Two University of Sydney researchers were honoured at the annual NHMRC Research Excellence Awards dinner last night in Canberra.
The awards recognise excellence in health and medical research by showcasing researchers who have made an outstanding contribution to research in their field.
Dr Steven Wise is Conjoint Clinical Senior Lecturer at the University of Sydney and Leader of the Applied Materials Group at the Heart Research Institute.
His work aims to improve treatment of heart disease by improving vascular implants used in bypass surgery. Traditional plastic implants are prone to failure, sending patients back into surgery to replace the failed part - a risky and costly exercise.
The implants Dr Wise and his team have developed are made from silk and coated with a bioactive immunoregulatory material so the body accepts the implants better, reducing the failure rate.
A trial with the silk implants has been successfully completed in rats, and Dr Wise has received a three year NHMRC grant to fund the expansion of the trial into larger animals in preparation for human trials.
Associate Professor Jodie Ingles is Conjoint Senior Lecturer at the University of Sydney and Head of the Clinical Cardiac Genetics Group in the Molecular Cardiology Program at the Centenary Institute. Her research aims to improve the management and outcomes for families with genetic heart diseases.
Sudden cardiac death occurs in 35,000 people each year in Australia, with the impact in life-years lost greater than almost all other leading causes of death, including cancer. It is not necessarily a rare occurrence, however there are many aspects of care that are not well understood.
Associate Professor Ingles’ research looks specifically at those who die under the age of 35; these deaths are most likely due to inherited heart disease. By working directly with patients and families through her role as a cardiac genetic counsellor, she aims to translate her research directly to patients and improve their care.
NHMRC CEO Professor Anne Kelso AO said: "These awards are an opportunity to celebrate the extraordinary quality of health and medical research in Australia today."