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After 20 years in prison, an Australian mother convicted of killing her four children has been pardoned based on the analysis of a Spanish scientist. Prof Carola García de Vinuesa‘s research successfully raised «reasonable doubt» by suggesting that the deaths were linked to rare congenital abnormalities. Kathleen Folbigg, the convicted Australian woman, was found guilty in 2003 of murdering three of her children and involuntarily manslaughter of the fourth. However, a lengthy investigation led by Spanish immunologist Carola García de Vinuesa established «reasonable doubt» regarding the convictions, leading to her release from prison.
Professor Carola Vinuesa was born in Spain and obtained a medical degree at the University Autónoma (Madrid) in 1993. She undertook specialist clinical training in the UK and was awarded a PhD by the University of Birmingham in the year 2000.
Carola currently is Principal Group Leader at The Francis Crick institute (Crick) in London and Director of the China Australia Centre of Personalised Immunology at Shanghai Renji Hospital, Jiaotong University.
Prior to her work with the Crick, Carola was Professor of Immunology at the Australian National University and Director of the Centre of Personalised Immunology, a National Health and Medical Research Council Centre for Research Excellence, from 2014 to 2021.
Professor Vinuesa has had an outstanding career which is marked by numerous accolades and science related prizes including:
- Following commencement with Crick, Carola was awarded a Royal Society Wolfson Fellowship;
- Recipient of a Viertel Fellowship – a prestigious award available for continuing medical research studies in Australia;
- the Biogen-Idec Spain 2007 Prize;
- the Science Minister’s Prize for Australian Life Scientist of the year (2008);
- the Gootschalk Medal of the Australian Academy of Sciences (2009);
- the Ramaciotti medal (2014) and the CSL Young Florey Medal (2015);
- elected Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science (2015);
- elected Fellow of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences (2020); and
- elected Fellow of the prestigious Royal Society (2022)
Professor Carola García de Vinuesa has her own wikipedia page.
News in the media (Australia):
- ABC video: Scientist’s research led to second inquiry that resulted in Folbigg’s release
- SMH news: How breakthroughs in science tipped the scales in Folbigg’s favour
News in the media (Spain):
- Diario El País: Australia indulta gracias al análisis de una científica española a la madre condenada por matar a sus cuatro hijos
- Entrevista en RNE Radio: Carola Vinuesa: «Kathleen Folbigg me ha dado las gracias»
Article written by SRAP members Dr. Ángel López-Sánchez (Macquarie University), Prof Luis Salvador-Carulla (University of Canberra) and Prof. Elisa Martínez-Marroquín (University of Canberra).