Respiratory researcher wins a ‘Science Oscar’


By Michael Woodhead

1 Dec 2020

Respiratory pharmacologist Professor Carol Armour of the Woolcock Institute of Medical Research, Sydney, has been named as the recipient of the 2020 Eureka Prize for Outstanding Mentor of Young Researchers

Announced on 24 November as part of an online awards ceremony due to COVID-19 restrictions, the annual Eureka Awards are national science awards that honour excellence in research and innovation, leadership, science engagement, and school science.

Professor Armour’s award notes that she has devoted the past 20 years of her academic career to enhancing Australia’s research capacity in asthma at the University of Sydney and the Woolcock Institute, where she is Executive Director.

“Harnessing her passion for mentoring and career development, she has created transformative programs and unique opportunities that are advancing the careers of Australia’s next generation of researchers,” it said.

Professor Armour has worked asthma research at the basic scientific level as well as in clinical research, including work on the cellular mechanisms to the translation of new ways to treat asthma within the health system.

“Having had the opportunity to mentor and guide careers over many years, I appreciate what a privilege it is to share young people’s passion for research. I have been lucky to work in an environment that encouraged the development of the next generation of researchers. Thank you to all the senior researchers who shared a passion for helping others to achieve in research – you are all part of this,”she said.

Professor Armour is on the Australian Respiratory Council, The National Asthma Council and has chaired the National Asthma Monitoring Advisory Committee, worked on the National Therapeutic Guidelines and the Australian Medicines Handbook.

Woolcock Chairman Robert Estcourt congratulated Professor Armour on her achievement.

“All of us who have had anything to do with Carol over the years are well aware of her passion not only for medical research, but also for the mentoring and career development of all staff and students, particularly young researchers,” he said.

“Her longstanding work in this field has introduced a number of programs training and inspiring young, up-and-coming researchers. By contributing to the country’s research capacity, the whole country has benefitted.”

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