International Women's Day

International Women's Day

Celebrating #WEHIwomen

From WEHI's earliest days, women have played pivotal roles in the organisation's success.
To celebrate International Women's Day, we profiled a number of these impressive #WEHIwomen who have produced breakthrough research, driven strategic growth, and helped improve health outcomes.

Dr Jeanne Tie

Associate Professor Jeanne Tie

As a clinician and researcher Jeanne is dedicated to improving outcomes for patients with colorectal cancer. A focus of her research is developing ways to predict how a patient will respond to treatment, and likelihood of disease recurrence after surgery.

A/Prof Melissa DavisProfessor Melissa Davis

There is a lot of big data in science. Using computational techniques Melissa is studying how networks of molecular interactions process biological information. She is seeking to understand the behaviour of cells in normal and cancerous tissues.

Ms Carolyn MacDonald

Carolyn MacDonald

As Chief Operating Officer Carolyn led WEHI’s professional services teams through the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. Her ability to drive productive collaborations across the organisation have been critical to WEHI’s continued success.

Onisha Patel

Dr Onisha Patel

Onisha is a structural biologist studying the shape and architecture of protein molecules to understand how they become faulty and cause cancer to spread. Onisha is a Superstar of STEM, is passionate about science communication through art, and promoting diversity and inclusion in STEM fields.

Dr Esther Bandala Sanchez

Dr Esther Bandala Sanchez

Discovering how ‘good’ T cells supress ‘bad’ T cells has led Esther to discover a method that could revolutionise testing and treatment for type 1 diabetes.

Dr Helene MartinDr Helene Martin

Helene began at WEHI as a research scientist, before moving into management and operational roles. Her work has included liaising between our scientists and corporate groups to coordinate delivery of high-quality services and facilities.

Dr Judith Slocombe

Dr Judith Slocombe

Judith’s contributions to our Consumer Advisory Panel have enabled our researchers to enhance connections with community experiences of disease and expectations of scientific outcomes.

Catherine ParkerCatherine Parker

Assisting in the development and delivery of WEHI’s vision for the future, Catherine’s experience in strategic planning and public policy facilitated improvements in our governance and administrative processes.

Dr Misty Jenkins

Associate Professor Misty Jenkins

Misty investigates white blood cells, the ‘serial killers’ of the immune system. Her work in science and the community has been recognised here and internationally, she is an advocate for women in STEMM and encourages Aboriginal students into the scientific field.

Rhiannon MorrisDr Rhiannon Morris

Rhiannon has been living, breathing and reading science. In 2016, Rhiannon achieved her Honours in the same year as reading 366 scientific papers in 366 days (2016 being a leap year).

Rosie FalconeRosie Falcone

Often called the face of WEHI, Rosie uses her extensive knowledge and experience of the organisation to help our staff, students, visitors and supporters every day.

Wai-Hong ThamProfessor Wai-Hong Tham

Wai-Hong is deciphering interactions between parasite and human proteins to discover new ways to prevent malarial blood stage infection. As the COVID-19 pandemic emerged Wai-Hong worked with collaborators to identify antibodies that can block coronavirus infection.


Ms Jane Hemstritch

Jane Hemstritch

Before accounting and leadership positions in corporate business, Jane completed a double degree in biochemistry and physiology. Her path back to research has been deeply personal, providing a complex perspective on the challenges facing science and the people it effects.

Emanuela Handman

Dr Emanuela Handman

While completing her PhD in Jerusalem, Emanuela discovered inspiration on the other side of the world, leading to a potential vaccine.

Eliza Hall

Eliza Rowdon Hall

“Actuated by the desire to do something noble for the country in which her husband had met with a substantial reward for his labor,” in 1912 Eliza founded the Walter and Eliza Hall Trust, which led to the establishment of the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute for Research in Pathology and Medicine.

Rhea LongleyDr Rhea Longley

Rhea was the joint winner of the 2020 Burnet Prize, our top science prize, in recognition of her research into immunity to ‘vivax’ malaria, which has the potential to enhance malaria surveillance and elimination in the Asia-Pacific.

Fannie Eleanor Williams

Fannie Eleanor Williams MBE

One of the first three staff members of the Institute, Fannie was a bacteriologist in WWI and contributed to ground-breaking work in combating dysentery.

Joh KirbyJoh Kirby

Managing WEHI's COVID-19 response was no easy task, but Joh ensured the systems and information channels were in place to enable vital research and services to safely continue throughout the pandemic. 

Leanne RobinsonAssociate Professor Leanne Robinson

Malaria field work in PNG is precisely how Leanne likes to undertake research. Her work has involved collecting blood samples from hundreds of school children, studying the natural immune responses of children in malarial zones.

Ora BernardDr Ora Bernard

In the 1970s, Ora’s expertise in DNA sequencing placed her at the forefront of molecular biology. Her most significant discovery showed how a specific gene impacts the spread of cancer.

Lynn CorcoranProfessor Lynn Corcoran

Lynn has a reputation as a mentor for young scientists and a champion of the next generation of women coming into the laboratory.

Vanessa BryantDr Vanessa Bryant

Part of the multidisiciplinary COVID PROFILE study, immunologist Vanessa is looking to answer vital questions about COVID-19 immunity.

Margaret HolmesDr Margaret Holmes

A pioneer in scientific mouse breeding, Margaret dedicated 50 years to WEHI, making significant contributions to immunology research, and was central in the successful management of the organisation.

Susan AlbertiDr Susan Alberti AC

Susan has been a good friend to WEHI over many years, her fundraising efforts have greatly assisted in our work to understand how type 1 diabetes develops and in finding treatments for this life changing disease.

Jane VisvaderProfessor Jane Visvader

Jane has received awards for her breast cancer research from across the world, but it’s the search for the key to improve disease outcomes that truly inspires her.

Clare ScottProfessor Clare Scott

Keeping one step ahead of cancer is Clare’s motivational drive. Her ambition is to apply insights fast emerging from blood models to understand solid tumours.

Suzanne CoryProfessor Suzanne Cory

Suzanne is an eminent molecular biologist with a record of significant achievements in immunology and cancer research. In her role as WEHI director, Suzanne embraced new scientific disciplines and changed the face of the organization, securing funding for the $185 million Parkville redevelopment.

Jacqui GulbisDr Jacqui Gulbis

Jacqui’s studies into cellular machinery at a molecular level aims to understand both how proteins transport molecules in and out of cells and how this function is regulated.

Margaret BrumbyDr Margaret Brumby AM

Over two decades, Margaret managed our operational requirements, from official visits from the Duke of Edinburgh and Margaret Thatcher to approval for our first PC3 containment lab.

Liz McMahonElizabeth McMahon

Heading our People and Culture team, Elizabeth ensures staff and student wellbeing is front and centre - an especially important undertaking during a global pandemic.

Melissa CallAssociate Professor Melissa Call

Working in a culture of collaboration and cooperation, Melissa’s interest in understanding the activation of immune cells has led to exploring cell communication pathways for cancer, infection and immune disorder treatment opportunities.

Tracy PutoczkiAssociate Professor Tracy Putoczki

As a medical researcher, Tracy clearly sees “we donate our lives and our brains to what we do, and hopefully by the time we get to the end of our careers we’ve discovered something exciting … something that patients are receiving, that is improving their lives”.

Anne KelsoProfessor Anne Kelso AO

Anne is and always has been obsessed with T cells, her expertise contributed to the cloning of the first recombinant CSF. Today, her role as CEO of the NHMRC means she oversees the national government research funded programs.

Dora LushDora Lush

Hailed a martyr to science, Dora’s contributions to scientific outcomes include journal articles on influenza, myxomatosis and the herpes simplex virus, as well as significant insights into scrub typhus, the disease that ultimately killed her.

Gill Carter

Gill Carter

Working with animals in research is not easy, but it’s incredibly valuable. Gill managed the animal facilities in Kew and always put the welfare of the animal first.

Heather DonaldDr Heather Donald

Heather’s academic and professional success gained her a public profile, including her collaboration with UK scientists to pioneer the use of electron microscopy to study influenza.

Marnie BlewittProfessor Marnie Blewitt

Marnie was 27 when she discovered a ‘new’ gene; her work has progressed to help uncover genetic causes of problems including late miscarriage and muscular dystrophy.

Melanie BahloProfessor Melanie Bahlo

Working closely with clinician researchers to examine genetic disorders, Melanie develops new methods to analyse complex data, producing software that is freely available to others and thereby aiding many research fields.

Kelly RogersDr Kelly Rogers

Under Kelly’s leadership WEHI’s Centre for Dynamic Imaging established itself as a world-class imaging facility. Now as head of the Advanced Technology and Biology research theme she is enabling even more researchers to work at the cutting edge of discoveries in human biology. 

Louise JohanssonLouise Johansson

Leading our diversity and inclusion programs, Louise has helped drive WEHI’s progress particularly around gender equality, reconciliation and LGBTQIA+ inclusion.

Dr Johanna SimkinDr Johanna Simkin

Johanna’s fascination with gut health and development took her from research work at WEHI into a post-lab curatorial career with Museums Victoria.

Samantha OakesDr Samantha Oakes

Alum Samantha helped our breast cancer research team in their search for new treatments. When she’s not in the lab, she’s hitting the waves with her love of competition surfing!


Professor Anne Voss looks at film with student Helen McRae

We aim to maximise opportunities for research discoveries. To do this we must use our entire talent pool.

Research team in a lab

Want to hear about our latest discoveries? Subscribe to our supporter newsletter, Illuminate