Professor Murray David Norris was appointed a Member (AM) of the Order of Australia, in the Queen's Birthday 2015 Honours List, for significant service to medical research as a molecular biologist and through pioneering development of treatments for cancer in children.
Professor Norris graduated with a Bachelor of Science (Biochemistry) from ANU in 1977 where he was also a resident of Burton & Garran Hall. He also went on to complete a Masters of Applied Statistics from NSWIT and a PhD from UNSW.
Professor Norris's research interests involve the use of molecular biology to improve the diagnosis and treatment of children with cancer. He holds a particular interest in the early detection of leukaemia relapse, and, in elucidating the mechanisms responsible for conferring resistance to anticancer drugs in childhood malignancies. Leukaemia is the most common childhood cancer, representing approximately 35% of all cases.
A major goal of his research is high throughput screening of small molecule libraries and the development of molecular targeted therapies. Professor Norris was one of the first three scientists to staff the Children's Cancer Institute (Randwick, NSW) when its research laboratories opened in 1984. Professor Norris is now Deputy Director of the institute (since 2000), and head of the Molecular Diagnostic team. He is Director of the Drug Discovery Centre for Childhood Cancer (2010+), and Chief Investigator in the Translational Cancer Research Centre Grant, Cancer Institute New South Wales, to establish the Kids Cancer Alliance (2011).
He is member of numerous international societies and associations in biochemistry, cancer and medical research, and cell biology. He is also currently the President Elect of the International Advances in Neuroblastoma Research Association.
Professor Norris has published over 100 peer-reviewed papers and is a regular reviewer for several national and international grant-funding bodies as well as numerous international journals. In addition to an established record of state and national grant-funded research, the quality of his work has been recognised by a number of awards, including the Premier's Award for Excellence in Translational Cancer Research (2012). Professor Norri is also a recipient of the National Health and Medical Research Council's 'Ten of the Best' awards (2012).