Category: Featured

TRIP Fellowship Recipients announced

This month, the Minister for Health and Minister for Sport Greg Hunt announced the allocation of $3.94 million to the recipients of the Translating Research into Practice (TRIP) Fellowships, funded by the MRFF ($1.79 million) and NHMRC ($2.15 million).

Fellowship recipients will use the funds to work on a broad range of health issues, from suicide prevention to chronic kidney disease and to translate theory and laboratory work into improved health care practice and outcomes for patients.

Congratulations to BioMedVic Members Monash UniversityThe University of Melbourne and Deakin University for securing over $895,000 in this funding round.

Monash University

Chief Investigator: A/Prof Anita Wluka

Research Project: TreatOA4life (Treat OsteoArthritis4life) – a sustainable lifestyle treatment to improve outcomes in knee osteoarthritis ($179,118, NHMRC funded)

Chief Investigator: Dr Trisha Peel

Research Project: Optimising Patient Outcomes following Surgery: Improving Uptake of Evidence into Practice for Surgical Antimicrobial Prophylaxis ($179,118, NHMRC funded)

Chief Investigator: Dr Donna Urquhart

Research Project: Closing the evidence-practice gap with a highly innovative, patient-centred, decision-support program to guide narcotic use in chronic low back pain ($179,118, MRFF funded)

University of Melbourne

Chief Investigator: A/Prof Fiona Russell

Research Project: Implementing Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine in Pacific Island Countries ($179,118, NHMRC funded)

Deakin University

Chief Investigator: Dr Alison Beauchamp

Research Project: Closing the communication gap in chronic disease ($179,118, MRFF funded)

Inspiring Research Career Paths in Industry, Hospitals & Academia

Congratulations to our 2017 Round 2 cohort of the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP).

BioMedVic warmly thank our colleagues who volunteered their time to participate on interviewing panels and commend every student who applied to this competitive employment scheme.

We continue to be delighted by the breadth of research organisations that chose to employ a talented undergraduate student through the UROP scheme. In this round, the UROP@BioMedVic office matched the best and brightest with industry, hospital, MRI and academic research teams – reflecting Victoria’s vibrant and diverse health and medical research community.

The students will carry out research projects for six to 18 months, for at least 8 hours a week, alongside their undergraduate coursework. We look forward to hearing about their progress at the UROP Conference Day next year.

We wish all UROPs the best of luck!

Read more about the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) here.

2017 BioMedVic Clinician Researcher Awards celebrated

The unsung heroes of Australian medical research were celebrated this month at the 2017 BioMedVic Clinician Researcher Awards & Networking Lunch held at the VCCC on 9 November.

While research-active health professionals – doctors, nurses and allied health workers – are needed to translate basic biomedical research to the frontline of clinical practice, they do face challenges. Heavy clinical workloads, lack of funding and a lack of institutional support for research activity combine to make engaging in research more and more difficult for hospital-based researchers.

In 2010, Biomedical Research Victoria established the Victorian Clinician Researcher Network (VCRN) to provide a voice for this group, and to advocate on their behalf and for change aimed at improving the capacity for clinicians to conduct research. To recognise and support some of those who have committed themselves to careers as clinician scientists, BioMedVic presents a series of annual awards.

One of the challenges facing clinician researchers is access to mentorship, which inspired the criteria for the BioMedVic Clinician Researcher Career Recognition Award. Nominations are not only assessed on the nominee’s track record in clinical studies but also on their achievement in mentoring other clinician researchers. This year, BioMedVic was pleased to honour and present this award to Prof Monica Slavin, an internationally recognised Infectious Diseases physician, specialising in the identification of risk factors and the early diagnosis and prevention of infection in cancer patients.

At the award presentation, her nominator, Prof Karin Thursky spoke about what inspired her to nominate Prof Slavin and A/Prof Leon Worth, one of Monica’s mentees, recalled how her mentorship shaped his career as a clinician researcher.

Thrilled to have had her career recognised with this Award, Prof Slavin inspired the audience with a sincere and entertaining presentation on the story of her career thus far and with her advice to upcoming clinician researchers.

Her words were especially well received by the four recipients of the BioMedVic Early Career Clinician Researcher Awards.

BioMedVic CEO Jan Tennent presented the winners and commendees in the Medical and Allied Health Categories with certificates and prizes, and spoke about the bright future facing these promising researchers. Networking continued over lunch, which was kindly sponsored by the National Centre for Infections in Cancer (NCIC).

BioMedVic warmly congratulates the 2017 winners of the BioMedVic Early Career Clinician Researcher Awards:

Dr Brett Manley | Royal Women’s Hospital – Winner Medical Category

Dr Catherine Granger | Royal Melbourne Hospital & University of Melbourne – Winner Allied Health Category

Dr Kiryu Yap | St Vincent’s Institute & St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne – Commendation Medical Category

Dr Bao Nguyen | University of Melbourne – Commendation Allied Health Category

Read about the outstanding work of these Victorian clinician scientists here.

We look forward to celebrating many more such achievements in future years.

Prof Jan Tennent elected to AusBiotech Board

BioMedVic CEO Jan Tennent will have further opportunity to link Victoria’s health and medical research and clinical care with industry after being elected today to the AusBiotech Board of Directors.

The election outcome was announced at the 2017 Annual General Meeting of AusBiotech Ltd, held at the AusBiotech national conference at the Adelaide Convention Centre on 25 October 2017.

BioMedVic CEO Jan Tennent will have further opportunity to link Victoria’s health and medical research and clinical care with industry after being elected today to the AusBiotech Board of Directors.

The election outcome was announced at the 2017 Annual General Meeting of AusBiotech Ltd, held at the AusBiotech national conference at the Adelaide Convention Centre on 25 October 2017.

Jan Tennent is a respected senior executive and networked business leader with international and national experience in the pharmaceutical, biologicals, agribiotech and research sectors. She has a proven record of contribution and accomplishment in the governance and management of NFP organisations and highly matrixed organisations including CSIRO, CSL and Pfizer. Renowned for her trustworthiness and diligence, Jan brings innovation, expertise and focus to her roles.

In her previous role as Director for Business Development & Global Alliances at Pfizer Animal Health, Jan was responsible for maximising the growth and profitability of APAC business units and leading the due diligence and negotiation teams for a number of company and product acquisitions and numerous technology licenses and collaborative R&D agreements.

As a member of the CSL Animal Health executive team Jan was responsible for new product opportunity evaluation and leadership of product development and the launch teams for unique vaccines in Australia and the UK.

Jan brings expertise in forging and nurturing relationships and a persuasive advocacy style to her current role as CEO of Biomedical Research Victoria, the premier voice for linking health and medical research to clinical care in Victoria.

Jan’s research career included periods as Director of the CRC for Vaccine Technology and Program Manager for the Vaccines and Immunology group of CSIRO Animal Health. In these roles, Jan honed her innovation and management skills having oversight of the research and vaccine clinical trial activities of a 20-strong team.

An alumnus of Monash and Deakin universities, Jan was appointed in 2017 as Collaborative Professor at the University of Osaka.  She is a Principal Fellow at The University of Melbourne, Fellow of the Australian Society for Microbiology and Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Jan said: “I’m looking forward to leveraging my experience in the pharma, bio, agricultural and animal industries as well as research to contribute and add value to the terrific work that AusBiotech is already doing on behalf of its members.”

Chair’s Report

“Whichever way you look at it, there is no doubt of the value of our role as the premier voice linking health and medical research to clinical outcomes. It’s through our efforts that all Victorians can be confident they are getting the very best value for monies invested in healthcare and in research.

BioMedVic fosters collaboration and creates the synergies needed to deliver real health outcomes for the people of this State.”

– Mrs Jane Bell

Many of you will know that I joined the Board of BioMedVic a year ago. I have been or continue to be a Board member of six other health and medical research organisations which reflects my genuine interest and passion for the work that people like you do.

Of late, this interest has become deeply personal for me, with both of my parents facing major health challenges.

So, I’ve been reminded of the quality of Victoria’s clinicians and the first-class research and technology that enables them to deliver heath care that is second to none in the world. In pondering this though, I can’t help but wonder if we’re perhaps not all just a little guilty of forgetting how terrific things are in Victoria – or possibly of taking it for granted.

Of course, that’s a perfect segue to reflect on the rationale for having an organisation like Biomedical Research Victoria.

Whichever way you look at it, there is no doubt of the value of our role as the premier voice linking health and medical research to clinical outcomes. It’s through our efforts that all Victorians can be confident they are getting the very best value for monies invested in healthcare and in research.

BioMedVic fosters collaboration and creates the synergies needed to deliver real health outcomes for the people of this State.

Our efforts drive early alignment between research and the clinic to give a clear line of sight between research and new knowledge and treatments that lead to better patient care and life-changing outcomes.

But the world in which BioMedVic and its member organisations operate is under pressure. Constrained funding for health and medical research is driving increased competition between organisations.

Sadly, something of a gold rush mentality has emerged with organisational effort being increasingly distracted by the hunt for funding. Everyone’s looking to be the best friend of government and to make the best deal for their organisation, if only in the shorter term and running the risk of piecemeal investments creating piecemeal solutions.

What all this highlights is that BioMedVic is needed now more than ever. By our very nature we are doing what others can’t do.

We’re providing a genuine link between researchers, clinicians, patient care, hospitals, universities, medical research institutes, CSIRO and others. We are unifying disparate voices to achieve the very best link between research and clinical care. We’re taking a whole of sector perspective to ensure its viability well into the future and working to maintain Victoria as the leading State for health and medical research and clinical care not only for Australia, but also the world.

We are the premier voice linking health and medical research to clinical care in this State.

Through all of us, Victorians get the best value for money for their investment in their own health.

Biomedical Research Victoria has a very real and needed purpose. What we do now, can and will shape Victoria’s medical research and clinical care landscape for future generations.

We need – Victorians need – your ongoing and unwavering support to make that happen.

Mrs Jane Bell

CEO’s Report

“2016/2017 has been a significant year for Biomedical Research Victoria and we can rightly be proud of what we have achieved. It is important that we remind ourselves of the key role BioMedVic plays as the premier voice for linking health and medical research to clinical care in Victoria. Our reach is significant and should not be underestimated.

BioMedVic embraces more than three quarters of Victoria’s 25,000 biomedical scientists and clinicians across universities, academic hospitals, medical research institutes, CSIRO and other organisations.”

– Prof Jan Tennent
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Training Science Communicators and Future STEMM Stars

BioMedVic is investing in the next generation of science communicators by hosting three Masters student interns from the University of Melbourne. The students, who are undertaking a unit in science communication, have been teamed up with scholars of the BioMedVic Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) working at the Bionics Institute and at the Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute (ARMI). Continue reading

Congratulations Vic Gov Fellowship Recipients

The three recipients of the Victorian Health and Medical Research Fellowships were announced on July 19. The fellowships are intended to develop initiatives and strategies, leading to clinical or commercial outcomes in the areas of bioinformatics, genomics and/or health services research.

The three recipients are:

  • Dr Allison Milner, to develop initiatives and strategies, in association with workplaces and the business community, to reduce the incidence of mental health and rates of suicide in working age men by linking them into health services.
  • Dr Bernard Pope, to develop solutions to aid the early detection and treatment of colorectal cancer
  • Associate Professor Ilana Ackerman, to research how and why hip and knee replacements can sometimes fail, and develop methods to minimise it

Science Medical Research & Technology Panel Chair Brigitte Smith said “The three fellowships were selected from a quality field of more than 100 eligible applications, and went through a rigorous assessment and shortlisting process to prioritise the key research projects which we are confident will have a real and lasting impact on people’s health and wellbeing.”

BioMedVic is proud of the work it has been doing on behalf of the Victorian Government to roll out these fellowships. And we are now pleased to be supporting the DHHS with its roll out of the Victorian Medical Research Acceleration Fund.

Researcher in Residence – Meet Dr Michelle Hall

Dr Michelle Hall (Centre of Health, Exercise and Sports Medicine, University of Melbourne) is participating in BioMedVic’s flagship Policy Skills development program, Researcher In Residence. She has been in Canberra for two weeks with Senator Kim Carr, Senator for Victoria in the Australian Parliament, Shadow Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research.

“My glimpse into the parliamentary process has been tremendously insightful, and thanks to BioMedVic and Senator Carr I have made meaningful connections that I hope in time will reduce the burden of musculoskeletal conditions in Australia and world-wide.” – Dr Michelle Hall
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