New Bio21 building recognises pioneering women

The University of Melbourne has honoured two of its most revered scientists at the opening of the expanded Bio21 Institute of Molecular Science and Biotechnology on Friday 14 December. The new Nancy Millis Building will also be home to the new Margaret Sheil Mass Spectrometry laboratories.

The state-of-the-art, $46 million research facility expands the footprint of the Bio21 Institute by 5000 square metres.

Nancy Millis BuildingNancy Millis entrance
 Nancy Millis entranceNancy Millis foyer

The new Nancy Millis Building has been named after Professor Emeritus Nancy Millis, one of the University's first female professors, while the Margaret Sheil Mass Spectrometry laboratories recognise Australia's first chemistry professor, Professor Margaret Sheil.

In 1952, Nancy was appointed as a Senior Demonstrator in the then Department of Microbiology. In 1953, she was appointed as a lecturer. Early in her career, Nancy set up the first Applied Microbiology course in Australia, and in 1982, was appointed as a Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology. Nancy was awarded Emeritus Professor status in 1987 and continued to work at the University until she passed away in 2012. Nancy was also Chancellor of La Trobe University from 1992 until 2006. Nancy also introduced fementation technologies to Australia and created the first applied microbiology course taught in an Australian university.

Professor Margaret Sheil, University of Melbourne Provost from 2012 to 2017, commenced as Vice-Chancellor of Queensland University of Technology in February 2018. Margaret is a Fellow and Morrison Medallist of the Australian and New Zealand Society for Mass Spectrometry and was made on Office of the Order of Australia in 2017.

The new facility will help researchers develop diagnostics and treatments for cancer, infectious, metabolic, autoimmune, neurodegenerative and other diseases.

Professor Emeritus Nancy Millis

Professor Margaret Sheil at Margaret Sheil Mass Spectrometry laboratories

Read more about the new Nancy Millis Building here and here.