Public Release:  Leading statistician receives national citation award

Walter and Eliza Hall Institute

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IMAGE: Walter and Eliza Hall Institute bioinformatician professor Terry Speed has been awarded the 2012 Thomson Reuters Citation Award in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. view more

Credit: Walter and Eliza Hall Institute

Walter and Eliza Hall Institute researcher Professor Terry Speed was today awarded the 2012 Thomson Reuters Citation Award in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

The award, which was presented at the National Press Club in Canberra, acknowledges that research published by Professor Speed has been cited, on average, more than that of other Australian researchers in the fields of biochemistry and molecular biology in the past decade.

Professor Speed is one of the worldʼs leading bioinformaticians, using mathematics and statistics to solve complex biological problems. He has developed new techniques for analysing data with applications to a broad range of biological fields including infection, immunity, inherited human diseases and cancer.

Professor Speed, who heads the instituteʼs Bioinformatics division, said he was delighted to receive the award. "The honour is not just to me but to many people, because all of the research recognised by this award was performed jointly with students, postdocs or colleagues," he said.

"I am grateful to them all for their essential contributions. As the award reflects how many times our work has been mentioned in academic publications, it is pleasing to know that our research has contributed to advancing scientific knowledge in many areas."

The director of the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, Professor Doug Hilton, said Professor Speedʼs success in bioinformatics research was due, in large part, to his pioneering approach to the field. "Terry has always worked in close collaboration with biomedical scientists," Professor Hilton said. "This has allowed his research to address the real challenges of experimental biology.

"Many of the techniques developed by Terry and his colleagues are now standard practice in biomedical laboratories around the world. Knowing the care taken by Terry to ensure his research generates practical and useful outcomes for research, it is not surprising to learn that his work is so highly referred to by other researchers."

Professor Speed was one of 12 Australian researchers to receive citation awards today. He follows on from Professor Suzanne Cory of the instituteʼs Molecular Genetics of Cancer division, who was the citation awardee for biochemistry and molecular biology in 2008, the last time the awards were made in Australia by Thomson Reuters (then Thomson Scientific).

The high regard in which Professor Speedʼs research is held can be seen by his many awards including the inaugural National Health and Medical Research Council Achievement Award for Excellence in Health and Medical Research in 2007, the Australian Government Centenary Medal in 2001, the Outstanding Applications Paper award from the American Statistical Association in 2004, and the Statistical Society of Australiaʼs Pitman Medal in 2002.

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