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Australian Academy Taps First Female Leader

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA—Hailed as a trailblazer for women scientists in Australia, Suzanne Cory this week added to her reputation by being elected the first female president of the Australian Academy of Science (AAS).

Cory was the first woman to lead Melbourne's Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research (WEHI), a position she held for 13 years before Doug Hilton succeeded her last year. Her legacy at WEHI includes building a new facility that will double the number of scientists by 2012 and adding bioinformatics and structural biology capabilities to the institute's core research in immunology, cancer research and infectious disease. She is one of Australia's most cited authors and together with her husband Jerry Adams is known for her research on the role of cell death genes in cancer.

Cory says she hopes to make the work of the 435-member AAS, modeled after the U.K.'s Royal Society, more relevant. "One of the key goals is to make scientific evidence readily available for the government and society," she says.