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Burnet Institute Senior Research Fellow Dr Lindi Masson, and Professor Josh Vogel, Co-Head Global Women’s and Newborn’s Health Group, have been announced as winners of two of Burnet’s most prestigious awards.

Dr Masson is the winner of the 2023 Alastair Lucas Prize for Medical Research, and Professor Vogel is the Gust-McKenzie Medallist for 2023.

The Alastair Lucas Prize is awarded to a researcher who wishes to establish or is establishing their career primarily at Burnet to pursue diseases and health issues of major national or global importance that align with the mission and focus of the Institute.

The Prize, which includes $100,000 per year for two years, will support Dr Masson’s research focused on the vaginal microbiome and its association with increased risk of HIV and sexually transmitted infections, and adverse reproductive health outcomes more generally.


Presented with her Prize at a special event at the Alfred Innovation and Education Hub, Dr Masson thanked the Institute for the recognition and support.

“I think that everyone in this room feels that their own work is of great importance,” Dr Masson said.

“But in this quite difficult field of academia, it’s really nice when someone else thinks that your work is important too.”

Dr Masson thanked her collaborators and ‘awesome’ team, and dedicated the funds from the prize to building her research program in Australia and South Africa.

“Most of all, I'd like to thank and acknowledge the women who participate in our studies. Nothing that we do could be done without their generosity and giving their time to take part in our work.”

Dr Masson’s presentation focused on understanding factors that influence reproductive health in women including the risk of HIV acquisition and pre-term birth.

Burnet Director and CEO Professor Brendan Crabb said the focus of Dr Masson’s work closely relates to much of what Burnet does best including working with communities, field-based epidemiology, implementation science, laboratory research, commercial development, diagnostic development, and discovery orientated research.

“Very rarely do you find a lot of those attributes in the same individual,” Professor Crabb said.

“We don't have to have them in the same individual … but when it does, and they have this comfort with the breadth and technical skill within that range of fields, then we've really got a gem.”

The Gust McKenzie Medal – presented annually to an outstanding mid-career Burnet staff member in recognition of excellence in research and/or public health – is the second significant Burnet award for Professor Vogel, who was the winner of the Alastair Lucas Prize in 2020.

The Alastair Lucas Prize was established as a tribute to the late Alastair Lucas AO, a former longstanding Chair of Burnet who died in 2015, while the Gust-McKenzie Medal is named in honour of founding directors of the Burnet and Austin Research Institutes, Professor Ian Gust AO and Emeritus Professor Ian McKenzie AM.

Burnet Deputy Director Professor Caroline Homer was the inaugural winner of the Alastair Lucas Prize in 2018, while previous winners of the Gust-McKenzie Medal include Dr Alisa Pedrana (2022) Dr Nick Scott (2021), Professor Leanne Robinson (2020), Dr Suman Majumdar (2019), Dr Anna Hearps (2018), and Professor Joseph Doyle (2017).