Dr Leanna Read FTSE, FAICD

Recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award 2021

Esteemed biotechnology expert Dr Leanna Read’s contributions to science span a multitude of commercial, government, social and cross-sectoral ventures. 

Leanna was named 2006 South Australian of the Year (Science and Technology) and 2011 Central Region winner of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year (Technology), among a wealth of other accolades.

In 2014 she was the first woman to be appointed as South Australia’s Chief Scientist, a role she held for four years following eleven years on the State’s Economic Development Board.

“It was a great privilege to have the opportunity to contribute to the development of science in South Australia,” said Leanna.

Leanna is a champion of the cooperative research centre (CRC) model, as evidenced by her role as CEO of two CRCs and founder of several CRC spin-out companies, including Carina Biotech Pty Ltd and TekCyte Ltd.

“I’m a great believer in the cooperative research centre program because it brings together a whole range of partners in collaborative, outcome-driven research,” said Leanna.

“Particularly in the biomedical space, our research might someday improve the treatments for a whole range of diseases and other health problems. I get a real buzz out of that.”

Leanna has  played an important role in national science policy through positions on Federal Government boards such as the Prime Minister’s Science, Innovation and Engineering Council, the Industry Research and Development Board, Commercialisation Australia and the Biomedical Translation Fund Committee.

A strong believer in cultivating the next generation of budding scientists and researchers, Leanna holds critical leadership positions as Chairperson for Carina Biotech Pty Ltd and TekCyte Ltd, Chairperson for Health Translation SA, and Chair of the South Australian Government AgTech Advisory Board.

“I’ve had a very fulfilling and quite a privileged career, so the opportunity to put back into the system and to help the young people coming along, as well as to help other organisations to succeed is really quite a strong driver,” said Leanna.

“The world is really your oyster in terms of your capabilities when you do a science-related degree.”

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