Updated on 5 December 2012
Professor Maree Smith - Eminent pain researcher and winner of the 2012 Life Sciences Queensland (LSQ) industry award for excellence
Eminent pain researcher Professor Maree Smith is a very good example of an academician, who turned towards the industry in order to bring her research to reality. Professor Smith, who is behind the formation of successful start-ups, QRxPharma and Spinifex Pharmaceutical in Australia, has been awarded the 2012 Life Sciences Queensland (LSQ) industry award for excellence.
This award is presented to individuals who have made significant contributions to the performance and success of the Queensland life sciences industry and demonstrated a breadth of impact across the sector in Queensland. Talking about the award, she said that, "I feel deeply honored to have received the LSQ Industry Award for Excellence in 2012 jointly with Dr Jim Alyward (Peplin), as voted by my peers in the industry. I sincerely thank all of the people who have helped me throughout my career."
Early life and education
Professor Smith grew up in Brisbane, the sub-tropical capital city of Queensland, the second largest state by land mass (nearly seven times the size of the UK). She feels fortunate to be the eldest of a family of nine children with loving parents, who encouraged their children to acquire good education. She recalls, "I enjoyed primary school and high school and was an enthusiastic netball player in inter-school competitions. I also enjoyed backyard games of cricket, rounders and red rover with my siblings and the children of neighborhood families on the south side of Brisbane."
She studied for a Bachelor of Pharmacy degree on the St Lucia campus of the the University of Queensland (UQ) and registered as a pharmacist in Queensland. During her undergraduate program in pharmacy at UQ, she was inspired by one of her lecturers, Mr Bill Harris, to do a postgraduate honors in the field of bioanalysis and clinical pharmacokinetics. Professor Smith remembers, "Mr Harris introduced me to my first mentor, Emeritus Professor Mervyn Eadie, from whom I learned a lot about clinical studies, pharmacokinetics, academic writing and collaboration with industry."
Professor Eadie in turn introduced professor Smith to her second mentor, Emeritus Professor Tess Cramond, a pioneer and leader in the pain management field in Australia. "From Tess, I not only gained many pearls of wisdom and knowledge about clinical pain management but also about various aspects of professional life. These included the nature of setting and achieving stretch goals through a combination of ‘out of the box' thinking, good planning, focus, hard work and collaboration with industry." Professor Eadie and Professor Cramond are two role models who stand out for the pain researcher of Australia. She mentions that both of them cared deeply about their patients and their students, and were visionary leaders.