Hudson Institute scientist receives inaugural veski ‘inspiring women’ fellowship

A successful NHMRC project grant application is a commendable feat for any Australian researcher in the current climate, but to also be a recipient of an inaugural veski inspiring women fellowship, is an outstanding achievement for Hudson Institute of Medical Research’s Dr Maria Kaparakis-Liaskos. Dr Liaskos, who works within the Institute’s Centre for Innate Immunity and Infectious Diseases, submitted her grant application shortly before commencing maternity leave.

Dr Maria Kaparakis-Liaskos receiving her veski inspiring women fellowship.
Dr Maria Kaparakis-Liaskos receiving her veski inspiring women fellowship.

“My strong collaborators and support network at the Hudson and overseas have proven integral to the success of my research and achievements during my career break,” Dr Liaskos said.

This afternoon, Dr Liaskos was presented with an inaugural inspiring women fellowship by The Honourable Linda Dessau AM, Governor of Victoria, at an award ceremony held at Government house.

Dr Liaskos is one of four recipients of the inaugural inspiring women fellowships, funded by the State Government of Victoria and delivered by veski.

The flexible $150,000, three-year fellowships will provide financial support to ensure outstanding female researchers remain competitive in their field of research while they juggle career and carer commitments.

Dr Liaskos’ research focuses on immune responses during Helicobacter infection, a bacterium that infects the stomach of more than three billion people worldwide and is a causative agent of stomach ulcers and gastric cancer.

“What this fellowship will enable me to do is to continue the momentum of my research, expand my international and national collaborations, and establish a laboratory team while I am returning to work from maternity leave.”

Dr Liaskos is a leader in her field. In the past year, she has published her work in prestigious journals, won young investigator awards, and has been invited to present her work at international and national conferences.

She is currently working from home, running her research projects in between taking care of her two young children. Dr Liaskos says she will use her fellowship to hire research staff to assist her while she is returning to full-time work.

“The veski inspiring women fellowship will enable female researchers like myself to continue progressing their careers while raising young children. It is a visionary fellowship scheme that endeavours to promote the advancement of women in science and I am honoured to be a part of it,” she said.

Hudson Director Professor Bryan Williams says the Institute is proud to support researchers like Dr Liaskos to achieve their full potential in research whilst taking a career break to start a family.

“Career breaks should not be at all incompatible with a successful career in medical research,” Professor Williams said.

“It is vital that the Hudson, and the research community at large, give our female scientists the support they need to continue the momentum of their research during essential career breaks.”

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