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Show your support for our Women in Research

Posted: 05th April 2018

We're pleased to announce St Vincent's Institute's Associate Professor Louise Purton is the keynote speaker for the 6th Annual Susan Alberti Medical Research Foundation (SAMRF) Mother’s Day Luncheon. 
Join Louise as she talks about being a mother and researcher, and sets the scene as to the latest and most exciting endeavours in medical research.
Funds raised are awarded to an SVI researcher to provide her with laboratory support so that her work can continue while she is on maternity leave; the 2018 Women in Research Award recipient will be announced on the day.
The luncheon provides you with many opportunities to raise funds for female researchers at St Vincent's Institute (SVI); secure a ticket or table and invite friends, colleagues and family; make a direct donation to SVI’s Susan Alberti Women in Research Award and bid on a range of auction prizes and packages.
St Vincent’s Institute Foundation Patron, Susan Alberti AC, looks forward to welcoming you to Leonda, Hawthorn, from 12 noon to 3pm on Thursday 10 May. For tickets call (03) 9560 1595 or visit the SAMRF website.

Image: Susan Alberti AC and Dr Jacki Heraud-Farlow, 2017 Women in Research Award recipient

About the 2017 Women in Research Award recipient

Dr Jacki Heraud-Farlow was the recipient of the 2017 Susan Alberti Medical Research Foundation (SAMRF) Women in Research Award.

“It takes about 12 years to become a fully fledged researcher, so it is really important to put things in place to support female researchers so that they can continue with their work and still have a family,” says Susan Alberti AC. “At a time when there’s so much emphasis on encouraging women to study and participate in STEM roles in Australia, I’m trying hard to get those woman, who have heeded the call and followed their dreams, to stay in the field that they have dedicated many years of their life to.”

“I was honoured to receive this Award at a crucial time in both my personal and professional life,” says Jacki, “It was a relief to know I could keep my research going while I spent time with my daughters.”

Jacki researches a pathway that allows normal cells in healthy people to “edit” double-stranded RNA molecules. This process is essential to remove structures that would otherwise look very similar to the genome of an invading virus. Unfortunately, some children are born with mutations in this pathway, meaning their immune systems can no longer tell the difference between “self” and virus. Their cells mount an autoinflammatory response that results in a profound neurodegeneration and loss of motor and communication skills early in life. There is currently no treatment for this disease, termed Aicardi-Goutieres syndrome (AGS). Jacki hopes that her research can shed light on how this process works in healthy people and children with AGS.

“My ultimate goal is to find a treatment and reduce the suffering experienced by children with this disease” said Jacki, “Like most researchers, I am driven by a desire to answer questions about the unknowns of biology. I feel very privileged to be able to follow my passion and have my research supported and I hope this will in turn teach my daughters to follow their passions.”

Jacki completed a Bachelor of Biomedical Science at the University of Melbourne in 2004 and honours in Genetics in 2005. She then worked as a research assistant for two years at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute studying cell death pathways in models for children’s blood cancers. Looking for a new challenge, Jacki moved to Vienna, Austria in 2008 to undertake a PhD. Finishing her PhD in 2012, Jacki completed a short post-doc, then took maternity leave for the birth of her daughter. She returned to Melbourne in 2015 to start postdoctoral training with SVI’s Assoc Professor Carl Walkley.

Video

View the video of the children of some of our Women in Research Award Award winners here.