Celebrating 40 Years of Medical Research: An Evening with Professor Lyn Beazley AO

Celebrating 40 Years of Medical Research: An Evening with Professor Lyn Beazley AO

On Wednesday 24 May, supporters, researchers, and Board members joined RPH Research Foundation at the City of Perth Library to celebrate 40 years of funding health research in Western Australia.

To mark the occasion, the outgoing Board Chair Professor Lyn Beazley AO, shared some of the lessons from her career and what makes a leader.

During her captivating address, Professor Beazley interwove anecdotes about the transformative research projects supported by the RPH Research Foundation. She also shared personal highlights from her own journey, including her tenure as the Chief Scientist of Western Australia.

Attendees had the unique opportunity to join Professor Beazley amidst the stacks of the Library after hours, where she regaled them with stories such as her childhood visit to Charles Darwin's house, her journey to becoming a neuroscientist, studying at Oxford and giving microscopes to school children across Australia.

Professor Beazley emphasized the importance of asking questions, recounting her experience as a young schoolgirl asking to peer through Sir Darwin's microscope and the tour guide who unexpectedly granted her permission.

As she looked at a carnivorous plant sample – that she now realises was likely from Western Australia, her passion for science and biology was ignited. This moment set her on a career path that she was told would be impossible at 11 years old.  

Professor Beazley shared with audiences that this is a prime example of why you should always ask the question – you may be shocked by the answer, and you have nothing to lose by seeking knowledge.

A pivotal aspect of the RPH Research Foundation's support for research within Royal Perth Hospital was their provision of Practitioner Fellowships. These fellowships helped support those who were working as full-time clinicians in the hospital by giving them three years of funding to support the time they dedicated to research. One of the beneficiaries was Professor Fiona Wood AM whose project during the fellowship was titled How nerves grow back into the skin following burn injury”.

Attendees learnt how pharmacy-purchased perfume is connected to Professor Wood’s greatest contribution to patient care – the innovative ‘spray-on skin’ technique (Recell).

While celebrating four decades of funding world-class research, Professor Beazley shared some of the research projects the Foundation is currently funding. This includes audiologist Dr Dona Jayakody, one of our Career Advancement Fellows, who is part of a research team that discovered a link between hearing loss and dementia. Dr Jayakody now aims to determine if wearing hearing aids can prevent, or delay, the onset of dementia in Aboriginal older adults.

As Professor Beazley shared news of her retirement from the Board, she introduced the audience to the new Board Chair Mr John Palermo. 

Image: Professor Lyn Beazley AO with RPH Research Foundation's new Board Chair Mr John Palermo.

Although Professor Beazley has now retired from the Board after almost 10 years, attendees were inspired by her passion for research which continues to shine bright.

Reflecting on her appointment as the first woman to be Chief Scientist of WA, Professor Beazley revealed that she originally didn’t go for the position as she “only ticked 9.4 requirements out of 10”.

“Women in particular like to tick every box three times before they apply, however, if it is something you can learn and get help for you should take the opportunity,” she shared with the audience.

With key takeaways of trusting your gut, embracing opportunities for growth, and seeking guidance from good mentors, Professor Beazley imparted wisdom relevant to people of all ages.

The event was made possible through a partnership with the City of Perth, and it showcased the Royal Perth Hospital Research Foundation's commitment to funding world-class health and medical research in the heart of the Perth CBD.

Image: Professor Lyn Beazley AO with City of Perth's Chief Executive Officer Michelle Reynolds.

The Foundation extends its heartfelt gratitude to all those who attended this remarkable event. It was an honour to celebrate this milestone anniversary alongside the Foundation’s dedicated supporters.

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