RETIRING cancer research chairman Wayne Robinson is confident one day there will be cancer breakthroughs similar to those made on infectious diseases through history. But, he says, such progress is a marathon and not a sprint.
Emeritus Professor Robinson is stepping down from his long-held role as board chairman at Fiona Elsey Cancer Research Institute, where he is a foundation member.
The 75-year-old signs off proud of the remarkable achievements and changes FECRI has made, particularly in the past decade, during his 14 years’ involvement on the board.
“It is a testament to the generosity of the community, which continues to donate year-in, year-out...(Cancer) is one great problem for us still to solve but we are solving it,” Emeritus Professor Robinson said.
“One thing we ought to keep in mind is what the institute has achieved, it hasn’t been without challenge.
But what I’m most proud of is how we’ve confronted, solved and moved past such challenges.
FECRI, celebrating its 20th year, started in a shed at the back of St John of God Ballarat Hospital with one part-time researcher bringing to life the dream of Ballarat teenager Fiona Elsey who died with cancer in 1991.
The non-government funded institute has expanded into Australia’s only world-class regional cancer research centre with nine PhD students from Federation University and 10 senior scientific staff. FECRI has been housed in modern laboratories at Ballarat Tech Park since 2015.
Emeritus Professor Robinson, who also retires as Federation University deputy vice-chancellor, played a key role in strengthening ties between the institute and university’s research science.
“FECRI has become one of the strengths for the university and shows what brining bright minds to the region can do, not just for staff but for the city,” Emeritus Professor Robinson said.
“The last few years have seen the re-location of the institute to the most wonderful new research laboratories at Federation University. This combined with the expansion of the institute’s research effort, an increase in scientific staff and students, and a strong focus on a governance structure, ensures the researchers can carry out high quality research into the prevention and cure of cancer.”
Emeritus Professor Robinson felt he was leaving FECRI in a good place and it was time for fresh faces to help guide the institute into an exciting new era.
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