Advance Global Australia Award for Professor Karen Day
The Advance Australia awards recognise and celebrate Australians around the world who exhibit remarkable talent, exceptional vision and ambition. They are billed as “the only awards to recognise the important contributions of the more than one million Australians living and working abroad, and those who have returned home.”
Professor Day won both the Life Sciences category and the overall Advance Global Australian Award, announced at the Sydney Opera House on Monday.
She said she was delighted that her contribution to international research and education was recognised by Advance.
“Advance has been an exceptional organisation, bringing together the diaspora in a most influential way,” she said.
Born in Melbourne, Professor Day was educated at University of Melbourne, where she was inspired to solve problems in microbiology and infectious diseases.
“That led me to work in global health,” she said.
She had the “life changing” opportunity of studying the public health problems of Papua New Guineans as a young postdoctoral researcher. This experience led her to strengthen her public health training in the UK as a lecturer in molecular epidemiology at Imperial College.
She was recruited to University of Oxford in 2003 where she was promoted to Professor. She was also appointed Fellow of Hertford College in 2003, becoming one of the few women “dons” in science at Oxford.
She moved to New York University School of Medicine in 2004 where she held several senior academic administrative roles at NYU including Chair of the Department of Medical Parasitology, and Director of the Institute of Urban and Global Health, coordinating global health activities at the Medical School.
At NYU, Professor Day led the development of a Masters Program in Global Public Health in the time when the Millennium Development Goals were inspiring governments, NGOs and citizens to participate to reduce global poverty and disease.
She joined the University of Melbourne in 2014 as the Dean of Science. In addition, she continues to run a malaria research group based in the Bio21 Institute and School of BioSciences.
She maintains her international links as an Emeritus Fellow of Hertford College, Oxford and a member of NYU Society of Fellows.
Vice-Chancellor Glyn Davis congratulated Professor Day on her success.
“This important national recognition for the work of Professor Day is well-deserved individually, and reflects further credit on the global status of the University of Melbourne, especially in the sciences,” he said.
Story by Daryl Holland