Around the universities

Cate Swannell
Med J Aust || doi: 10.5694/mja15.1102C3
Published online: 2 November 2015

Two University of Sydney medical academics have been named in The Australian Financial Review and Westpac 100 Women of Influence Awards for 2015. Associate Professor Lisa Harvey from Sydney Medical School and the Kolling Institute, was named in the global category, and Associate Professor Sydney Ch’ng from the Royal Prince Alfred Institute of Academic Surgery, was named in the innovation category. Professor Harvey is a physiotherapist clinician and researcher with more than 20 years’ experience in clinical trials on the effectiveness of physiotherapy interventions to assist people with spinal cord injuries. She teaches both nationally and internationally, and has been the recipient of numerous grants and scholarships. Professor Ch’ng is also affiliated with the Departments of Plastic Surgery, Head & Neck Surgery and Melanoma & Surgical Oncology at RPAH, the Chris O’Brien Lifehouse and Concord Hospitals. As well as being the research lead for plastic surgery at RPAH and on the Education Committee of the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons, Associate Professor Ch’ng is a mentor and advocate for young female doctors looking to pursue a career in surgery.

Monash University’s Professor Christina Mitchell, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences and Academic Vice-President has won the 2015 Lemberg Medal, announced by the Australian Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB.) The Lemberg medal is awarded to an individual who has demonstrated excellence in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and who has made significant contributions to the scientific community. Professor Mitchell is a distinguished member of the ASBMB. Professor Mitchell’s work for the last 20 years has focused on characterising the function of unknown genes that regulate cell proliferation and growth and, when mutated or deleted, lead to human disease. Recently, her laboratory discovered that one of the 4-phosphatase family members, INPP4B, functions as a tumour suppressor in breast cancer, where its loss occurs most frequently in aggressive basal-like subtype breast cancer and may therefore represent a breast cancer prognostic marker.

The University of Queensland’s Professor Maree Smith and the company founded on the ground-breaking pain drug she developed have won awards at the AusBiotech 2015 Conference. The Johnson & Johnson Innovation 2015 Industry Excellence Awards recognise individuals and organisations that have made a significant contribution to the biotechnology industry and continue to make a difference to the growth of the bio-economy. Spinifex Pharmaceuticals, a company founded by UQ’s commercialisation company UniQuest in 2015, was successful in the Australian Company of the Year category. Professor Smith, the inventor of Spinifex’s lead drug candidate for chronic pain, took out the Industry Leadership Award which recognises passion, enthusiasm and commitment to the industry.

Griffith University’s Dr Andrew Pearson has been awarded a Citation for Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning from the Australian Government. Dr Pearson designs, delivers and convenes courses, implements innovative co-curricular processes, manages specialist learning environments and provides academic leadership as the First Year Coordinator in the School of Medical Science. In addition, Dr Pearson has also been recognised for his development and implementation of a suite of curricular and co-curricular strategies designed to improve readiness for learning by identifying and redressing potential barriers to success.

Seye Abimbola, a PhD student at The George Institute for Global Health and the University of Sydney, has been named as editor-in-chief of a new journal by the renowned British Medical Journal dedicated to global health. BMJ Global Health will be an open access, online journal dedicated to publishing high-quality peer-reviewed content relevant to those involved in global health, such as policy makers, funders, researchers, clinicians and, crucially, frontline health care workers. A medically qualified public health specialist, Seye spent 7 years working to deliver health services and strengthen health systems in Nigeria.

Professor Susan Gordon has been appointed as the inaugural Chair in Restorative Care in South Australia at Flinders University. Professor Gordon commenced practice as a physiotherapist at the Royal Adelaide Hospital before spending 20 years working in several regional SA communities across public and private practice settings before joining James Cook University in 2006. Her research interests include musculoskeletal practice, focusing on cervical spondylosis, subacromial impingement, chronic low back pain and heterotopic ossification.

The Australian National University Medical School has honoured retiring Professor Guan Chong by appointing him as Distinguished Clinical Professor. Professor Chong was the foundation Professor of Surgery when the Medical School was established in 2004. He was the driving force behind the surgery curriculum at the ANU Medical School, and he later established a weekly surgical masterclass.

  • Cate Swannell



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