World-renowned physiotherapist and La Trobe University Professor, Kay Crossley, has been awarded Victoria’s highest scientific honour

World-renowned physiotherapist and La Trobe University Professor, Kay Crossley, has been awarded Victoria’s highest scientific honour, today receiving the 2020 Victoria Prize for Science and Innovation in the Life Sciences category.

Professor Crossley received the prestigious $50,000 prize for her outstanding contributions in advancing research focused on young people with early-onset osteoarthritis, as well as her success in demonstrating the effectiveness of exercise in managing hip and knee pain.

Her research has led to optimised identification, treatment and prevention of musculoskeletal conditions and could prevent patients from spending millions of dollars on unnecessary and risky procedures.

Professor Crossley, whose 35-year career began as a sports physiotherapist at the Olympic Park Sports Medicine Centre, said she felt proud and excited that her work had been acknowledged with the Victoria Prize.

“I am committed to reducing the burden of hip and knee injuries, pain and osteoarthritis in younger and older Victorians, and to training and mentoring the next generation of researchers,” Professor Crossley said.

“There is no higher honour for scientists in Victoria and I am humbled to join the list of wonderful Victoria Prize recipients. I hope to use this award to promote women scientists in Victoria and support them to achieve their potential.”

Now the Director of La Trobe University’s Sport and Exercise Medical Research Centre (LASEM), Professor Crossley mentors and supports colleagues to achieve their goals. She has led the Centre to produce 200 research papers and attract more than $3 million in grants per year.

The 2020 Victoria Prize for Science and Innovation was presented in partnership between the State Government and veski – a funding body launched in 2004 to support Victorian scientific innovation.

La Trobe Vice-Chancellor, Professor John Dewar AO, congratulated Professor Crossley on her remarkable achievement.

“Being amongst the top scientists in Victoria takes an enormous amount of hard work, passion, talent and determination,” Professor Dewar said.

“Professor Crossley is not just an outstanding leader, she is a true pioneer of cutting-edge physiotherapy research. As a University that aims to ensure a healthy, safe and equitable life course for everyone, La Trobe is extremely proud of Professor Crossley, and the global impact her work continues to have.”

La Trobe early-career researcher Dr Caitlin Jenvey was also recognised at the awards, receiving an $18,000 Victoria Fellowship in the Life Sciences category.

Dr Jenvey is leading innovative research in the fight against anthelmintic resistance to improve animal welfare in the Australian livestock industry. Dr Jenvey has developed a novel laboratory-based test to identify worm-resistant sheep.

As part of her fellowship, Dr Jenvey will spend six weeks at the University of Glasgow where she will learn how to transfer this breakthrough technology into a stable, user-friendly and cost-effective point-of-care (POC) test for Victorian farmers.