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Mater researcher Professor Vicki Clifton has been awarded the Life Sciences Outstanding Achievement Award at the 2019 Women in Technology (WiT) Awards.
The WiT Awards are the biggest and longest-running showcase of their kind in Australia, attracting a record field of entries this year from all branches of information communications technology and life sciences, including medical researchers, inventors, scientists, computer engineers, start-up innovators, employers and entrepreneurs.
Professor Clifton was nominated for the Life Sciences Outstanding Achievement Award as a result of her international reputation as leader in the field of asthma and pregnancy research with Mater Mothers’ Hospital.
“My work is focused on asthma in pregnancy and the impacts this can have on the health of mother and fetus. Interestingly I have found that male and female babies cope differently to mum having asthma with male babies more likely to have problems if mum’s asthma worsens during pregnancy.” she said.
“I am working to help women better manage asthma during pregnancy to reduce the risk of adverse health outcomes to the fetus plus long term health planning for both parents.”
Now Chair of the Mater Research Equity, Inclusion and Diversity Committee, Professor Clifton acknowledges being nominated for a WiT Award is a wonderful achievement and symbolic of the challenges she has faced in the industry.
“I was the first female President of the Endocrine Society of Australia and the first female Editor of the Placenta Journal since 2012. Research was a very male dominated field when I started and it has been good to see that start to change to be more representative of the population,” she said.
“I grew up in a family where my mother, grandmother and aunts owned businesses and worked. I always had strong female role models and despite the work environment being challenging and discouraging at times, I always knew this was what I wanted to do.”
Professor Clifton is also a firm believer in mentorship and sharing knowledge with her peers and students. She has supervised 27 PhD students, 30 honours students and has authored more than 160 publications.
“I believe knowledge is something to be shared and I enjoy seeing the success and achievements of the students I mentor,” she said.
Professor Clifton trained at the Mothers and Babies Research Centre in Newcastle as a PhD student and postdoctoral fellow, and was the Deputy Director of the Centre between 2006 and 2007.
Before moving to Brisbane, she was employed at the Robinson Research Institute, School of Paediatrics and Reproductive Health at the University of Adelaide and Director of Clinical Research at the Lyell McEwin Hospital in Adelaide. She is now Program Leader for Mothers, Babies and Women’s Health at Mater.
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