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Professor Suzanne Cory AC FAA FRS
, 2016

by Raelene Sharp

oil on linen (frame: 104.0 cm x 104.0 cm, support: 100.0 cm x 100.0 cm)

Suzanne Cory AC, molecular biologist, was director of the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research from 1996 to 2009. Cory studied at the University of Melbourne and proceeded to Cambridge in 1966 to undertake her PhD in molecular biology, focusing on the sequence of transfer RNA. In 1971 she returned to Melbourne with her husband and fellow researcher Jerry Adams, and they both started work at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, studying the formation of antibodies and the role of chromosomes in the development of cancer. A fellow of the Australian Academy of Science from 1986, Cory received its Burnet Medal in 1997, served on its council from 2002 to 2005, and was its president from 2010 to 2014 – the first woman elected to the presidency. She received the prestigious international L’Oréal/UNESCO award in 2001. Cory introduced major reforms to the teaching of biological science in Victoria. Suzanne Cory High School, a selective-entry Victorian state school named in her honour, opened in 2011. In 2014 she delivered the ABC Boyer Lectures, The Promise of Science: A vision of hope. She continues to head the laboratory in the molecular genetics of cancer division at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute. Raelene Sharp chose to depict Cory against a backdrop of faintly traced DNA.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery, Canberra
Gift of the artist 2017
Accession number: 2017.102