Patricia Verne Kailis

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Patricia Verne Kailis, AM, OBE, FTSE (born 19 August 1933) is an Australian business woman, geneticist and neurologist noted for her work in genetic counseling for neurological and neuromuscular disorders.[1]

Life and career[edit]

Patricia Kailis was born Patricia Verne Hurse in Castlemaine, Victoria.[2] She attended Presbyterian Ladies College in Melbourne and then studied medicine at Melbourne University.[3] In 1958, she moved to Perth to work at Royal Perth, Princess Margaret and King Edward Memorial hospitals.[4]

In 1960, she married Michael Kailis and the couple moved to Dongara, Western Australia, in 1961 to establish a crayfish factory. Here, Kailis became the local general practitioner.[4] The couple also established themselves in ship building, the prawning industry in Exmouth, and the pearling industry in Broome.[4]

In 1969 Kailis, her husband, and their four children (Maria, George, Amanda and Alex) moved back to Perth. Between 1970 and 1995 Kailis held honorary positions in neurology and genetics at Royal Perth Hospital.[2] During this time, Kailis introduced a program for predictive testing of Huntington's disease and was involved in research into motor neuron disease and muscular dystrophy.[3][4] In 1978, Kailis successfully contained the spread of disease in the family's pearl farms by insisting on hygienic practices in the processing of the oysters.[3] In 1999, on the death of her husband Michael, Kailis became the Governing Director of MG Kailis Group of Companies.[2]

Awards and honours[edit]

In 1979, Kailis was awarded the Order of the British Empire for her contributions in the fields of carrier detection and the detection of inherited diseases.[5] In 1996 she was named a Member of the Order of Australia for her service to medicine as a genetic counselor for neurological and neuromuscular disorders to the Human Genetics Societies of WA, the Royal Perth Hospital and to Rocky Bay Inc for over 20 years.[1] That same year, Kailis became a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering.[2]

In 2001, the Australian Government awarded Kailis the Centenary Medal for service to medicine and the community.[6]

In 2010, Rocky Bay Inc opened the Patricia Kailis Centre in Cockburn Central. The Centre is dedicated to Kailis for her support of Rocky Bay over four decades. It provides therapy and support for families living with disabilities.


  1. ^ a b "It's an Honour - Honours - Search Australian Honours". 1996-06-11. Retrieved 2014-04-04.
  2. ^ a b c d "Kailis, Patricia Verne - Biographical entry - Encyclopedia of Australian Science". Retrieved 2014-04-04.
  3. ^ a b c "Patricia Kailis - rural doctor, genetic researcher and pearl queen". Retrieved 2015-02-28.
  4. ^ a b c d Hosking, Julie, 'Pearls & wisdom', West Weekend, November 16–17, 2013.
  5. ^ [1]
  6. ^ "It's an Honour - Honours - Search Australian Honours". 2001-01-01. Retrieved 2014-04-04.