Three UNSW academics are among 29 of the nation’s top medical and health researchers elected as Fellows of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences (AAHMS) in recognition of their outstanding contributions to health and medical research in Australia.

The Academy welcomed 19 women and 10 men to its Fellowship at a ceremony on Tuesday evening.

Scientia Professor Kaarin Anstey

Australian Research Council (ARC) Laureate Fellow, Scientia Professor at UNSW Science and director of the UNSW Ageing Futures Institute Kaarin Anstey was recognised for her leadership in the field of cognitive ageing and dementia.

“It is a great honour to be elected to the AAHMS and receive recognition for my contributions. Thank you to my team and many mentors and colleagues,” she said.

Prof. Anstey’s research programs focus on the causes, consequences and prevention of cognitive ageing and dementia. She also conducts research into older driver safety. Her research has led to the development of risk assessment tools for Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

UNSW Dean of Science Professor Emma Johnston applauded Prof. Anstey on her appointment.

“I would like to congratulate Prof. Anstey on the honour of being elected a Fellow by her peers. Her research excellence and leadership in the field of cognitive ageing and dementia has had a global impact and we are privileged to have her represent the faculty of Science,” Prof. Johnston said.

Professor Rebecca Guy

Professor Rebeca Guy at the Kirby Institute was elected Fellow of AAHMS for her work on reducing HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in Australia and the Asia-Pacific.

“It is a great honor to be elected as a Fellow of the AAHMS. I look forward to contributing to discussions on how to advance health and medical research, particularly translation of effective interventions into policy and practice to achieve equitable health outcomes,” Prof. Guy said.

Prof. Guy’s research focuses on reducing the impact of HIV and sexually transmissible infections in vulnerable populations, including implementation and evaluation of point-of-care testing and prevention initiatives to reduce the transmission of HIV and STIs in a range of settings. Her research also focuses on optimising antibiotic treatment of STIs and using diagnostics to improve antibiotic stewardship.

Kirby Institute Director, Professor Anthony Kelleher, said: “The election to the AAHMS is a demonstration of the outstanding contribution Rebecca’s research has made to our understanding of novel ways to diagnose and control HIV and STIs, especially in isolated and vulnerable communities. Her leadership in this field will move Australia and the Asia-Pacific region substantially closer to the goal of controlling STIs in high-risk populations.”

Professor Christine Jenkins AM

Head of the Respiratory Group at The George Institute for Global Health and Professor of Respiratory Medicine, UNSW Medicine & Health Christine Jenkins was recognised for her contribution to lung health research. She is also Clinical Professor at Concord Clinical School and University of Sydney.

“I feel honoured and privileged to be elected by my peers for my contribution to health and medical science in Australia,” Prof. Jenkins said. “It is exciting that such an Academy of outstanding health researchers exists, to promote the importance, relevance and enabling aspects of health science and research to the Australian community.”

Prof. Jenkins is a thoracic physician with a clinical and research focus on the management of airways disease. At The George Institute she supervises a research group and PhD students, implementing several trials in asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and pulmonary rehabilitation in Australia, New Zealand and Asia.

In a statement, principal directors of The George Institute, Professor Stephen MacMahon and Professor Robyn Norton AO said: “This election recognises not only Prof. Jenkins’ major research achievements, but also her outstanding national and international leadership in guidelines development, advocacy, education and mentorship in lung health. We are extremely privileged to have her lead our Respiratory Group and continue to contribute to our global mission.”

The AAHMS is an independent, interdisciplinary body of 454 Fellows – elected by their peers for their outstanding achievements and exceptional contributions to health and medical science in Australia. The Academy’s Fellows are leaders in health and medical research, many of whom have been active in monitoring and guiding the nation’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read the full list of Fellows.