Sydney leads in medical centres of excellence

The University of Sydney will lead three new national medical research centres in coronary artery disease, prevention of fall-related injuries and multiple morbidities.

The Minister for Health, the Hon. Greg Hunt MP, announced the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Centres of Research Excellence on 6 October, with Sydney awarded the most centres nationally – a total of $7.5M in funding.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Duncan Ivison said the results were outstanding, welcoming the support for some of the University’s top health and medical researchers to continue their important work.

Gemma Figtree headshot

Professor Gemma Figtree (pictured right) will lead the NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence for Better Outcomes in Coronary Artery Disease, which will investigate the 27 percent of heart attack patients who have no known risk factors for coronary artery disease, such as hypertension, cholesterol, diabetes and smoking.

The aim is to improve clinical outcomes of these patients, and identify new mechanisms and biomarkers to predict and prevent heart attacks, which occur every ten minutes in Australia.

Catherine Sherrington headshot

Professor Catherine Sherrington (pictured right) will lead the NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in the Prevention of Fall-related Injuries. The centre will help understand and reduce falls and fall-related injuries in Australia, which lead to 1.2 million days of hospital care and cost at least $1 billion each year.

“This will be the first time that a research centre will combine expertise of researchers, clinicians, policy-makers, consumers and carers to tackle the big unanswered questions in fall injury prevention, such as how to prevent falls in hospitals and residential facilities,” Professor Sherrington said.

Professor John Eastwood will lead the NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence for Care for People with Complex Multimorbidities to improve the health of vulnerable people in the community, focusing on reducing hospitalisation.

Sydney academics were also awarded two NHMRC Partnership Projects on 6 October, as part of Minister Hunt’s announcement.

Professor Carolyn Sue was awarded $1.2 million for work to deliver precision diagnosis to patients with mitochondrial disease and Associate Professor Megan Passey was awarded $1.03 million to trial an innovative, evidence-based program to help pregnant women quit smoking.

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