Woolcock Institute Celebrates 25 Years of Medical Research
The Woolcock Institute of Medical Research, Australia's leading respiratory and sleep research centre, will celebrate its 25th anniversary this Wednesday with a testimonial dinner to mark its achievements and honour the work of its founding director, Professor Ann Woolcock, AO.
The occasion will be marked by a special speech by Professor Jeffrey M Drazen, Editor-in-Chief of the New England Journal of Medicine and the Distinguished Parker B. Francis Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, Professor of Physiology at the Harvard School of Public Health, and Senior Physician at the Brigham and Women's Hospital.
Professor Drazen has long been a supporter of the Institute, describing it as one of the top six such medical research institutes worldwide.
The dinner will also be attended by Her Excellency, the Governor of NSW, Marie Bashir, The Minister for Science and Medical Research, the Honourable Frank Sartor and Ms Jane Halton, Secretary for the Commonwealth Department of Health.
The Woolcock boasts a world-class network of specialised researchers dealing with the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of respiratory disease and sleep disorders. It has over 50 research projects in progress and in 2005 achieved an income of $6 million from an inaugural operating budget of $73,000.
Professor Woolcock, who died of cancer in 2001, is recognised in Australia and internationally as a pioneer of asthma research. She was made an Officer of the Order of Australia in 1989 and in 1992 was the first woman in clinical medicine to be elected Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science.
Professor Woolcock established the Institute in 1981 (then called the Institute of Respiratory Medicine) and played a pivotal role in ensuring its ongoing success.
Her work across the many and diverse fields of asthma research made Professor Woolcock a truly international expert. Among her many achievements, she became a driving force in asthma epidemiology and was the first in the world to introduce the idea of a standardised approach to asthma management and the establishment of an asthma action plan.
Initially research activities within the Institute focused mainly on asthma and allergy, however in recent years the scope has broadened. Research groups now exist in areas such as physiology, imaging, cell biology, molecular medicine, epidemiology, sleep and upper airway disorders, circadian rhythms and chronobiology, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, allergy, cystic fibrosis, smoking cessation and a clinical trials unit.
The Woolcock Institute also has engineering capabilities, using the latest technology in electronics, software and analysis to make devices in support of research.
Located in buildings across the University of Sydney and Royal Prince Alfred Hospital campuses, the Woolcock Institute has grown from humble beginnings to employ over 150 researchers and support staff.
Woolcock Institute of Medical Research