Staff member in Cath Lab in scrubsStaff in scrubs in the Cath LabStaff in scrubs in the Cath Lab


Proudly announcing Austin Health Foundation research grants

7 June 2023

Austin Health has received generous funds as gifts in wills, which play an important role in supporting the work we do every day.

In many circumstances, our patients remember Austin Health in their estates as a way to say thank you for the care they or a family member received and want to entrust Austin Health with the valuable duty of helping give back to our community.

Through this generosity, The Austin Health Foundation is delighted to announce $1.75 million will be distributed as grants to seven research projects focusing on cancer and transplantation.

“Hospital-based research is important to Austin Health as it leads to safer and more effective care for our patients and community,” says Professor James Best, Director of Research at Austin Health.

These grants have been made possible through recent bequests by generous individuals whose wish was to support research and help improve quality of life for patients we care for. To help achieve the wishes of our donors, a rigorous grant review process was managed through the Austin Health Office for Research.

We are delighted to announce the following research projects have been successful at gaining funding:

A/Prof John Whitlam

“Establishing hypothermic oxygenated machine perfusion as the standard cold preservation method for kidney transplantation in Victoria.”

The comprehensive Kidney Machine Perfusion Program will use hypothermic (cold) and normothermic (body temperature) machine perfusion devices to improve transplant access and outcomes by restoring and protecting the organ during transport between donor and recipient.

Dr Claire Gordon

“Australian Donation and Transplantation Biobank Advancing (ADTB) translational and discovery research.”

ADTB research looks to providing donor families the opportunity to donate organs and tissues to research as well to transplantation. For researchers using the ADTB, access to human samples has the potential to improve the speed and safety of development of treatments, tests, and vaccines.

Prof Vijayaragavan Muralidharan

“Precision medicine in liver transplantation harnessing graft-specific epigenetics”

With funding to support an impressive research team, DNA in plasma will be examined to non-invasively diagnose or exclude acute t-cell mediated rejection post liver transplantation – potentially offering major practical advantages over existing techniques.

Dr Olivia Smibert

“The host mIcrobiome in specialty patient populations (HOMISPEC)”

An innovative research project involving a collaboration between Austin Health and the Peter Doherty Institute; research will look to extract data on the interaction between the host immune system and gut microbiome, as it occurs during transplantation.

Dr Belinda Yeo

“Premenopausal women with oestrogen positive breast cancer: can we spare more patients chemotherapy to improve survival?”

This project looks to understand whether oestrogen receptors in breast cancer in young women represents a truly different disease biology, or whether we can safely remove the need for chemotherapy in a substantial proportion of these women (as done in postmenopausal women).

Prof Jason Trubiano

“Achieving therapeutic antimicrobial levels in patients with cholangiocarcinoma – a study of therapeutic drug monitoring for infection, surgical, and radiological procedures.”

This multi-disciplinary, multi-site supportive cancer care collaboration looks to measure antimicrobial drug levels in patients with cholangiocarcinoma – an uncommon form of liver cancer - at various time points during their cancer care.

Dr Fiona Chionh

“Discovery of novel drivers and therapeutic approaches for cholangiocarcinoma patients”

Consumer advocates, medical oncologists, surgeons, anatomical pathologists and lab-based cancer researchers will look to uncover new factors that influence cholangiocarcinoma patient health and develop fresh methods for treating this uncommon form of liver cancer.