Suzanne Cory on Women in Science: International Differences
  Suzanne Cory     Biography    
Recorded: 15 Jan 2003

Well, I think it’s changed over the years in all countries. In Australia for example, when I was a student there were very few women at the top of their professional careers in science. Indeed as soon as you were married you lost your permanent job status and became a temporary job. And the salaries for women were automatically far lower than the job, the salaries of men in the same job. So that was in the fifties and even in the early sixties. So things have changed a lot since then. They’ve changed in Australia, they’ve changed in the U.K., in Europe, and they’ve changed in the U.S.

So I think that at least in western society there are many opportunities for women in science. It will always still be difficult, but I think, as I’ve said before, if you commit, you can do it!

Suzanne Cory, is currently Director of The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research (WEHI), joint head (with Professor Jerry Adams) of the Molecular Genetics of Cancer division at WEHI, and a professor of Medical Biology at the University of Melbourne.

Dr. Cory, a biochemist and molecular oncologist, has focused her research interests in immunology and cancer development. Her current research on the Bcl-2 gene family, and how cells decide to live or die (apoptosis), will lead to the knowledge to develop specific therapeutics for cancer and other diseases.

Dr. Cory earned her PhD in 1968 from the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, working on RNA sequencing with Nobelists Fred Sanger and Francis Crick. While at Cambridge, she met and later married scientist Jerry Adams. Following their post-doctoral work and beginning research partnership at the University of Geneva, Cory and Adams moved to Australia and The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research in 1971. Their work at WEHI helped introduce gene cloning technology in Australia. In the 1980s they discovered the genetic mutation that leads to Burkett’s Lymphoma.

Suzanne Cory was invited to speak at the 1970 Symposium, and has attended many meetings and Symposia at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory since then. Dr. Cory has received numerous awards and honors, including the Companion of the Order of Australia, Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science, and Fellow of the Royal Society. She is Deputy Chairman of Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, and a director of biotechnology company Bio21 Australia Limited.