Professor Mathew Vadas AO: A legacy of achievement
Professor Mathew Vadas has stepped down from his role as Executive Director of the Centenary Institute after leading the organisation’s medical research efforts for 16 years.
During his tenure, he helped re-affirm the Centenary Institute as a leader in scientific discovery, attracted top-tier scientific talent, oversaw the development of state-of-the-art research programs and ensured strong financial and regulatory systems. He has been a champion of innovation, encouraging Institute researchers to tackle some of society’s most challenging and complex medical research questions.
Professor Vadas leaves his leadership role with the Institute widely acknowledged, not only for its scientific excellence, but also for its national support for great scientists and for public outreach.
Under his leadership, the development and support of research centres – the Agnes Ginges Centre for Molecular Cardiology; the ACRF Centenary Cancer Research Centre; and the Centenary UTS Centre for Inflammation (established in 2018 in partnership with the University of Technology Sydney) – were key tools in defining the direction and identity of the Centenary. They have also been instrumental in forming new alliances and in the recruiting of scientific excellence; and have increased the Institute’s capacity to impact real outcomes for the community.
Most recently he created the Centre for Healthy Ageing that continues this strategic approach, investigating age-associated diseases and finding new treatments and cures to benefit an aging population.
During his time as Executive Director, Professor Vadas has worked closely with precinct partners, the Sydney Local Health District (SLHD) and the University of Sydney and with the University of Technology Sydney.
Professor Vadas and the Centenary Institute played a key role, together with the University of Sydney and SLHD in securing funding for the $385m Charles Perkins Centre (CPC), that officially opened in 2014. The Centenary has expanded into the CPC with its cancer and ageing programs that work synergistically with the metabolic and other interests of the CPC.
In addition, Professor Vadas strongly supported further increasing the footprint of the Centenary, and was pleased that the Centenary Institute will be the primary medical research partner in the newly announced Sydney Biomedical Accelerator. This will offer up even more opportunities for Centenary’s researchers, particularly in the translation of critical scientific discovery to the clinic.
The national outreach of the Centenary was boosted by the establishment of the Centenary Institute Lawrence Creative Prize in 2011. The award recognised outstanding creativity in biomedical research by young scientists in Australia and was created in recognition of Neil Lawrence’s invaluable and long-standing contribution to the Centenary Institute, as a Board Member and Chair of the Institute’s Foundation. Over many years, the Award has celebrated young, creative and innovative Australian scientists.
“I have no doubt that Centenary’s team of talented researchers will continue to push the boundaries of what is possible, and I look forward to the ground-breaking discoveries that lie ahead.”
Despite retiring from the Executive Director role, Professor Vadas continues to remain an integral part of the Centenary Institute, as a researcher and as Joint-Head of the Vascular Biology Program. In this capacity, he continues his vital work focused on understanding the ageing processes of blood vessels and their impact on the development of disease.
Centenary Institute Chair, Joseph Carrozzi AM praised Professor Vadas for his significant contributions as Executive Director, leaving a legacy that will continue to impact the Institute and the wider medical research community for years to come.
“On behalf of the board, I would like to give our sincere thanks for Mathew’s tenure as our leader. Under his guidance, the Centenary Institute has grown and prospered, with his efforts integral in keeping Centenary at the very forefront of medical research in Australia,” said Mr Carrozzi.
“Mathew’s commitment to, and his leadership of, the Centenary has been remarkable and one which has positioned us well to be able to reach even greater heights and impact in the future.“
Mr Carrozzi added, “As a part of his enduring legacy, I’m also pleased to say that the Institute has established the ‘Mathew Vadas Award’ which will recognise exceptional undergraduate students and provide them with crucial support as they embark on their journey into a medical research career. By investing in the next generation of scientists, this award not only honours Mathew but also reinforces our commitment to advancing the crucial fight against devastating diseases.”
Professor Marc Pellegrini, an infectious diseases physician and host-pathogen molecular biologist has recently commenced as the new Executive Director at the Centenary Institute.