2018 Women in Research Award recipient announced

Posted: 14th May 2018

Dr Michaela Waibel, a type 1 diabetes medical researcher at St Vincent’s Institute of Medical Research (SVI) in Fitzroy, has been announced as the recipient of the 2018 Susan Alberti Medical Research Foundation (SAMRF) Women in Research Award at the SAMRF Annual Mother's Day Luncheon on Thursday 10th May.

Proceeds from the SAMRF Annual Mother’s Day Luncheon held each year in May help fund the Award, which supports the work of an outstanding female scientist by covering the cost of a research assistant while she is on maternity leave.

“We have so many talented female scientists in medical research” says Susan Alberti AC. “I think it is very important that we put supports in place which can allow their work to continue while they’re on maternity leave. It’s challenging enough for them when they become a mother; we don’t want them to have to worry about what is happening back in the lab while they’re adjusting to life with a newborn.”

“I have worked so hard to get to this point in my research career,” says Michaela, “I’m very grateful to Susan Alberti and her supporters for acknowledging my work and providing this opportunity to ensure it continues. It is a relief to know that it will carry on while I get used to my new role as a mother.”

Michaela has a PhD in Cell Biology and moved to Australia from Germany in 2009 to undertake post-doctoral research. She joined SVI’s Immunology and Diabetes Unit in 2014, where she manages laboratory research related to islet transplantation, the aim of which is to reduce the rejection of transplanted insulin-producing tissue and improve the outcomes of islet transplantation in patients with type 1 diabetes. Michaela is also involved in a large pre-clinical project that may eventually lead to drugs that could help in the prevention and treatment of type 1 diabetes.

“My ultimate goal is to help prevent type 1 diabetes, and in the meantime, to alleviate the side-effects of people with type 1 diabetes who undergo islet transplants” says Michaela. “I work closely with the team that manages the Susan Alberti Islet Isolation Facility at SVI, and I’m well aware of Susan’s commitment to research in this area. It motivates me to continue to strive to make a difference for people with type 1 diabetes, and their families.”

“I’m delighted that this year’s Women in Research Award recipient works in the area of type 1 diabetes. I know SVI’s diabetes researchers are world class. There’s no doubt in my mind that Michaela is an integral part of their diabetes research program, and her work contributes to their success,” says Susan Alberti.