A large body of his work has involved exploring issues related to sudden unexpected death at all stages of life, particularly in infancy and childhood.
Initially graduating at the University of Tasmania in 1978, he moved to Adelaide as a paediatric pathologist after postgraduate training in Canada and was awarded his Doctor of Medicine and Master of Medical Science at the University of Adelaide in the 1990s.
Professor Byard is currently the George Richard Marks Chair of Pathology at the University and also a Senior Specialist Forensic Pathologist at Forensic Science SA.
Widely published, his passion for research, mentoring and overall contribution to his profession has resulted in numerous awards and appointments. He is a Foundation Fellow of forensic pathology in colleges in the United Kingdom and Australia, and is a Registered Expert with the International Criminal Court in The Hague.
In 2004, Professor Byard was awarded the Public Service Medal (PSM) for outstanding public service to paediatric pathology and earlier this year he was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for distinguished service to medicine in the field of forensic pathology as an academic, researcher and practitioner, and through contributions to professional committees and organisations.
“I have always had a commitment to academic forensic pathology and feel that we have an obligation to take messages learnt in the mortuary back to the community, so that many of these tragic events can be prevented,” says Professor Byard.
“This is particularly so with babies and children. For this reason I have worked for many years in establishing ‘preventive pathology’ as a recognised field.”
Community work also takes up much of his time through involvement in numerous committees and his role as medical advisor to SIDS and KIDS SA.
He was on the disaster victim identification teams after the 2002 Bali bombings and in Thailand after the 2004 tsunami, services that earned him the Humanitarian Overseas Service Medal and the Australian Federal Police Operations Medal.
story by Ian Williams