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University of Sydney honours former Chancellor


5 December 2013

The University of Sydney has today honoured its former Chancellor, Her Excellency, Professor Marie Bashir, Governor of New South Wales, by naming one of its flagship medical institutes after her.

The University's Sydney Emerging Infections and Biosecurity Institute (SEIB) was today re-named as the Marie Bashir Institute for Infectious Diseases and Biosecurity at a special event with keynote addresses by:

• Her Excellency Professor Marie Bashir AC CVO, Governor of New South Wales
• Dr Michael Spence, Vice-Chancellor and Principal, University of Sydney
• Professor Bruce Robinson, Dean of the Sydney Medical School
• Professor Tania Sorrell, Director, Marie Bashir Institute for Infectious Diseases and Biosecurity

Speaking at the launch, Professor Bashir said controlling infectious diseases was one of the major health challenges of the 21st century.

"If we are to safeguard people in Australia and across the world from emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases, we need the exciting cross-disciplinary research being undertaken by this new institute at the University of Sydney," Professor Bashir said.

"It is indeed a deeply felt privilege to have my name associated with an institute whose fine professionals will be meeting the challenges of these diseases with considerable commitment, innovation and scientific skill."

The renaming of the institute signals a new beginning of multidisciplinary research and education into infectious diseases and biosecurity. The institute will link biological, natural and social sciences across the campuses of the University with work enhanced and broadened by collaboration with other academic institutions to build on the existing work of the SEIB.

Institute Director Professor Tania Sorrell said: "We are uniting researchers and academics from many disciplines to deepen our understanding of the factors that influence infectious diseases and biosecurity.

"We are honoured by, and indebted to, Her Excellency, Professor Bashir, Governor of New South Wales and previous Chancellor of this University, for lending her name to our Institute," Professor Sorrell said.

"Emerging infectious diseases pose one of the great challenges of the 21st Century. Environmental disruption, high population densities of humans, animals and crops, together with climate change, an increasingly centralised agricultural system and rapid transport to all parts of the world, are converging to create new selection pressures and opportunities for microbes to spread and infect new hosts.

"Indiscriminant and/or inappropriate use of antimicrobials are driving an increase in resistance that has rendered some strains of malaria, TB and other bacteria resistant to all available drugs.

"Multi-sectoral responses are needed to prevent the spread of infectious diseases - safe food, safe water, rapid responses to natural disasters, early recognition, better diagnostics and surveillance and in developing countries, functional health and other support systems are critical to infectious disease control."

On the same day, the Institute also staged its first ever Colloquium, a whole-day scientific seminar examining topics ranging from antibiotic-resistant bacteria to the threatened extinction of the Tasmania Devil due to infectious facial tumours.


For more information about the Marie Bashir Institute visit: www.sydney.edu.au/mbi

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Media enquiries: Rachel Gleeson 02 9351 4630, 0481 004 782, rachel.gleeson@sydney.edu.au