Two medical researchers who pioneered a world-first treatment for Duchenne muscular dystrophy while at The University of Western Australia are among 23 alumni and staff members recognised in the 2021 Queen’s Birthday Honours List.
Professor Steve Wilton and Professor Susan Fletcher from the Perron Institute for Neurological and Translational Science – WA’s longest established medical research institute – were two of five UWA alumni to be appointed Officers in the General Division (AO) of the Order of Australia.
Leading the Centre for Neuromuscular and Neurological Disorders at the Perron Institute, Professor Wilton AO and Professor Fletcher AO were recognised for their distinguished service to medical research, to neurological science, and to the treatment and support of those with Muscular Dystrophy.
In 1996, they led a research team to develop three drugs that could treat almost 30 per cent of boys with Duchenne, a debilitating genetic condition that causes a gradual loss of muscle and was untreatable until their breakthrough.
Warwick Hemsley (BCom), Dr Vanessa Guthrie (GradDipCRLaw) and Professor Colin Binns of Jindalee (MBBS) were also recognised with an AO for their distinguished service to the arts, community, minerals and resources sector, medical research, tertiary education and public policy.
UWA Law School’s Dr Andrew Lu of Shenton Park (LLB, GradDipLaw) was awarded an AM and an OAM for significant service to the visual and performing arts, to the law, and to legal education.
Other staff and graduates recognised with an AM were Adjunct Professor Albert Tan of Wembley (BSc, BDS) from UWA’s Oral Health Centre of WA (OHCWA), Dr Tracy Westerman (GradDipSc), Adjunct Professor Frank Mastaglia of Claremont (MBBS,MD) from the Centre for Neuromuscular and Neurological Disorders, Marion Fulker of Salter Point from UWA’s School of Agriculture and Environment, Adjunct Professor Neil Turner of Watermans Bay from UWA’s Institute of Agriculture, ACT resident Dr Sarah Ryan (BSc,PhD) and NSW resident Professor Ann Curthoys from UWA’s School of Humanities.
Staff and alumni awarded a Medal (OAM) in the General Division were: the late Nicholas Andrew of Bedford (BA), Associate Professor Ramesh Balasubramaniam (BDS, BSc) from UWA’s Dental School, Lieutenant Colonel Stephen Chamarette of Coolbinia (BEc), Jan Cooper of Wembley (BPEd), Dr Geoffrey Byrne of Bayonet Head (BSc, MBBS), Dr John Van Bockxmeer (MBBS, BA), Timothy White of Daglish (MMus), Dr Michele Toner of Joondanna (MSpEd, PhD) and Victoria residents, Lawrence Woodman (BPEd, MPhysEd) and Jennifer Leaper (Med).
The Queen’s Birthday Honours List recognise and celebrate the outstanding contribution of Australians.