Sister of Mercy joins Queensland Greats list
A PIONEERING scientist, bioethicist and educator, the late Sr. Regis Mary Dunne RSM has joined the Queensland Greats list, announced today by Prime Minister Annastacia Palaszczuk.
Born in Toowoomba, Sr. Dunne has made countless contributions to medical research, worked for Mater Pathology for over 30 years and was the Founding Director of the Queensland Bioethics Center.
Educated by the Sisters of Mercy at St Saviors Primary School in Toowoomba, she went on to study at All Hallows School in Brisbane.
After school, Sr Dunne trained and worked as a teacher, teaching in the two schools she attended and specializing in the subjects of home science, chemistry, physiology and religion.
In 1947/48 she entered the novitiate of the Sisters of Mercy in Nudgee and in 1949 was appointed to the laboratory of the Mater public hospital, undertaking training as a medical laboratory scientist through part-time studies at QUT while working full time as a trainee biochemist.
After completing her laboratory training, Sr. Dunne pioneered the development of a chromosome analysis procedure which led to the establishment of a cytogenetic diagnostic service.
Sr Dunne has been invited to lecture at University of Queensland medical students in microbiology and cytogenetics.
Ethics was another of Sr. Dunne’s passions and in 1981 the Queensland Bioethics Center was established by the Archbishop of Brisbane Francis Rush with Sr. Dunne as its first director.
Because of her extensive knowledge of the subject, Sr. Dunne has served on numerous national, state and local ethics committees and advisory boards.
She has also served on numerous hospital and university ethics committees: Royal Brisbane Women’s Hospital, Holy Spirit, Queensland University of Technology, Griffith University, The University of Queensland, Queensland Emergency Services and the Catholic Bishops Medico-Moral Committee, among others. .
In 2007, Sr Dunne was awarded the Order of Australia for service to medicine, in particular for the promotion and support of bioethics in medical research and as a researcher in genetics.
Sr. Dunne, passed away in April of last year after a life and revolutionary contribution to global science, health care and ethics. She has proven to be a source of inspiration for many young scientists, researchers, students and healthcare professionals.
A total of 116 people and 17 institutions have now been honored as Queensland Greats since the awards were launched in 2001.