Honorary degrees awarded to pioneers in health, biotech

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

The outstanding achievements of two pioneering leaders in South Australian science and health – including one whose name graces an internationally regarded research institute – will be recognised with honorary degrees from the University of Adelaide.

The University's graduation ceremonies begin in historic Bonython Hall today, with 3300 students graduating across 13 ceremonies from 27 April to 5 May.

Sharing the stage with those graduates will be two distinguished leaders in their fields, Emeritus Professor Robert Seamark and Emeritus Professor Jeffrey Robinson CBE, who will receive the Doctor of the University (honoris causa) degree on Wednesday 4 and Thursday 5 May respectively.

Emeritus Professor Jeffrey Robinson CBE is a renowned obstetrician who, through much of his long career, has been integral in developing and promoting the University of Adelaide's reputation for excellence in research in obstetrics, gynaecology, reproductive medicine and biology.

Professor Robinson was appointed to the University of Adelaide in 1986 and served as Head of Obstetrics and Gynaecology until 2006. He is internationally regarded for his research into fetal and placental growth and development, how events before birth may predispose people to common adult diseases, and into gestational diabetes, induction of labour, and preterm birth. The outcomes of some of these studies have been incorporated into national and international clinical guidelines, and have improved clinical practice and health outcomes. Professor Robinson's distinguished and inspirational career has seen him receive numerous awards, including a Commander of the British Empire (CBE) in 2006. In 2008, the University of Adelaide named the Robinson Research Institute after him.

Emeritus Professor Bob Seamark has been an Australian leader of multidisciplinary, multi-institute biotechnology projects in the medical, livestock and environmental sciences, with a strong focus on commercial outcomes. He has done so over a period of more than 50 years since his days as a PhD student.

A graduate of the University of Adelaide and Cambridge University, Professor Seamark played a key role in the translation of assisted reproductive technologies being developed in the livestock industry to human clinical practice. This helped to establish the University of Adelaide's Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology as a research leader in human reproductive medicine.

He is a past Director of the Pest Animal Cooperative Research Centre and Director and Chair of the Flinders Medical Research Institute. Currently Professor in the Department of Medical Biochemistry at Flinders University, he plays an active teaching role with the Flinders Medical School.

University of Adelaide Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Warren Bebbington says: "The lifelong accomplishments of Professor Robinson and Professor Seamark continue to influence research and the translation of that research to real-world outcomes. We honour them for their exceptional contributions to the University of Adelaide and to the wider community."


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