WEHI embarks on a new era of scientific discovery

WEHI embarks on a new era of scientific discovery

Illuminate newsletter index page, summer-2020-21
December 2020

Professor Guillaume Lessene
Professor Guillaume Lessene

Collaboration, long-term discovery and a supportive culture are at the heart of what makes WEHI brighter together.

As the COVID-19 pandemic spread around the world in 2020, it shone a light on the essential role of medical research in our community.

At WEHI, researchers have risen to the challenge, building on their rich history of research in virology, immunology and infectious diseases, and applying this to COVID-19.

Responding to the health needs of the community is something WEHI researchers have been doing since the institute was established in 1915.

Director Professor Doug Hilton AO said, with the whole community talking about health and medical research, it was a perfect opportunity to redefine the public image of WEHI and its work.

“We want the community to know about the exciting fundamental discoveries we are making, the new treatments and therapies we are developing to make a difference in people’s lives, and the truly visionary people with bold and bright ideas who are working with us.


We also want them to know that behind those achievements is a network of collaboration that makes these discoveries possible,” Professor Hilton said.

Brighter together

WEHI brings together the brightest minds from around the world to collaborate, innovate and shine a light on some of humanity’s biggest health challenges.

The rebrand formally adopts the abbreviation WEHI, which is how most of our staff, collaborators and supporters have been referring to us for years.

Professor Hilton said the new image and name better reflected the WEHI that its staff, students and supporters knew.

“What I love about this new way of representing WEHI is that it pays tribute to our heritage, while also bringing a contemporary look that reflects the dynamic medical research we are known for,” Professor Hilton said.


“WEHI isn’t just a place where discoveries are made, it’s where scientific theories are debated, investigated, pursued and celebrated. This is how we will continue to make impactful discoveries into the future.

“Our tagline – brighter together – encapsulates what I felt when working alongside Don MetcalfNic Nicola and their team, who collaborated for more than 30 years to discover and characterise the blood cell hormones called colony stimulating factors that have saved hundreds of thousands of lives.”

Community support

WEHI board president Jane Hemstritch said the new look would stand the Institute in good stead for the future.

“WEHI is exceptional, not just for its age or its history of medical discoveries, but also for its unrelenting drive to innovate and be the best it can be,” she said. “We wanted to create a brand that reflects the innovation and creativity we’re known for and I think we’ve achieved that.”

Supporters have welcomed and applauded the new look, including Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt who said it symbolised WEHI’s commitment to evolving to meet the needs of the medical research community into the future.

“WEHI is one of the world’s great medical research institutes and is fundamental in developing new treatments to address global health challenges. I look forward to its continued medical breakthroughs that will provide relief and hope to many Australians into the future,” Minister Hunt said.

Collaboration and long-term discovery

WEHI has a 100-year history of achievement, from discoveries in polio and influenza that informed the development of vaccines, to fundamental immunology research that is informing immunotherapy and COVID-19 research, to discoveries about cell death that led to new anticancer drugs.

Fundamental to those successes were collaborative teams – within WEHI, across research institutes, universities, hospitals and industry – and the support of long-term partnerships with donors, consumers and government.

WEHI was unique in its commitment to collaboration and long-term discovery, Professor Hilton said.

“I love the fact that at WEHI you see 20-year-olds working alongside 40-year-olds, 60-year-olds and 80-year-olds, all from diverse backgrounds, each respected and valued for the work they do and the ideas they bring. It’s a long-term and passionate commitment to solve complex health problems in a wholehearted way. It’s something I feel truly sets us apart.”

Responding to COVID-19 

Professor Hilton said the COVID-19 pandemic had highlighted the essential role of medical research.

“Medical research is the path out of this pandemic and getting us back to a normal way of life,” he said.

“It’s been heartening to see the medical research community band together with universities, hospitals, industry, government and philanthropists, to respond to this health emergency. We are better and brighter when we work together – that’s something that is really at the heart of the WEHI ethos. The way the research community has responded to this pandemic is a wonderful example of the collaborative spirit we embody."

More information:

As part of WEHI’s new brand, you might have noticed our television commercials, which appeared on various commercial channels.

We also had billboards in shopping centres and on major freeways across a number of our capital cities. The aim of our advertising campaign was to raise WEHI’s profile and help people in the community better understand the research we are working on.  You can watch our television commercial below.

Super Content: 
Woman sitting at an outdoor cafe and smiling

We are medical researchers, serving the community for more than 100 years. 

[Play video]

Microscopy image of cells

Multi-disciplinary collaboration is a WEHI strength. 

We are capitalising on this by focusing on a defined set of challenges aligned with five key themes.

Animation still showing cells changing

Our biomedical animation team explains the discoveries made by scientists through 3D animation.