Around the universities

Cate Swannell
Med J Aust || doi: 10.5694/mja16.1502C4
Published online: 15 February 2016

Emeritus Professor Alan Lopez, from the University of Melbourne, has been named among the top 10 most influential academics worldwide, in a new analysis of thousands of academic papers by Thomson-Reuters. The World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds 2015 report is based on the number of cited research papers an academic published from 2003 to 2013. The report also includes a ranking of the “hottest researchers”, whose recently published papers were cited at extraordinarily high levels over a short period of time. Professor Alan Lopez, who directs the Global Burden of Disease group of researchers in the School of Population and Global Health within the University’s Medicine, Health and Dentistry Sciences Faculty, was ranked ninth in the world on this list, the only Australian to feature. He published 16 highly-cited papers between 2013 and 2014. Overall, Australia ranked fifth, behind the US, UK, Germany and China with 103 highly-cited researchers. The University of California System in the US was the leading university represented with 160 highly cited researchers, followed by Harvard University. The Australian medical researchers named in the report include Professor John Mattick (Garvan Institute); Professor Richard Simpson (La Trobe University); Professor Rinaldo Bellomo (Monash University); Professor John Forbes (University of Newcastle); Professor Timothy Hughes (University of Adelaide); Professor Henry Krum (Monash University), Professor Stephen McMahon (University of Sydney); Professor Bruce Neal (University of Sydney), Professor Mark Woodward (University of Sydney); Professor Paul Zimmet (Baker IDI); Professor Mark Smythe (QIMR); Professor Matthew Brown (University of Queensland); Professor David Evans (University of Queensland); Professor Nicholas Martin (QIMR); Professor Grant Montgomery (University of Queensland); Professor Peter Visscher (University of Queensland); Professor Ashley Bush (University of Melbourne); Professor Colin Masters (University of Melbourne); Professor Michael Berk (Deakin University); Professor Patrick McGorry (University of Melbourne); Professor Christos Pantelis (University of Melbourne); and, Professor Murat Yucel (Monash University).

Researchers from the Doherty Institute have collectively been awarded over half a million dollars in RMH Home Lottery Grants, including two at the highest level of funding available as part of the program. Professor Elizabeth Vincan, deputy section head of Molecular Microbiology and head of the Molecular Oncology Laboratory, along with Dr Toby Phesse who recently joined the Doherty Institute, received a $240 000 Project Grant for their study Mini-liver organoids, an innovative tool to understand oncogenic Wnt signalling and HBV infection. This project brings together an international team of scientists to establish tissue and tumour organoids — miniature organs grown in vitro — as tools for research and diagnostic purposes. Associate Professor Ben Cowie, Director of the World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Viral Hepatitis, was the recipient of $228 000 for his project titled Liver cancer prevention: linking viral hepatitis diagnosis, treatment and outcomes. Doctors Karen Laurie and Sheena Sullivan, both from the WHO Collaborating Centre for Reference and Research on Influenza, were each awarded $25 000 Grants in Aid for studies on respiratory syncytial virus and influenza vaccination in health care workers respectively, while PhD student, Dustin Flanagan also received a $25 000 Early Career Researcher grant to study a novel therapy for gastric cancer.

Bond University’s medical program is offering a new curriculum to medical students in 2016, retaining its status as the fastest pathway available to graduate as an intern eligible to practice medicine in Australia or New Zealand. The Faculty of Health Sciences and Medicine has transitioned its medical program from the former double undergraduate degree to a sequential Bachelors/Masters program, meaning the Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MB BS) will become a Bachelor of Medical Studies/Doctor of Medicine (MD) for new applicants enrolling from May 2016. The updated curriculum commenced on 11 January 2016, for current Bond medical students returning for their second, third and fourth year of the Medical program who will also graduate with an MD. Professor Peter Jones, Dean of Medicine at Bond University, said the move to the MD would reward Bond students with the level of qualification they deserved after the completion of an intense 14 semester medical program.

Professor Sandy Heriot, Director of Cancer Surgery at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, has been awarded the 2016 John Mitchell Crouch Fellowship — the Royal Australian College of Surgeons’ most prestigious research award. The Fellowship was first awarded in 1979 to recognise Fellows of the College making an outstanding contribution to cutting-edge surgical advancement and scientific research. Past recipients include Professor Graham Milbourne Clark, who developed cochlear implants, and Professor Graham Hill. Professor Heriot specialises in the multi-disciplinary management of lower gastrointestinal cancer. On the clinical side this includes assessment of outcomes of multimodality therapy, molecular imaging, quality of life studies, and banking of tumour tissue. Across the laboratory side it includes genomics (RNA and DNA sequencing), analysis of molecular markers and generation of human tumour xenografts.

The Doherty Institute has welcomed Dr Deborah Williamson to the role of deputy director of the Microbiological Diagnostic Unit Public Health Laboratory. Born and bred in Scotland, Deborah’s most recent role was as a Clinical Microbiologist at the Institute of Environmental Science and Research (ESR) in Wellington, New Zealand. Deborah completed a science degree and attended medical school in Glasgow before moving to London where she conducted her postgraduate training at St Mary’s Hospital and Imperial College. She then moved to Auckland in 2007 to train in microbiology and completed her PhD at the University of Auckland.

  • Cate Swannell



remove_circle_outline Delete Author
add_circle_outline Add Author

Do you have any competing interests to declare? *

I/we agree to assign copyright to the Medical Journal of Australia and agree to the Conditions of publication *
I/we agree to the Terms of use of the Medical Journal of Australia *
Email me when people comment on this article

Online responses are no longer available. Please refer to our instructions for authors page for more information.