Barry Preston Award
Established Researcher Award
The Barry Preston Award recognises an outstanding leader in the matrix biology field distinguished by a sustained record of achievement, commitment to mentoring junior researchers and exceptional communication skills.
This award is named after Barry Preston who made contributions to the understanding of the transport and properties of extracellular matrix molecules. He was an enthusiastic teacher and mentor to younger researchers. He established the Connective Tissue Society of Australia and New Zealand, as MBSANZ was then known, in 1975 and was the inaugural president.
Any Australian or New Zealand researcher in the matrix biology field currently at a national or international research institution who exemplifies the same passion for discovery and mentorship that Barry typified is eligible to be nominated. The awardee must be available to deliver a plenary lecture at the society conference on their research.
A call for nominations for this award will occur prior to a society meeting. Current members of the Society may nominate candidates for this award by providing a supporting statement and brief CV for the nominee. The awardee will deliver a plenary lecture at the society conference on their research.
Award review committee
The award is determined by the selection committee chaired by the President.
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Prof. Chris Parish is currently the Leader of the Cancer and Vascular Biology Group in the John Curtin School of Medical Research at the Australian National University. Having trained in immunology at the University of Melbourne and the Walter & Eliza Hall Institute, he has spent his career investigating various aspects of the immune system. He is widely recognised for his contributions to cancer and immunology research.
Since the late 1970s he has been interested in the roles of complex carbohydrates, and in particular heparan sulphate, for their roles in cell adhesion and migration. His pioneering work resulted in heparanase being identified as a drug target and the subsequent development of carbohydrate-based drugs such as PI-88 to inhibit inflammation, tumour metastasis and angiogenesis. His research has been translated to multiple Australian biotechnology companies and recognised by numerous awards including the Clive and Vera Ramaciotti Medal for excellence in biomedical research, fellow of the national academy of inventors and finalist for the 2016 ACT Australian of the Year.
Chris has mentored 37 PhD students during his career; certainly a huge contribution to the next generation. His mentees have continued onto careers in academia such as at the NIH, University of Chicago and University of Glasgow with 4 attaining professorships as well as postings in industry, government and clinical settings.
Chris's oration during the 2020 meeting was titled ‘Heparanase and heparan sulphate: the love of a lifetime’