The Grimwade Medal

The Grimwade Medal for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology recognises distinguished scientists working within biochemistry and molecular biology.

  • Grimwade Medal for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

    The Grimwade Medal was established in 2016 and aims to promote the disciplines of biochemistry and molecular biology at the University of Melbourne and more broadly in Australia. The Medal is generously funded by the Russell and Mab Grimwade Miegunyah Fund.

    The Grimade Medal is awarded to researchers with a distinguished career in research and academia and may have made contributions to commerce and society. Medallists visit the University of Melbourne and give the Grimwade Medal Oration at the Bio21 Molecular Science and Biotechnology Institute, and attend a gala dinner in their honour and participate in a number of networking and mentoring activities. The medallists also present a Grimwade Oration at a prominent conference in Australia such as ComBio, the ASBMB annual meeting or the Lorne Proteins conference.

    Grimwade Medallists are selected by a committee of the Department of Biochemistry and Pharmacology, University of Melbourne which also considers suggested speakers by the Australian Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and the Lorne Proteins Conference organising committee.

  • Previous recipients of the Grimwade Medal


    Professor Venki Ramakrishnan

    Venki Ramakrishnan received his bachelor’s degree in physics from Baroda University in India in 1971 and his Ph.D. in physics from Ohio University in 1976. He then studied biology for two years at the University of California, San Diego before beginning his postdoctoral work with Peter Moore at Yale University. After a long career in the USA at Brookhaven National Laboratory and the University of Utah, he moved to England in 1999, where he has been a group leader at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge. He received the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 2009 and was the president of the Royal Society from 2015-2020.

    In 2000, his laboratory determined the atomic structure of the 30S ribosomal subunit and its complexes with ligands and antibiotics. This work led to insights into how the ribosome “reads” the genetic code, as well as antibiotic function. Ramakrishnan’s lab subsequently determined high-resolution structures of functional complexes of the entire ribosome at various stages along the translational pathway, which led to insights into its role in protein synthesis during decoding, peptidyl transfer, translocation and termination. For the last decade, his laboratory has been applying cryoelectron microscopy to study eukaryotic and mitochondrial translation, especially initiation of translation and translational regulation.

    Ramakrishnan is the author of Gene Machine, a very frank popular memoir about the race for the structure of the ribosome, and the forthcoming Why We Die. The New Science of Aging and the Quest for Immortality.


    Cynthia Kenyon

    Cynthia Kenyon is the Vice president of Aging Research at Calico, and an expert on the genetics of aging. She has received many awards and honours for her findings, specifically her discovery that a single-gene mutation could double the lifespan of the roundworm C.elegans which led to a new understanding of the genetics of aging. Cynthia is also a member of the US National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Institute of Medicine, and the past president of the Genetics Society of America.


    Professor Fiona Stanley AC

    Professor Fiona Stanley AC has dedicated her life to improving the health of children and Indigenous Australians. She is founder of the Telethon Kids Institute, responsible for ground breaking research on the role of folic acid in preventing of spinabifida, and is namesake to Western Australia's Fiona Stanley Hospital.

    Among her many accolades, Prof Stanley was named Australian of the Year in 2003. She went on to create the Australian Early Development Census in 2009 – a population measure that provides a snapshot of children’s development from birth to five years of age.

    Prof Stanley is also a Vice Chancellor’s Fellow at the University of Melbourne, Honorary Professor in the Melbourne School of Population & Global Health, and UNICEF Australian Ambassador for Early Childhood Development. In 1996, she received an Order of Australia and in 2014  named a National Living Treasure (Australia).


    Professor Eva Nogales

    Professor Nogales is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator; a Professor of Biochemistry and Head, Biochemistry, Biophysics and Structural Biology Division, Molecular Biology at the University of California, Berkeley and Senior Faculty Scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. She is an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA, American Academy of Arts and Sciences and an elected Fellow of the American Society of Cell Biology.

    Professor Nogales is one of the foremost exponents of single particle cryo-electron microscopy, a technique that is taking the world of structural biology by storm. Her elegant work illustrates the power of cryo-EM in providing revolutionary insights into how large complexes and machines in our body function including ground-breaking studies on how the human genome is expressed and controlled.

    🔊 Listen to her in the Eavesdrop on Experts podcast, "Molecules in motion", here.


    Professor Randy Schekman

    Professor Randy Schekman is a 2013 Nobel Laureate, investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and a Professor at the University of California at Berkeley. Professor Schekman is a cell biologist whose ground-breaking research has uncovered how membrane proteins are transported in cells. In addition to the Nobel Prize, he is the recipient of many accolades including the Lasker and Gairdner awards, is a member of both the National Academy of Sciences of the USA and The Royal Society, was former editorin-chief of PNAS USA and is currently editor of eLife.

    🔊 Listen to him in the Eavesdrop on Experts podcast, "Standing up for science", here.


    Emeritus Professor Edwina Cornish AO FTSE

    Professor Edwina Cornish is a leader in biotechnology, the pioneer of the development and commercialisation of the first genetically engineered flowers, and a former senior executive at multiple Australian universities.

    Edwina has extensive experience at the interface between government, research, science and the higher education sector, and has held numerous board positions.  She is currently a member of the Boards of CSIRO and Museums Victoria and was recently appointed to the Council of La Trobe University.


    Dr Russell Howard

    Russell Howard, Head-Commercial Strategy, Genome.One. Russell Howard is a PhD scientist (Biochemistry, University of Melbourne) who embraces risk along the path to opportunity in science and business. After working on the molecular pathogenesis of severe malaria, Russell moved into a succession of management roles in large Pharmaceutical companies (Schering Plough and GSK) as well as small start-up companies in biotechnology.

    He has more than 150 research publications in scientific journals, several issued patents and experience leading large teams in research, product development and commercialisation. Russell is now dedicated to growth and commercialisation of technology-based lifescience companies in Australia, with roles in Sydney at the Garvan Institute (genomics) and as Executive Chairman of NeuClone (biosimilar monoclonal antibodies).

    🔊 Listen to the podcast here.

  • Grimwade Visiting Fellow


    Professor Sir Thomas Blundell FRS, FMedSci

    Delivered Visiting Fellow Oration on 25 September 2019

    Professor Tom Blundell is Director of Research and Professor Emeritus in the Department of Biochemistry, University of Cambridge, where he was previously Sir William Dunn Professor and Head of Department and Chair of School of Biological Sciences. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society, member of the European Molecular Biology Organisation (EMBO), fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences (UK) amongst other prestigious posts.

    Professor Blundell has made many important contributions as a structural biologist in understanding polypeptide hormones, growth factors, receptor activation, signal transduction, and DNA repair. He has published ~630 research papers, including ~40 in Nature and Science, and has anH-factor of 114. Professor Blundell has developed new approaches to structure-guided and fragment-based drug discovery.

    In 1999 he co-founded Astex Therapeutics, an oncology company that has eight drugs in clinical trials. He has developed structure-guided fragment-based approaches to drug discovery for difficult targets involving multiprotein systems and protein-protein interactions.

    Professor Blundell was a member of Margaret Thatcher’s Advisory Council on Science & Technology, Founding CEO of Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, Chairman, Royal Commission on Environment, Deputy Chair of Institute of Cancer Research and President of UK Science Council. In 1997, he was knighted for his contributions to science and society.

  • The Russell and Mab Grimwade Miegunyah Fund

    The Russell and Mab Grimwade Miegunyah Fund was formed from the bequest of an extensive collection of cultural material from the estate of Sir Russell and Lady Mab Grimwade. Sir Russell Grimwade was an industrial chemist by training and a man of wide-ranging interests, including forestry, native timbers and printing, and was the author of two books. He was a member of the University Council for 20 years from 1935, including a period as Deputy Chancellor.

    Miegunyah (a word from an Aboriginal language, possibly Dharuk (Sydney), that includes the meaning 'house') was the Grimwades’ home from 1911 to 1955. Both Miegunyah and Sir Russell's art collection were bequeathed to the University of Melbourne in his will of 1949 and presented to the University after the death of Lady Grimwade in 1972.

    The art collection is housed in The Ian Potter Museum of Art, the University Archives and the Baillieu Library.

    The Russell and Mab Grimwade Miegunyah Fund also supports the prestigious Miegunyah Distinguished Visiting Fellows program.