Unravelling modern biology with computational methods

Dr Kim-Anh Lê Cao has been awarded the Georgina Sweet Award to promote and support female scientists who demonstrate excellence in the area of Quantitative Biomedical Science.

Dr Lê Cao is a senior Lecturer in Statistical Genomics, in the school of Mathematics and Statistics.  She  is also a member of the Centre for Stem Cell Systems

Her research lab at Melbourne Integrative Genomics focuses on the development of novel statistical methods, their implementation in efficient software and their applications in areas informed by biology.

“I am honoured to receive the Georgina Sweet Award. This award represents an acknowledgement of my research vision: that we need adopt new ways of statistically analysing large biological datasets, and that we need to give back to the research community with easy-to-use tools and methods. I believe that both aspects are crucial to advance research, as well as the training budding data analysts and computationally inclined biologists who represent our next generation of scientists.

I am excited to continue being an ambassador for women in science, and especially in my own discipline in computational statistics where women are largely underrepresented.” said Dr Lê Cao.

Professor Christine Wells is a long-time collaborator with Dr Kim-Anh Lê Cao. They are combining forces to address questions arising from the integration of stem cells genomics data in Stemformatics.

“Dr Lê Cao’s research is fundamental to realising the promise of big data – finding the signal, seeing the emergent picture, rather than drowning in the data. Her vision is aligned with the values of the Georgina Sweet Award: she is an enabling force, a disrupter for open science, and places her research tools into the public domain in a forum that enables adoption, training and application” said Professor Wells.

Dr Lê Cao was recently awarded the 2019 Moran Medal for her research in developing statistical and computational methods for high-throughput biological data arising from frontier technologies. She plays a critical role in several local, national and international collaborative studies with researchers from diverse bioscience disciplines.

Dr Kim-Anh Lê Cao was also selected to be part of the Homeward Bound global leadership initiative for women in STEMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine).

Listen to Kim-Ahn's excitement about being part of the Homeward Bound program
and her hopes to inspire the younger generation to contribute to impactful science and progress towards a greater good.

Speaking at the Georgina Sweet Award ceremony, Professor Sue Thomas, Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Research Council gave an inspiring career talk and shared with the audience four key characteristics she believes can determine leadership excellence: integrity, knowing the business, broad leadership and staying true to yourself.

Sue also spoke about the importance of diversity in leadership. “Diversity in leadership means there is a diverse way of doing things. We need to normalise diverse leadership” she said.

About the Georgina Sweet Awards:

The Georgina Sweet Awards for Women in Quantitative Biomedical Science were created by Professor Leann Tilley as part of her Australian Research Council Laureate Fellowship program to promote and support female scientists who demonstrate excellence in the area of Quantitative Biomedical Science.

Quantitative Biomedical Science is Biological/Biomedical Research that employs a quantitative approach, particularly in areas such as Computational Biology, Biophysics, Bioinformatics, Biochemistry, Genomics, Structural Biology, Cell Biology etc.

Two new awards were established in 2016:

  • Georgina Sweet Award for Women in Quantitative Biomedical Science: Up to three awards of $25,000 each will be made each year to Australian female researchers who demonstrate excellence in the area of quantitative biomedical science.  Applications for this year’s award are now closed.
  • Georgina Sweet Travel Support for a Female Keynote Speaker in Quantitative Biomedical Science:  Up to five awards of $3,000 each are available each year to support the attendance of a female keynote speaker at an Australian conference. Once all awards have been allocated for the year, further applications will not be accepted.  Applications are currently closed for conferences for this year, preference will be given to conferences that have not previously received funding.
  • Article by Helen  Braybrook

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Dr Kim-Anh Lê Cao