2017 BioMedVic Early Career Clinician Researcher Awards

Congratulations to the 2017 BioMedVic Early Career Clinician Researcher (ECCR) Award winners and commendees!

Prof Jan Tennent, CEO of BioMedVic, presented this year’s Awards at the 2017 BioMedVic Clinician Researcher Awards & Networking Lunch on 9 November at the VCCC.

Winner ($1,000 Prize) – Medical Category

Dr Brett Manley | Royal Women’s Hospital

Dr Brett Manley is a neonatologist and early career researcher at the Royal Women’s Hospital Melbourne. His research aims to improve outcomes for preterm infants by improving the application of early breathing supports and improving longer-term respiratory health by preventing bronchopulmonary dysplasia – the chronic lung disease of prematurity. Since his PhD, Dr Manley has led two multicentre, randomised clinical trials of the non-invasive “nasal high-flow” respiratory support system. His award will contribute to his travel to an international neonatal conference to present the results of his HUNTER trial.

Winner ($1,000 Prize) – Allied Health Category

Dr Catherine Granger | Royal Melbourne Hospital & University of Melbourne

Dr Catherine Granger is a research physiotherapist at the Royal Melbourne Hospital and the University of Melbourne. Her research focuses on the role of physical activity and exercise for people with cancer. One of Dr Granger’s current studies is testing the benefit of an exercise and education program to improve function and quality of life for people undergoing lung cancer surgery at Melbourne Health. Her award will contribute to her travel to the European Respiratory Society Conference in Paris in 2018.

Commendation ($500 Prize) – Medical Category

Dr Kiryu Yap | St Vincent’s Institute & St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne

Dr Kiryu Yap is a medical doctor and regenerative therapy researcher at St Vincent’s Institute and St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne. During his PhD, Dr Yap aims to bio-engineer human liver organ-like structures using cells isolated from adult human tissue and induced pluripotent stem cells, and test their therapeutic potential for liver disease. His award will contribute to his travel to the International Liver Congress in France in April 2018.

Commendation ($500 Prize) – Allied Health Category

Dr Bao Nguyen | University of Melbourne

Dr Bao Nguyen is an optometrist and early career researcher at the University of Melbourne. She uses non-invasive methods, including clinical electrophysiology, neuroimaging and perceptual tests, to investigate neuronal changes in the human visual system. Dr Nguyen’s research aims to study healthy ageing and childhood development, and improve outcomes for patients with neurological disorders such as migraine, and ocular diseases such as glaucoma. Her award will contribute to her travel to the Experimental Psychology Conference in 2018.

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.”

Recipients of the Victorian Medical Research Acceleration Fund announced

The Minister of Health Jill Hennessy today announced the recipients of the Victorian Medical Research Acceleration Fund, which was designed to invest in new projects that translate early stage medical research into patient care.

The fund is part of the plan Healthier Lives, Stronger Economy: Victoria’s Health and Medical Research Strategy 2016-2020, which aims to create new business opportunities, job and economic growth and enhance Victoria’s reputation as a world leader in health and medical research.

Congratulations to BioMedVic Members Monash UniversityDeakin UniversityThe University of Melbourne and Austin Health for securing over $1.2 million in this inaugural funding round.

The University of Melbourne was awarded funding to develop new technology to treat severe asthma and other chronic respiratory diseases ($201,236).

Monash University received funding to develop a common data model to improve the lives of people living with dementia ($100,000), to develop a new method for diagnosing bipolar disorder ($100,000), to develop a new support package for stroke survivors ($99,356) and to develop an integrated “Virtual Hospital” patient management system to improve the care of patients with chronic diseases ($500,000).

Deakin University secured funding to develop a blended face-to-face and mobile application psychosocial intervention for bipolar disease ($99,872).

Austin Health were awarded funding to improve diagnosis of rare genetic disorders ($100,000).

Together, the awarded projects leverage further funding from philanthropic, industry and international sources which will bring an additional $7 million investment into Victoria’s world-class medical research sector.

Read further project details in the Victorian Government press release.

Victoria Public Healthcare Awards and Victoria Prizes for Science and Innovation announced

Victoria’s public health services and innovation in health and medical research were celebrated this month with the announcement of the recipients of the Victoria Public Healthcare Awards, the Victoria Prizes for Science and Innovation and the Victoria Fellowships.

We sincerely congratulate all the winners from BioMedVic Member organisations and others on their contribution to Victoria’s world-class health and medical research.

Minister for Health Jill Hennessy and Minister for Mental Health Martin Foley presented the 2017 Victorian Public Healthcare Awards, which celebrate excellence, dedication and innovation in public healthcare, at a gala ceremony on 26 October. (See the full list of winners and finalists here.)

Congratulations to Eastern Health, winner of the Minister for Mental Health’s Award for their work in bringing tele-psychiatry to an emergency department, and to The Royal Children’s Hospital, winner of the Secretary’s Award for their integration of care for patients with chronic and complex conditions.

We also congratulate the winners and finalists of the Victoria Prizes for Science and Innovation and the recipients of the Victoria Fellowship, which were announced at an awards ceremony held by veski at Melbourne’s Investment Centre on 26 October.

Six early career researchers, five of which are from BioMedVic Member organisations, were awarded the Victoria Fellowships in Life Sciences, valued at up to $18,000 each to assist them with an international study mission. Congratulations to Dr Kim Allison and Ms Jane Hawkey from the University of Melbourne and Dr Jennifer Payne, Ms Samantha Rowbotham and Dr Philip Ward from Monash University.

“We’re supporting our innovators because they help our economy – their discoveries and new ideas will create the jobs and industries of the future,” said Minister for Innovation and the Digital Economy Philip Dalidakis.

New Frontier for Parkinson’s

UROP @ The Bionics Institute | Aharon Golod

“Not very often do you wake up, knowing you have to go to work and feel excited,” said Aharon Golod. Every day the budding researcher gets to work with cutting-edge technology at the Bionics Institute as part of his UROP placement.

This technology, called deep brain stimulation, while being developed specifically for people with drug-resistant symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, has the potential to treat other neurological disorders, like clinical depression and Tourette’s syndrome. Continue reading

Healing Wounds for Diabetic Patients

UROP @ ARMI | Natasha Qazi

Apple with a bandaid
Wounded Apple

Having an open wound which doesn’t heal for years is the reality for many people, often diabetics, living with chronic ulcers and slow-healing wounds. Patients need treatment over several years, which makes it extremely expensive, both for the healthcare system and the patients who are continually going in and out of hospital.

Twelve Australians develop diabetes every hour. While the annual healthcare cost for a diabetic person without associated complications can be up to $4,000, complications, such as slow-healing wounds, can increase the cost to $16,000. Continue reading

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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