Professor Peter Leedman, Director of the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research, is one of the newest recipients of an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO).
Professor Leedman says he is “honoured and humbled” to receive the honour for distinguished service to medicine, health and medical research as a physician-scientist, to professional societies, and to tertiary education.
His remarkable scientific career began with the completion of his studies in medicine at the University of Western Australia, after which he travelled to Melbourne’s Walter & Eliza Hall Institute to complete his PhD. Following this, Professor Leedman performed post-doctoral studies at Harvard Medical School in Boston before returning to Perth.
Not long after, Professor Leedman met Professor Peter Klinken, currently WA’s Chief Scientist, and the two soon developed an ambitious goal.
“We both thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have a medical research institute with the goal of improving the outcome for hard-to-treat cancers and other diseases’,” says Professor Leedman.
In 1998, the “two Peter’s” founded the Western Australian Institute of Medical Research (WAIMR), which later became the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research, one of Australia’s leading medical research institutes thanks in large part to the generous support of Western Australians.
In 2014, Professor Leedman became the Director of the Perkins, and now oversees two state-of-the-art research facilities at the QEII Medical Centre and Fiona Stanley Hospital and a third at Royal Perth Hospital. He serves as Chairman of Linear Clinical Research, WA’s first early clinical trials facility, and works as a Professor of Medicine at UWA and a specialist physician at Perth Royal Hospital.
Professor Leedman says that the recognition he has received is testament to the wonderful teams of scientists, clinicians, honours and PhD students that he has worked with over the years, as well as the WA community who believed in him and the Perkins. He remains determined to improve community health.
“I just want to make a difference to people’s outcomes and reduce the burden of disease in the community, so people have healthier lives. Everyone in the Perkins is passionate about wanting to make a difference to people’s lives,” he says.
It is with immense gratitude that Professor Leedman thanks all the wonderful supporters in the WA community who have directly contributed to the ongoing success of the Perkins over the past 22 years.
The Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) awards were announced on Australia Day 2021.