Health and Medical Research Awards Finalist, Professor Brett Mitchell, featured in the Newcastle Herald

Research Australia welcomed the Newcastle Herald article featuring Professor Brett Mitchell’s UTI research which will reduce patient infection risk in Australian hospitals and save health services money.

Professor Brett Mitchell, an infection control expert, has found that using antiseptic before inserting a catheter reduces the risk of urinary tract infection in hospitals.

Click here to read the full article on the Newcastle Herald’s website.

2017 Griffith University Discovery Award Winner: Dr Avnika Ruparelia

The Griffith University Discovery Award recognises an early career researcher This award recognises an early career researcher whose paper, patent or discovery has already demonstrated its importance or impact.

Congratulations to Award Winner –
Dr Avnika Ruparelia, Monash University

Dr Avnika Ruparelia is an early career researcher in the School of Biological Sciences at Monash University, who has made outstanding contributions to the muscle disease field.

Continue reading “2017 Griffith University Discovery Award Winner: Dr Avnika Ruparelia”

2016 Discovery Award Winner: Dr Rebecca Coll

Research Australia
Health & Medical Research Awards

2016 Griffith University Discovery Award

The Griffith University Discovery Award recognises an early career researcher (no more
than five years post PhD) whose discovery has already demonstrated its importance or impact

Congratulations to Award Winner

Dr Rebecca Coll
Institute of Molecular Bioscience
University of Queensland

Dr Rebecca Coll is an Early Career Researcher at The University of Queensland (UQ) Institute for Molecular Bioscience (IMB), studying innate immunity and novel anti-inflammatory drugs.

Continue reading “2016 Discovery Award Winner: Dr Rebecca Coll”

Corporates with big hearts donate to support health and medical research

Thank you to all those that nominated their heroes for the 2016 Research Australia Health & Medical Research Awards. 2016 has seen the highest number of nominations and the stories are amazing. We are enjoying sharing some of them with you.

Leadership in Corporate Giving Award recognises outstanding leadership by a corporation or business in giving to and supporting health and medical research. This is not necessarily about the actual amounts donated, rather it’s the relationship or partnership and commitment over time that is an important dimension of effective corporate giving. Which of these amazing people below will join the ranks of the prestigious Leadership in Corporate Giving Award alumni including: Channel Seven Perth, Coco’s Fresh Food Market Queensland, Estee Lauder, L.J. Hooker, Wesfarmers Ltd, Pfizer Australia, Macquarie Group Foundation, David Jones, Xstrata Coal, Rio Tinto, Bupa

Continue reading “Corporates with big hearts donate to support health and medical research”

2015 Peter Wills Medal: Prof Sharon Lewin

Research Australia
Health & Medical Research Awards

2015 Peter Wills Medal

The Peter Wills Medal was created in 2011 to mark research Australia’s 10th anniversary. It recognises an Australian who has made an outstanding contribution to building Australia’s international reputation in the area of health & medical research, and for harnessing government, research, industry and philanthropic collaborations to promote better health

Award Winner

Professor Sharon Lewin
Inaugural Director
Peter Doherty Institute For Infection & Immunity

Sharon Lewin is the inaugural director of the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity, a joint venture between the University of Melbourne and Royal Melbourne Hospital; Professor of Medicine, The University of Melbourne; consultant infectious diseases physician, Alfred Hospital, Melbourne, Australia; and an Australian National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Practitioner Fellow. She is an infectious diseases physician and basic scientist.

Sharon completed her medical training (MB., BS (Hons) 1986) and her PhD (1996) in Microbiology at Monash University, Melbourne Australia. She was trained in clinical infectious diseases in Melbourne (FRACP 1996) and did her post-doctoral fellowship with Professor David Ho at the Aaron Diamond Research Centre at the Rockefeller University, New York (1997-1999). David Ho was named Time Man of the Year in 1996 for his major contribution to discovering successful antiviral therapy for HIV. She was Director, Department of Infectious Diseases, Alfred Hospital and Monash University (2003-2014) and co-head of the Centre for Biomedical Research at the Burnet Institute (2011-2014), Melbourne, Australia.

She leads a large multi-disciplinary research team that focuses on understanding why HIV persists on treatment and developing clinical trials aimed at ultimately finding a cure for HIV infection. Her other research and clinical interests include understanding how the immune system recovers following treatment of HIV and the interaction between HIV and other important co-infections including hepatitis B virus. She is widely recognized for her innovative work in understanding how HIV hides on treatment using novel laboratory models and leading several early phase clinical trials of cancer drugs that alter HIV genes. Her clinical trial program is part of a close collaboration with the Department of Infectious Diseases, Alfred Hospital and Monash University.

She has published over 200 publications and her laboratory receives funding from the NHMRC, the National Institutes for Health (NIH), the Wellcome Trust and the American Foundation for AIDS Research. She has extensive collaborations in Asia including Thailand, Malaysia, China and India as well as collaborations with investigators throughout the US and Europe. She is a co-principal investigator for the Delaney AIDS Research Enterprise to find a Cure – a $25million NIH funded program grant of over 30 investigators working on immunological interventions to develop a cure for HIV.

She was the local co-chair of the XXth International AIDS Conference (AIDS2014) which was held in Melbourne July 2015, which attracted over 14,000 participants and was the largest health conference ever held in Australia. In 2015, she became a member of the council of the NHMRC and chairs the newly established NHMRC Health Translation Advisory Committee.

In 2014 she was named Melburnian of the Year. This is an award made each year by the City of Melbourne to an inspirational role model who has made an outstanding contribution to the city in their chosen field. This was the first time the award was made to a physician or scientist.

Sharon is married to Bob Milstein, a health lawyer. They have two adult sons, Alex and Max who are mad Essendon supporters. She is a passionate Melburnian!

Prof Lewin & Peter Wills
Prof Lewin & Peter Wills

2015 Health Services Research Award: Prof Jeffrey Braithwaite

Research Australia
Health & Medical Research Awards

2015 Victorian Government Health
Services Research Award

This Award is for an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the field, provided research leadership, undertaken research that has led to a significant improvement in healthcare, and/or has championed the development of the health services research field

Award Winner

Prof Jeffrey Braithwaite
Foundation Director, Australian Institute
Of Health Innovation, Macquarie University

Professor Jeffrey Braithwaite, BA, MIR (Hons), MBA, DipLR, PhD, FAIM, FCHSM, FFPH RCP (UK) is Foundation Director, Australian Institute of Health Innovation, Director, Centre for Healthcare Resilience and Implementation Science, and Professor of Health Systems Research, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Macquarie University, Australia. His research examines the changing nature of health systems, particularly patient safety, standards and accreditation, leadership and management, the structure and culture of organisations and their network characteristics, attracting funding of more than AUD$59 million.

Professor Braithwaite has published extensively (over 600 total publications) and he has presented at international and national conferences on more than 780 occasions, including over 75 keynote addresses. His research appears in journals such as British Medical Journal, The Lancet, Social Science & Medicine, BMJ Quality and Safety, International Journal of Quality in Health Care, Journal of Managerial Psychology, Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, and many other prestigious journals. Professor Braithwaite has received numerous national and international awards for his teaching and research. Further details are available at his Wikipedia entry:

He has conducted large-scale research over two decades on clinical and organizational performance, health systems improvement and patient safety. Professor Braithwaite was author of a major study into health care inquiries, Patient safety: a comparative analysis of eight inquiries in six countries, UNSW, 2006 and another on the appropriateness of care in Australia (BMJ Open, 2012 and Medical Journal of Australia, 2012).

Professor Braithwaite recently co-edited a book with Professors Erik Hollnagel in Denmark and Bob Wears in the United States (Resilient Health Care, Ashgate, 2013), which proposes new models for tackling patient safety in acute settings and a second book in the series, The Resilience of Everyday Clinical Work, was published in 2015. His book on health reform in 30 countries with Professors Julie Johnson in Australia, Yukihiro Matsuyama in Japan and Russell Mannion in the UK was also published in 2015. A new book discussing sociological perspectives on patient safety with Professors Davina Allen at Cardiff University, Jane Sandall at King’s College, London and Justin Waring at Nottingham University.

Noteworthy projects in recent times include the CareTrack study, which found that 57% of care delivered to Australians is in line with level 1 evidence or consensus based guidelines. This was described by the editor of the Medical Journal of Australia when it was published in 2012 as the most important publication in that journal for the last 10 years. This study has been very influential amongst policy makers, managers, clinicians and patient groups in Australia and internationally. Another key project is the work he did with 30 countries, culminating in a book published in 2015. He included low, middle income and rich countries, looking at their reform activities and their quality and safety

initiatives. This work shows that reform is not an episodic activity. Every health system is continuously reforming and attempting to improve the care that is delivered. This work suggests that insufficient resources are allocated to evaluating reform measures and improvement activities.

2015 Lifetime Achievement Award: Professor Perry Bartlett

Research Australia
Health & Medical Research Awards

2015 Cook Medical Lifetime Achievement Award

The Research Australia Cook Medical Lifetime Achievement Award honours a significant lifetime commitment to supporting and promoting health and medical research

Award Winner

Professor Perry Bartlett, FAA
Professor Of Molecular Neuroscience
Queensland Brain Institute

Professor Perry Bartlett is the founding director of the Queensland Brain Institute (QBI) at The University of Queensland and is an internationally-renowned neuroscientist doing ground-breaking research into the fundamental mechanisms that underpin brain function.

During his 30-year career, his research and discoveries have overturned existing dogma and led to new understanding, particularly in the areas of neuronal precursor regulation and neuron survival in the developing and adult nervous system. Most prominent among these has been his pioneering role in the discovery and characterisation of neuron-producing stem cells in the adult brain, which has resulted in an entirely new view of the adult brain’s restorative capacity and, more importantly, to the realisation that cognitive functions such as learning and memory appear to be regulated, at least in part, by the production of new neurons. This is leading to the development of new therapeutic strategies to stimulate functional recovery following stroke, ageing dementia and depression. This is of vital importance as the Australian community confronts the growing social and economic cost of neurological and mental health conditions, which account for almost 50 per cent of this nation’s burden of disease.

Professor Bartlett has published more than 240 papers, many of which have appeared in the world’s most influential journals and have attracted more than 13,000 citations and an h-index of 60. One of the most remarkable aspects of Professor Bartlett’s career has been his ability to correctly identify new mechanisms and concepts even though they appear to contradict the prevailing view. This speaks to an intellectual prescience and experimental ingenuity possessed by only a few scientists.

One of the cornerstones of Professor Bartlett’s career is the building of QBI in 2003. Since then he has grown the Institute from a fledgling operation with several of the world’s best neuroscientists to an international research hub with 500 staff dedicated to to finding out more about debilitating diseases of the brain. Beyond that, his achievements in neuroscience research and neuroscience leadership have been recognised with several prestigious awards.

This year he received the CSL Florey Medal and Prize, for significant achievements in biomedical science and the advancement of human health, which has been awarded just seven times since its inception in 1988. Previous winners include Professor Barry Marshall, Professor Jacques Miller and Professor Ian Frazer. He was also recently awarded the Australian Neuroscience Society’s Distinguished Achievement Award for an outstanding contribution to neuroscience in Australian and New Zealand, which has just six prior recipients since its inception in 1993.

2015 Discovery Award Winner: Dr Andrew Gardner

Research Australia
Health & Medical Research Awards

2015 Griffith University Discovery Award

The Griffith University Discovery Award recognises an early career researcher (no more
than five years post PhD) whose discovery has already demonstrated its importance or impact

Award Winner

Dr Andrew Gardner
School Of Medicine & Public Health
University Of Newcastle

Dr Gardner has conducted research in the field of sports concussion for the past eight years. He received first class honours in Psychology (University of New England) and subsequently completed a Doctor of Psychology (Clinical Neuropsychology) degree at Macquarie University, Sydney, where he conducted research in to the acute and cumulative neuropsychological consequences of sport-related concussion. His thesis received the prestigious award for the Most Outstanding Dissertation for 2011 from the National Academy of Neuropsychology (USA). During his post-graduate studies he also pioneered and managed the Macquarie University Sports Concussion Clinic.

Following this Dr Gardner completed his PhD at Newcastle University, studying the potential long-term consequences of participation in collision sports. He has published 16 peer review articles, two book chapters, presented at numerous national and international conferences, and has contributed to the policy papers of Brain Injury Australia and Alzheimer’s Australia (NSW). In 2013 he was invited as a leading early career researcher to contribute to the Australian Academy of Science Theo Murphy High Flyer’s Think Tank on ‘inspiring smarter brain research in Australia’. He was also awarded an Australian Endeavour Research Fellowship to visit Harvard Medical School for four months in 2014. He is the Co-Director of the Hunter New England Sports Concussion Clinic.

Dr Gardner is now focusing on the potential long-term consequences of participation in collision sports. He is attempting to delineate the effect of head trauma as a risk factor for later life neurodegenerative disease by undertaking neuropsychological testing and neuroimaging investigation in active and retired athletes. His current research includes working on assessing retired rugby league players to determine their cognitive, neurological, psychiatric and psychological profiles. He is also currently also working on the video analysis of concussion in the National Rugby League, the first time this has ever been conducted. Dr Gardner created a tool, the Observational Research Analysis of Concussion in League Evaluation (ORACLE), that he is validating to assist club medical staff with recognising/detecting players who may have sustained a concussion (and should be removed from play for further assessment).

The results of the video analysis and the use of the ORACLE will hopefully help prevent concussions by identifying at-risk behaviour, in addition to detecting concussion, which will significantly improve player welfare. He is currently involved with a consortium of researchers from Cardiff University Brain Imaging Research Centre (CUBRIC) in research discussion with the Welsh Government and Welsh Rugby Union to monitor and examine concussed active and retired players.

2015 Advocacy Award Winners: Connie and Sam Johnson

Research Australia
Health & Medical Research Awards

2015 Advocacy Award

The Advocacy Award recognises a prominent Australian who has raised community awareness about the benefits of Health & Medical Research, and the need for increased funding.

Award Winners

Connie Johnson & Samuel Johnson
Co-Founders, Love Your Sister

Connie is vibrant, loving, compassionate, tough and inspiring. She’s a mother of two beautiful boys. She’s 35 years old. And she’s dying of Breast Cancer.
This is her third battle with cancer. At the age 11 Connie, with the help of early detection and chemotherapy, fought off a very rare and aggressive bone tumour in her leg. At 22, she overcame a tumour in her womb, again with the help of early detection and treatment.
This time Connie has Breast Cancer. It has spread to her lungs, liver, pelvis, spine and knee. This time it’s terminal and she has a life expectancy of 6 – 12 months.
Nothing can prepare you for to say goodbye to your kids at such a young age. That’s why Connie is hard at work to raise Breast Cancer awareness. Early detection is the key to survival and Connie wants everyone to know it.
Samuel is one of Australia’s most recognisable personalities in the Australian entertainment industry.
He’s best known for his roles on The Secret Life of Us, Crackerjack, Underbelly II and Network Ten’s Rush. He’s made a number of TV guest appearances… and he’s the voice of Vodafone, Suzuki and Pedigree.
Plenty of career accolades have come his way. He’s enjoyed multiple Logie nominations, an AFI Award and an Australian Centenary Medal in the 2000 Queens Honours list. He’s very  proud of all of this, but none of it is as important to him as his sister.

Research Australia Events

2016 Research Australia
Health & Medical Research Awards

The 14th annual Research Australia Health and Medical Research Awards honoured some of the country’s top minds and big hearts for their incredible contribution to health and medical research in Australia.

Research Australia is proud to have had such an extraordinary night with incredible researchers who have distinguished themselves in their careers, be it early stage, mid career or through a lifelong commitment to HMR.

It is with great pleasure that we present the 2016 winners of the Research Australia Awards :



Recognises an Australian who has made an outstanding contribution to building Australia’s international reputation in the area of health and medical research, and fostering collaboration for better health.

Awarded to: Professor Ian Gust AO


Recognises an Australian from the media, a celebrity or member of the community who has raised community awareness about the benefits of health and medical research.

Awarded to: Brenda King, SIDS Stampede


Griffith logoRecognises an early researcher (no more than five years post PhD) whose paper/patent/discovery has already demonstrated its importance or impact.

Awarded to: Dr Rebecca Coll

Highly Commended: Dr Felicity Davis and Dr Michael Livingston


To recognise and encourage personal philanthropic donations over a period of time by an individual or family to health and medical research.

Awarded to: The McCusker Charitable Foundation


For the development of the most innovative method of gathering, making available, processing or interpreting data in a way that advances the sector.

Awarded to: Capital Markets CRC, Health Market Quality Team

Highly Commended: The National Breast Cancer Foundation and DreamLab (Vodafone and the Garvan Institute of Medical Research)


Recognises outstanding leadership by a corporation or business giving to and supporting health and medical research through relationships or partnership and commitment over time.

Awarded to: Volvo Car Australia


Created in 2014 to recognise the importance of the emerging field of health service research.

Awarded to: Professor Michael Barton OAM



With its accompanying grant of $80,000, has played a part in assisting some of Australia’s most important leaders and innovators in the medical research sphere. Its focus is on helping support career development with an emphasis on human health and Australian research.

Awarded to: Professor Prof Arthur Christopolous & Patrick Sexton


Previous Research Australia Health & Medical Research Award Winners

Some of the 2016 Award Nominees and their stories