Ways to help
About us
Contact Us
Home >
Feb 2017
Trish Foundation contributes to first-ever discovery
Jun 2017
Researchers funded by the Trish Foundation making great progress
Dec 2017
Announcement by NHMRC
Jan 2018
2018 Round of Funding Four new Projects announced
Jun 2018
Exciting regrowth of nerve fibres
Jun 2018
Dr Merson secures $1 million from NHMRC
Jun 2018
Findings submitted for publication
Jan 2019
New Research Projects commencing 2019 announced

Professor Graeme Stewart AM


Professor Graeme Stewart AM, husband, father, grandfather, all round good guy and one of the world’s most eminent scientists.

When at University, Professor Stewart knew he wanted a career in Medicine that included a strong element of research.  His PhD was on the genetic factors that predispose to MS.  

“I was hooked on MS research at that early stage and have continued the search for the MS genes since,” says Professor Stewart.  

On 11th August 2011 Professor Stewart’s 35 year quest from PhD student to grandpa became a memorable day in the history of MS research.  Professor Stewart was one of five governance members of the International Multiple Sclerosis Genetics Consortium (IMSGC) and led the Australian and New Zealand contribution.   

Professor Stewart says funding from the Trish Foundation has for many years been central to the efforts in uncovering the genetic factors that contribute to the cause of MS and to working out how they do it.  

“In 2007, under the expert guidance of A/Prof David Booth in our group, we shared with colleagues in the USA and Sweden, the discovery of the second MS gene, IL7Rα,” Professor Stewart said.  “In 2009, as part of the ANZGene Consortium we were pleased to be involved with the discovery of two more MS genes.”  

“Now, in 2011 we have been part of the international consortium that published recently in the scientific journal Nature the discovery of 57 MS genes. Our challenge now is to uncover exactly how these genes are contributing to MS and design new and better treatments based on this,” Professor Stewart continues.  “At each step, in our laboratories at Westmead, funds from the Trish Foundation have been essential.”  

Professor Stewart’s life’s work of expertise, dedication, hard work and passion has reaped amazing rewards for Professor Stewart, his colleagues and for people living with MS.  This modest man deserves all the kudos which comes his way.  

Having spent the early years of his career in Sydney, Professor Stewart worked for two years at Stanford University in California.  

“I returned from Stanford in 1980 to head up the Department of Clinical Immunology and Allergy at the then newly opened Westmead Hospital where I have remained since,” said Professor Stewart.  “In the mid 1990’s my research efforts had grown to the stage that I formed the Institute for Immunology and Allergy Research (IIAR).”  

In 1996, the IIAR became one of the four founding research groups of the Westmead Millennium Institute, now the second largest research institute in NSW and one of the six largest in Australia.  

“Westmead Hospital has become the largest teaching hospital in NSW and, with addition of the Children’s Hospital at Westmead, I have seen the Westmead Campus become a major force in medicine and medical research in Australia and internationally,” Professor Stewart explains.  “It has been a source of great satisfaction to contribute to the development of such an international resource in the western suburbs of Sydney where I grew up.”  

Married to his soul mate and best friend Margaret, who is a Dermatologist, for more than 40 years, Professor Stewart is proud of his children Sam and Jessica, both Law graduates, who no doubt take after their Mum and Dad, being smart and hard working.  Sam is a management consultant with BCG and Jessica works in Aboriginal Health in which she is completing a PhD.  Sam and his wife Gillian presented Graeme and Margaret with a source of much joy, their first grandchild, Toby now aged 17 months.

When not spending time with his precious family or at work at Westmead, when looking for Professor Stewart, one would find him in the ocean, swimming for the sheer pleasure of catching waves or competing in ocean swimming races along the NSW coast and overseas. 

A 'typical working day' does not exist for Professor Stewart, but he says almost every day involves some aspect of patient care and some time talking about research.  

Professor Stewart says anyone who knows someone with MS knows where his passion and drive comes from.  “I want to be there on the day when we go to our MS Clinic and announce that a cure has been found.”  

One has the feeling this skilled, hard-working scientist who has given his working life to MS research, will greatly enjoy that day of celebration.  

Trish Foundation & MS Research Australia Working together to find a cure for MS
Copyright © Trish Multiple Sclerosis Research Foundation. All rights reserved.