The Lorenzo and Pamela Galli Medical Research Trust Annual Colloquium, May 2023

Transforming how we support science

Professor David Amor, the Lorenzo and Pamela Galli Chair in Developmental Medicine at the Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH) and the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI), welcomed guests to the fourth annual Lorenzo and Pamela Galli Medical Research Trust Colloquium on Wednesday, 17 May.

Professor David Amor at the podium on stage welcoming guests to the colloquium. Behind him is a light blue welcome slide on the projector screen, titled 'Galli Research Colloquium 2023

Professor David Amor welcoming guests to the Lorenzo and Pamela Galli Medical Research Trust Colloquium.

Professor Doug Hilton AO, who is retiring from his role as WEHI Director, was thanked and honoured for his leadership as the Lorenzo and Pamela Galli Chair in Medical Biology. Professor Hilton has steered the Discovery of New Treatments for Brain Development Disorders program under the Galli Medical Research Trust since its inception in 2017.

“What really excites me is that this program is transforming the way we’re thinking about supporting science across the country,” said Professor Hilton.

“The way this program has been set up by Mrs Galli and the University of Melbourne is really brave, and the cross collaboration between our organisations is transformative,” he said.

The Colloquium featured two fireside chats between the Lorenzo and Pamela Galli Medical Research Trust program Chairs and also between Galli Research Fellows from the program led by Professor Amor – Improving Outcomes and Quality of Life for Children with Neurodevelopmental Disabilities.

In the first fireside chat, the Galli Chairs, Professors Amor and Hilton and Professor Grant McArthur, the Lorenzo Galli Chair in Melanoma and Skin Cancers at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, spoke about the research progress across cancer and developmental medicine in the past year.

Professor David Amor, Professor Grant McArthur, and Professor Doug Hilton sitting in lounge chairs on a stage during the panel discussion, with audience members in the foreground. Behind them is a grey curtain.

(L-R) Professor David Amor, Professor Grant McArthur, and Professor Doug Hilton during the first fireside chat.

“The rise of computational biology, and the investment of technology in the program, has really changed the face of the discovery work we’re doing,” said Professor McArthur.

“To support a range of wonderfully talented people and knowing that through the support they will be able to do fantastic research for 10, 20, 30 and more years, is an incredible gift,” said Professor Hilton.

The second fireside chat, on the theme of Developmental Medicine, was led by Professor David Amor and included Professor Marnie Blewitt, WEHI, Associate Professor Adrienne Harvey, MCRI, and Dr Kylie Crompton, MCRI.

Associate Professor Adrienne Harvey, Professor Marnie Blewitt, and Dr Kylie Crompton seated on stage during the second fireside chat. In the foreground are blurred audience members. Behind them is a grey curtain.

(L-R) Associate Professor Adrienne Harvey, Murdoch Children's Research Institute, Professor Marnie Blewitt, WEHI, and Dr Kylie Crompton, Murdoch Children's Research Institute.

“We partner very closely with children and their families when developing programs of research, so that we are focussing on the important areas. Receiving this funding from the Lorenzo and Pamela Galli Medical Research Trust is so valuable as this kind of research is not easily funded by government sources,” said Associate Professor Adrienne Harvey from the MCRI.

“I love my job and I feel very privileged to do what I do, and the main thing that inspires me is the children and the families themselves. Incorporating them into the research process is so valuable and inspiring,” she said.

“By studying more disorders as a team, and that’s across all of our collaborating partners, we can see commonalities that we would never have seen if we were working in isolation, and then we can look at treatments,” said Professor Marnie Blewitt, WEHI.

“When you meet the children that you’re trying to work out a treatment for, it makes you want to work harder to find a solution,” she said.

“What a spectacular program this is. When you say you want people to collaborate to solve problems that people face - what does that mean? The amazing generosity of the Lorenzo and Pamela Galli Medical Research Trust has given us an example of what collaborative research can look like - from discovery to translation,” said Professor Jane Gunn, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences.

“The Lorenzo and Pamela Galli Medical Research Trust demonstrates the transformational power of philanthropy to bring solutions to big problems in science one step closer,” she said.