Professor Glenda Halliday from the University of Sydney has been named as 2022 New South Wales Scientist of the Year, in recognition of her work identifying and understanding dementia and degenerative motor syndromes.
Professor Halliday has dedicated her career to investigating how our brain is affected both structurally and biochemically by neurodegenerative diseases.
Her work has had a profound contribution to improving the lives of those with Parkinson’s, dementia and other neurodegenerative diseases.
By combining the disciplines of biochemistry, genetics, and neuroimaging, Professor Halliday’s research has changed international diagnostic criteria and recommendations for adequate identification and management of patients.
Professor Halliday said: “I am very honoured to receive this award and pay tribute to all the researchers who have worked with me to improve the diagnosis and management of those with neurodegenerative diseases. This award would not be possible without them.”
Professor Halliday has also used detailed research methods that revealed more extensive neurodegeneration in Parkinson's and related syndromes than previously thought.
The novel technique for neuropathology involves 3D reconstruction that makes it possible to accurately determine volumes of brain nuclei and numbers of neurons and the glial cells that support and surround them – important indicators of brain health and disease progression.
She also founded the Sydney Brain Bank, a biobanking facility that collects and manages brain and spinal cord tissue for research into disorders of the brain and mind.
Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor, currently Acting Vice-Chancellor, Professor Annamarie Jagose, said: “This is a well-deserved recognition of Professor Halliday’s vital contributions to brain health and science.”
“Professor Halliday has worked to address important scientific questions about Parkinson’s disease, alcohol toxicity, dementia and motor neurodegenerative disease. Her direct influence on clinical practice for these disorders is a remarkable achievement with major health implications for both individuals and society.”
I am very honoured to receive this award and pay tribute to all the researchers who have worked with me to improve the diagnosis and management of those with neurodegenerative diseases.
NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet said Professor Halliday was named Scientist of the Year for the global impact of her work.
“Neurodegenerative diseases touch so many of our lives, often with devastating consequences, and that’s why the impact of Glenda’s work cannot be understated,” Mr Perrottet said.
“The Premier’s Prizes for Science & Engineering are a chance to celebrate the work of the state’s leading science and engineering researchers and recognise their contributions to the economy, environment and wellbeing of people in our State.”
Professor Halliday is a Research Fellow in the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC). She is a member of the Brain and Mind Centre at the University of Sydney.
She was made a member of the Australian Academy of Science in 2021 and a member of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences in 2014.
The NSW Premier’s Prizes for Scientist of the Year is awarded annually to an outstanding individual who has made a significant contribution to the advancement of science which has benefitted the people of NSW. Evolutionary virologist Professor Edward Holmes from the Sydney Medical School was named NSW Scientist of the Year in 2020 for his research into emerging viruses, including SARS-CoV-2, hepatitis C, HIV, influenza, West Nile, dengue, Zika and Ebola.