The University of Queensland Diamantina Institute is striving to change the face of chronic disease. Diabetes, inflammatory arthritis, infection and cancers - diseases which have long been considered life-threatening or life-debilitating - are being broken down by our researchers to prevent disease, alleviate pain, improve health and extend life expectancies.

The past decades have seen many great advances in understanding disease mechanisms. This has not, however, necessarily translated into commensurate gains in new disease treatment, diagnostics and prevention strategies. In this stimulating debate, structured in the form of a trial, we ask what advances have really been made, what is changing and why we should continue to support research into chronic disease. 


Professor Ian Frazer
Professor Ian Frazer is the Chief Executive Officer and Director of Research of the Translational Research Institute (TRI) in Brisbane, Australia. When the TRI opens in Brisbane in 2012, it will be the largest institute of its type in the southern hemisphere — and one of only a handful worldwide that can research, trial treatments and manufacture breakthrough drugs in one location. The TRI will accommodate up  to 650 researchers from the four TRI partners: The University of Queensland, Queensland University of Technology, Mater Medical Research Institute and the Princess Alexandra Hospital.
Internationally-renown for the co-creation of the technology for the cervical cancer vaccines, Professor Frazer began his career as a renal physician and clinical immunologist in Edinburgh, Scotland before emigrating in 1981 to Melbourne, Australia. He continued his clinical training and pursued studies in viral immunology and autoimmunity at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research with Professor Ian Mackay. In 1985, Professor Frazer accepted a teaching post with The University of Queensland and was appointed Director of The University of Queensland Diamantina Institute in 1991. In early 2011, Professor Frazer relinquished directorship of the Institute to commence in-post as CEO of the TRI. He retains an active research program at the Institute in immune responses to cancer. Professor Frazer was awarded the 2005 CSIRO Eureka Prize for Leadership in Science and was selected as Queenslander of the Year, and Australian of the Year in 2006. He was also awarded the 2008 Prime Minister's Prize for Science, the 2008 Balzan Prize for Preventive Medicine, the 2009 Honda Prize and was recently elected as a Fellow of the esteemed Royal Society of London.

Professor Ranjeny Thomas
Professor Ranjeny Thomas is clinical Rheumatologist at Princess Alexandra Hospital and head of the Autoimmunity programme at the University of Queensland Diamantina Institute. She did a research fellowship with Peter Lipsky in Dallas, Texas and has been a full Professor at UQ since 2003. Her research is focussed on the study of autoimmune disease and restoration of tolerance. Through this work, she developed and tested the first rheumatoid arthritis vaccine. Ranjeny is founder and a director of the spin-off company, Dendright, which is developing vaccines to suppress autoimmune diseases. She is a passionate mentor and change agent in the Australian academic environment. 

Professor Matt Brown
Professor Matt Brown is a clinician-scientist who trained initially in medicine and rheumatology in Sydney, Australia before moving in 1994 to Oxford, England to pursue research in genetics of bone and joint diseases, particularly ankylosing spondylitis. He was appointed Professor of Musculoskeletal Sciences at University of Oxford in 2004 and was Deputy Director of the University of Oxford Institute of Musculoskeletal Sciences from 2003-5.
In 2005 Matt returned to Australia, taking a chair of Immunogenetics at University of Queensland Diamantina Institute in Brisbane. There he continues to work in genetics of common diseases, as well as running a specialist service for spondyloarthritis patients at Princess Alexandra Hospital. Matt has recently been appointed as the Director of the UQ Diamantina Institute.

Professor Alan Lawson
Professor Alan Lawson was appointed Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) in December 2011. He was previously Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research and International), Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research and Research Training), and Dean of the UQ Graduate School. Prior to that, he was a Reader in the Department of English (1975-98) in which he served as Postgraduate Coordinator from 1994-1997, and took a keen interest in graduate student issues since becoming a member of the University's Postgraduate Studies Committee in 1987. Professor Lawson has published widely in postcolonial theory and critical practice (especially in relation to “settler cultures”), national cultural policy in Australia and Canada, and Australian and Canadian fiction. He was a founding member of the Brisbane Post-colonial Research Group (1986- ). After graduating from the University of Newcastle in 1969 with First Class honours and a University Medal in English, he wrote an MA thesis at the Australian National University on the Australian Nobel Prize-winning author, Patrick White, parts of which were published as a book and some papers. He commenced PhD research on Elizabethan theories of comedy there but, after further publishing and teaching in the field of Australian Literature, moved to the University of Queensland as a Lecturer in English in 1975. Subsequently, his interests extended to the literatures and cultural policies of Canada and Australia.vAlan Lawson is author or editor of 10 books and approximately 100 papers and chapters and has been an advisory team member for 27 successful research higher degree graduates. He was Chair of the Australian Council of Deans & Directors of Graduate Studies (2000-02); Inaugural Chair of the Group of Eight Deans of Graduate Studies (2003-05); and Inaugural Chair, Universitas 21 Deans of Graduate (2001-04). 

Dr Sarah Derrington
Dr Sarah Derrington is a Barrister in Brisbane specialising in maritime and shipping law, general commercial law and arbitration. An Adjunct Professor at the University of Queensland, she was formerly Professor of Admiralty Law and Director of the Marine and Shipping Law Unit within the T C Beirne School of Law.  She has published in leading international journals in the field of marine insurance and carriage of goods by sea and, with James M Turner of the English Bar, co-authored The Law & Practice of Admiralty Matters (OUP, 2007). She is currently the co-Editor of the Queensland Reports.Sarah is President of the Maritime Law Association of Australia and New Zealand, Vice-Chairman of the Australian Maritime & Transport Arbitration Commission, a member of the Commonwealth’s Admiralty Rules Committee and a Door Tenant of Quadrant Chambers in London.

About Global Leadership Series

The Global Leadership Series (GLS) is a lively program of events for alumni and community members. Join us for lectures and discussions with the best of the best UQ-related speakers on matters that impact your community and shape your ideas of the world.

The series is an opportunity for you to engage with great minds on global matters, participate in thought-provoking discussions and network with UQ alumni and community members. All alumni, parents, community members and friends are welcome to attend the Global Leadership Series events.

Listen to podcasts of previous GLS events click here


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