Maria Liaskos

veski inspiring women fellow
veski inspiring women STEM sidebyside participant

La Trobe University

In 2015, an inaugural veski inspiring women fellowship was awarded to Associate Professor Maria Liaskos from the Hudson Institute of Medical Research’s Centre for Innate Immunity and Infectious Diseases to continue the momentum of her current research program.

She was appointed Senior Lecturer and Group Leader within the College of Science, Health and Engineering at La Trobe University in 2016.

Associate Professor Liaskos, who previously secured ARC funding and received an NHMRC grant while on maternity leave, has recently returned to the lab part-time.

Maria is examining the mechanisms of immune suppression during Helicobacter infection, a bacterium in the stomach affecting over three billion people worldwide, and the causative agent of gastric cancer.

By understanding the role of an immune-suppressing molecule in H. pylori infections and gastric cancer, Maria hopes to develop a novel bioassay to detect the onset of gastric cancer, and new treatments for antibiotic resistant H. pylori infections and gastric cancers.

“The veski inspiring women fellowship is enabling female researchers to continue progressing their careers while raising young children,” Maria said.

“It is a visionary fellowship scheme and I am honoured to be a part of it.”

The veski inspiring women fellowship is giving Maria more ‘hands’ in the lab by funding a research assistant and PhD student to progress the research while she works part-time.

This is vital to Maria as her research team has been reduced due to career interruptions and having to decline the supervision of PhD students. With the veski support, Mary can now foster the next generation of researchers.

Maria has two children, and by acting as a role model to younger women interested in a career in STEM, Maria is working to affect cultural change, proving that women can have leadership positions, successful STEM careers, flexible work hours, a strong support network and still be great mothers.