The list of accolades and awards Suzanne Cory has received in recognition of her contributions to science is long and distinguished. She was elected a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science in 1986 and since has been elected to numerous sister organisations across the globe. Recognition in Australia for her work has included the Burnet Medal, the Eureka Prize for Leadership in Science, and the Australia Prize. International awards include the Royal Medal of the Royal Society, an honorary doctorate from Oxford University (UK), the Chevalier of the Legion of Honor (France), Rockefeller University’s Pearl Meister Greengard Prize (USA), and the L’Oreal –UNESCO Award for Women in Science. She was the first elected female President of the Australian Academy of Science.

The high regard of her colleagues is demonstrated through Suzanne Cory’s contributions to a long list of respected journals, both as a reviewer and as a member of editorial boards. Similarly, the list of hospitals, institutes, foundations, granting bodies and governments that seek her advice as a grant reviewer or committee member demonstrate the value placed on her advice by policy makers and colleagues alike. She is highly sought after as a presenter by universities, scientific societies, professional institutions, and at scientific conferences, and as a public spokesperson for science by the media. Her Boyer Lectures, presented in 2014, constructed a dynamic, ardent and compelling case for the critical role science plays in the service of humanity.

For fifty years, Suzanne Cory has worked at the leading edge of scientific discovery – as a scientist, as a leader and mentor, as an advisor and as an advocate. Her eminent contributions to the international scientific academy, and to society more broadly, continue to advance the pursuit of scientific discovery and promote its importance for the future of humankind.