ASMR Medical Research Week® May 30  – June 7 2019

The week is a flagship activity for The Australian Society for Medical Research, and a major highlight of the Australian health and medical research calendar, bringing the message of the benefits of health and medical research to the Australian public.

This annual event occurs in the first full week in June and features the ASMR medalist tour, public outreach events (including cinema events, meet a scientist dinners and community lectures), career events for high school and tertiary students, schools visits, an on-line schools quiz, scientific meetings and professional development programmes for medical researchers held across the country, with the range of events continuing to grow every year.

Each year the Society awards the ASMR Medal to an eminent stakeholder in the international medical research community for achievements in raising awareness. The ASMR medalists tour Australia, addressing audiences at dinners across the country and the National Press Club in Canberra.  The ASMR Medal is presented at the National Press Club event.

The tour promotes debate and discussion amongst scientists, politicians and the public, and attracts strong media interest.

Since 1998, an list of eminent scientists have generously shared their science, their vision and  their insights, inspiring, sometimes challenging and always informing, not only the health and medical research community but the community at large.


ASMR Medalist 2018

Professor Hope Jahren is an American geochemist, geobiologist and best-selling author.

She has been named one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people (2016) and one of Popular Science’s “Brilliant 10” young scientists (2005). Professor Jahren has also been awarded three Fulbright Scholarships, and currently holds the J. Tuzo Wilson professorship at the University of Oslo in Norway

Responsible for the first extraction and analysis of DNA found in paleosol and the first discovery of stable isotopes existing in a multicellular organism’s DNA, she is in fact an ‘Isotope detective”.

Spanning disciplinary boundaries, her research uses stable isotope to answer some of the world’s biggest science questions, including how prehistoric forests can inform us about climate change, how understanding the isotopic composition of plants can tell us about where our food comes from, and how much food, in particular sugar, we are consuming.

Professor Jahren is co-author of a study on the amount of corn in fast food.  Following corn’s chemical markers through processing or being eaten as cattle feed, the study found that, in the United States, on a chemical level, most fast food meat is derived from corn, with implications for human health.

In an interview with Time Magazine, she said, “Diet-related diseases are on the rise. If you’re suffering from them, your doctor is going to tell you that you’ve got to make informed decisions about what you eat. If you go and try to get this information in order to make these decisions, it’s pretty much impossible. You’ve got to wonder why you have to do nuclear chemistry to get a very simple answer on how your food is made.”

Identifying a connection between basic research into soil, plants and seeds and population health issues associated with excessive calorie and sugar consumption (obesity, type II diabetes, heart disease, cancer) is a clear example of not just the value of, but the necessity for, trans-disciplinary research.

Jahren’s work, as well as predicting the environmental impact of heavily fertilized, unsustainable crops on our food supply into the future, can give us an objective measure of how much sugar is actually consumed by a population, informing people and policy to improve health.

Professor Jahren will speak at Gala Dinners across the country and at the National Press Club of Australia.