Husband and wife researchers receive AMs for significant service to medicine

11 June 2018

Husband and wife researchers at The University of Queensland were appointed Members of the Order of Australia (AM) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for their significant service to medicine.

Professor Brandon Wainwright, Director of UQ’s Institute for Molecular Bioscience (IMB), received his AM for significant service to medicine in the field of molecular bioscience, to cell biology and genome research, and to education, while Professor Claire Wainwright from the UQ School of Medicine and Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital was recognised for significant service to medicine as a respiratory clinician, and for leadership into the study of cystic fibrosis.

Brandon’s pioneering work in molecular genetics has contributed to the discovery of the genetic and cellular basis of diseases such as cystic fibrosis and basal cell carcinoma, the most common form of cancer. 

His current interest is in unravelling the cause of paediatric brain cancer, culminating recently in the discovery of a potential new treatment for medulloblastoma, the most common childhood brain tumour.

Donate to Professor Brandon Wainwright's brain cancer research.

Above: Childhood brain cancer research at IMB

Professor Brandon Wainwright said the honour belonged not just to himself but also to all staff and students at IMB, who have contributed towards the institute being one of the top life sciences institute in the Asia-Pacific region.

"I'd like to especially acknowledge my own research group, who continue to advance treatments for brain cancer into the clinic," he said.

"It is a special pleasure to receive this award in company with my wife, Claire, who is an outstanding paediatric physician and researcher."

Brandon is originally from Adelaide, and moved to London to work as a researcher, where he met Claire, who is half-Welsh and half-French and grew up in the Middle East. 

Read more: New funding to accelerate progress in brain cancer research

She moved to London to study medicine, and after marrying Brandon, they moved to Brisbane and she completed her medical training here.

Claire now works as a paediatric respiratory physician at Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital and is also a Professor of Paediatrics at UQ.

In 2015, Claire was senior author on a ground-breaking study published in the New England Journal of Medicine that described a new and effective treatment for cystic fibrosis. 

Earlier this year, she received $2 million of funding from the Australian Government for a trial in managing Mycobacterium abscessus complex, a multidrug-resistant bacteria that can cause severe lung infection.  

In addition to being one of the world’s leading paediatric researchers and Children’s Health Queensland doctor, Claire has served on many professional boards, including the Council of the NHMRC.

Media: IMB Communications, 0418 575 247,