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Wollongong City Council

Honouring Justin Yerbury

Monday 12 September 2022

Pioneering molecular biologist Professor Justin Yerbury AM will be honoured by Wollongong City Council by being presented the Keys to the City.

The honour was discussed at tonight’s Council meeting and will see Professor Yerbury join Richard Tognetti, Emma McKeon, Emma Tonegato, Nicole Beck, Cyrus Villanueva and Mat Campbell as recipients given Keys to the City over the past 10 years.

“The presentation of the Keys to the City is a way for Council to recognise an individual’s effort on behalf of our community,’’ Wollongong City Lord Mayor Councillor Gordon Bradbery AM said.

“Professor Yerbury is an inspiration to so many for his cutting-edge work about the pathology of Motor Neuron Disease. It’s so important the work he, and his research team are undertaking, as they develop a deeper understanding of the causes of cell dysfunction.

“Justin, and his team, through their research have contributed to the betterment and wellbeing of humanity.’’

The presentation of the Keys to the City follow Professor Yerbury’s recognition as Wollongong’s Citizen of the Year in the Australia Day Awards in 2019. He was also made a member of the Order of Australia in the 2020 Australia Day Honours for significant service to education and research in the field of biological sciences, and recently collected the 2022 University of NSW Eureka Prize for Scientific Research.

“Professor Yerbury is exactly the sort of citizen we want to celebrate in our city,’’ Cr Bradbery said.

“He is a leader in his field and the presentation of the Keys to the City recognises him as someone who is contributing to the greater good through his scientific achievements that focus on improving knowledge and the outlook for those diagnosed with MND.

“However, in addition to recognises his professional achievements, we’re also acknowledging his tenacity of spirit, his advocacy for those with disability and his determination not to let his own challenges prevent him from achieving. This really is something to be acknowledged and celebrated.’’

Council will now work with Professor Yerbury and his family on a time when a formal presentation to him will be made. The Key presented to Professor Yerbury is a ceremonial object, and will be accompanied by a reception by the Lord Mayor.