Queensland Bioethics Centre founder honoured

The founder of the Queensland Bioethics Centre Sister Regis Mary Dunne AO RSM has been named as one of the 2021 “Queensland Greats”.

Sr Regis Mary Dunne founded the Centre under the auspices of the Archdiocese of Brisbane in 1981, offering free access to a library of bioethical information which was utilised by professionals, organisations and members of the public.

In 2017 the Centre became part of Australian Catholic University, when it was relaunched as a collaboration between ACU and the Archdiocese.

Sr Regis Mary was a pioneer of genetics and bioethics, with her work playing an instrumental role in several Queensland ‘firsts’ during a time when few women worked in these fields.

In 1960, she established Queensland’s first cytogenetics diagnostic laboratory at Mater Hospital, resulting in earlier diagnosis of congenital abnormalities. The following year, she co-founded the first genetic counselling clinic in Australia to assist clinicians, patients and families deal with the complexities of these genetic diagnoses.

Sister Mary Regis died in 2020 after a lifetime of work contributing to global science, healthcare and ethics, inspiring many young scientists, researchers, students and healthcare professionals.

Presenting the 21st Queensland Greats Awards at the Queensland Art Gallery, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said this year’s recipients personified the caring and compassionate spirit of the state.

“I’m proud to highlight the inspiring stories of the selfless and pioneering Queenslanders honoured at this year’s Queensland Greats Awards,” the Premier said.

“Through their contributions to education, the arts, social work, housing, health and research, our Queensland Greats have helped us live healthier, happier, more informed and more fulfilled lives.


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