Three Murdoch staff honoured at the 2020 Aspire Awards

Murdoch geneticists at awards ceremony

Two molecular geneticists and a College Academic Service Lead have been honoured at this year’s Aspire Awards.

The 2020 City of Perth Aspire Award has been presented to Research Associate Craig McIntosh and Research Officer Kristin Ham.

The award will allow the pair to attend an international conference to further their professional development and profile Western Australia on the international stage.

Mr McIntosh and Ms Ham conduct their research in the field of neuroscience, with a focus on antisense oligonucleotide therapeutics, an emerging therapeutic option to treat genetic disorders.  

Mr McIntosh specialises in diseases such as Huntington’s disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), while Ms Ham focuses on diseases such as muscular dystrophy and epidermolysis bullosa.

The pair work at the Centre for Molecular Medicine and Innovative Therapeutics (CMMIT), a joint research centre between Murdoch University and the Perron Institute for Neurological and Translational Science, where they use cutting edge gene therapy techniques.

“I am extremely passionate about dissemination of science, and the City of Perth Aspire Award will give me the platform to showcase the amazing research conducted in our laboratory as well as Western Australia as a whole,” said Mr McIntosh.

Ms Ham said epidermolysis bullosa is a debilitating, rare disease with no available treatment and she hopes to develop a therapy for the disease using a similar therapeutic strategy pioneered in her lab for the treatment of muscular dystrophy.

“By attending this conference, I wish to extend my network of collaborations and showcase the exciting research coming out of Western Australia, hopefully enticing future conferences to the state,” she said.

Katherine Cresey was named the winner of the 2020 Murdoch University Aspire Award.

The award will provide Ms Cresey with $5,000 to attend the Global Women’s Leadership Summit, an international conference on supporting the professional development of women in leadership roles.

Ms Cresey is the College Academic Service Lead for Murdoch's College of Arts, Business, Law and Social Sciences. Her role is to lead the team who are responsible for the smooth operations of the College and provide support to the academic staff and the College Executive to make their jobs easier.

Winning the award came as quite a surprise to Ms Cresey, who was honoured and excited about the announcement.

“I am really proud to be the first professional staff member to receive the award. I hope it encourages other professional staff to apply in the future.”

The award is the icing on the cake of Ms Cresey's past year at Murdoch University, which has seen some career highlights — including forming a new team and helping to lead the College’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“I have met some great new colleagues and grown both professionally and personally. It really has been a remarkable year for me,” she said. 

Ms Cresey is now looking forward to furthering her career by attending the Global Women’s Leadership Summit in Canada once the borders re-open.

 “I am excited to be able to attend this conference and network with my international colleagues. It is a fantastic opportunity to gain new skills and learn from others’ experiences.

“As a woman in leadership, the recent isolation we faced with the pandemic really emphasised to me the incredible pressure I was under without really realising it.

“I knew that I had a lot of balls in the air — trying to juggle being a mum, working full time leading a team of 20 staff, having a FIFO husband, managing the household and trying to fit in time for myself with my professional development and also my health and wellbeing.

“I truly didn’t feel the impact that was having on me until I was forced to stop with the COVID-19 isolation. With restrictions loosening and now being supported by Murdoch in having a more flexible working arrangement, I feel I am a much better leader, employee, wife and, most importantly, a better mum. I can fit it all in without having to rush and I can really be present and engaged in all aspects of my life. This has had such a profound effect on me.

“With this experience and having recently completed a leadership course with Women & Leadership Australia, I feel passionate about breaking down those barriers that women in leadership face, so that we can gain equality and inclusivity in the workplace.”

Posted on:

3 Sep 2020

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