Four Fellows elected to science academy

 Four AAHMS Fellows have been recognised for their outstanding contributions to  health and medical research with election to the Australian Academy of Science.

Professors Rachelle Buchbinder, Louisa Degenhardt, Matthew Kiernan and Georgina Long were announced as new Academy of Science Fellows on 23 May, and will be formally admitted to the academy in a ceremony on 11 September.

We warmly congratulate them on their achievement.

Read the full list of new Academy of Science Fellows on their website, and learn more about our joint Fellows by reading their citations below.

first do no harm

Professor Rachelle Buchbinder AO FAA FAHMS


Rachelle Buchbinder is a rheumatologist and clinical epidemiologist who is internationally recognised for her sustained research achievements in the musculoskeletal health field, and for being a vocal proponent of evidence-informed high-value health care. Her seminal and highly cited works include evaluation of a world-first mass media campaign that successfully shifted misconceptions about back pain and the widely acclaimed 2018 Lancet Low Back Pain Series that she led. She has published over twenty musculoskeletal trials that have challenged the value of accepted treatments, been influential in changing paradigms about the value of placebo-surgical trials and tested implementation strategies to improve care.

Professor Louisa Degenhardt AO FAA FASSA FAHMS

Louisa Degenhardt is a psychologist and global authority on illicit drug use. She has led seminal research on the global burden of illicit drug use and mapped global coverage of interventions to reduce this burden. Her work is used by governments, United Nations agencies and other key international organisations to inform treatment planning and to advocate for the scale-up of interventions that are effective in reducing harms among people who use drugs.

Professor Matthew Kiernan AM FAA FAHMS

Matthew Kiernan is an internationally renowned expert in neurodegenerative diseases, particularly motor neuron disease and frontotemporal dementia. He devised and introduced neurophysiological techniques that enable ion channel function to be studied in vivo in human subjects. His discoveries have delineated normal function and the mechanisms of disease and have identified therapeutic targets. He has defined diagnostic criteria for disease and established consensus guidelines, adopted globally by the World Federation of Neurology. Kiernan is implementing novel therapies based on these discoveries and using his techniques to measure responses to treatment, these are now being trialled in centres worldwide.

Professor Georgina Long AO FAA FAHMS

Georgina Long is a medical oncologist and scientist specialising in melanoma. She has led an extensive program of clinical trials, revolutionising the way melanoma is treated worldwide and leading to Australian government funding of ten new melanoma drugs which significantly increase survival. Long published the first research to show a survival improvement in patients with melanoma brain metastasis and led efforts to introduce the first new checkpoint inhibitor drug into clinical oncology in over a decade. Her recent groundbreaking work on the neoadjuvant platform is now revolutionising how operable cancers (melanoma and beyond) are treated. In recognition of the contribution of her outstanding research and work, Professor Long was awarded 2024 Australian of the Year (jointly with colleague Professor Richard Scolyer).

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