Six of the University of Melbourne’s leading medical researchers will take their work to the global stage, sharing in $3 million National Health and Medical Research Council funding. The UM researchers will collaborate with leading European and Californian scientists on prolific health problems including heart disease, stroke and breast cancer, and to learning more about lung health, child health, ageing and stem cells. The recipients are Professor Richard Sinnott, Department of Computing and Information Systems in the Melbourne School of Engineering, for work on genomics-based strategies for improved diagnosis and treatment of endocrine hypertension ($461 322); Professor Melissa Southey, Department of Pathology, for breast cancer risk after diagnostic gene sequencing ($471 281); Professor Shyamali Dharmage, Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, for ageing lungs in European cohorts ($470 342); Associate Professor Sharon Goldfeld, at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, for models of child health appraised ($321 054); Professor Graham Giles (Honorary), based at the Cancer Council Victoria, for LIFEPATH: life-course biological pathways underlying social differences in healthy ageing ($470 466); Professor Andrew Elefanty (Honorary), based at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, for a suite of engineered human pluripotent stem cell lines to facilitate the generation of haematopoietic stem cells ($881 221).
Professor Jenny Martin from the University of Queensland’s Institute for Molecular Bioscience is a finalist for a Pride of Australia Medal in the Inspiration category. Across 10 categories, the medals recognise individuals who have made Australia a better place. As a member of the National Health and Medical Research Council Women in Health Sciences, Professor Martin has campaigned for gender equity on peer review panels for funding options and proposed part-time options. Professor Martin has received numerous awards and is a founding member of the Australian Academy of Science’s Science in Australia Gender Equity Forum steering committee.
Three James Cook University alumni have been given Chancellor’s Outstanding Alumnus awards. Professor Marc Shaw has made an outstanding contribution to tropical and geographical medicine in Australia and New Zealand, and also internationally through his research and workforce development. After working as a general practitioner in New Zealand for 15 years, he then became New Zealand’s first full-time travel medicine practitioner. Currently, he is Medical Director of Worldwise Travellers’ Health Centres in New Zealand, providing pre- and post-travel advice to travellers, while advising Australasian health professionals on current travel health information. Dr Suman Majumdar is an infectious diseases specialist, and senior fellow at the Burnet Institute in Melbourne. Dr Majumdar has conducted health programs in Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, Timor-Leste, China, India, Mexico, Swaziland and regions of the former Soviet Union, including work with Médecins Sans Frontières. Dr Dylan Morris is a resident medical officer at the Townsville Hospital and a Clinical Research Associate at the Queensland Research Centre for Peripheral Vascular Disease at James Cook University. He works as a full-time medical practitioner, and also contributes to ongoing clinical research on vascular disease. Dr Morris’s main research interests are in peripheral vascular disease, identifying ways to improve the prevention and management of cardiovascular disease.
Bond University has established a Tactical Research Unit “to investigate ways to enhance the health and performance of tactical personnel in military, law enforcement, fire-fighting and first responder organisations”. Dr Rob Orr and Dr Rod Pope will lead the team of researchers, building upon their extensive knowledge of collaborative research, practice and military service. In addition to a wide range of ongoing research programs, the unit has a number of new projects in the pipeline including looking at the differences between full-time military personnel and part-time reservists, using metabolic and musculoskeletal fitness as a predictor of injury during police academy training, and investigating the impact of structural fires on hydration in fire-fighters.
Two University of Sydney professors have been awarded grants totaling more than 4.5 million dollars to further their research into type 1 diabetes, a chronic disease affecting more than 120 000 Australians. The grants were awarded to Professor Philip O’Connell, Director of the Centre for Transplant and Renal Research at the Westmead Millennium Institute and Director of Transplant Medicine and the Clinical Islet Transplant Program at Westmead Hospital; and Professor Alicia Jenkins, Professor of Diabetes and Vascular Medicine at the University of Sydney. Professor O’Connell’s research focuses on human islet transplantation which takes healthy insulin-producing islet cells from a donor pancreas and infuses them into the liver of a patient with type 1 diabetes. Professor Jenkins’s research concentrates on preventing vision loss in type 1 diabetes patients, as damage to the back of the eye is a common complication of the disease, and can lead to blindness.
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