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Congratulations to our ResearchFest winners!

Our virtual ResearchFest celebrations came to an end yesterday with the Plenary Lecture.

Dr Rob Grenfell from CSIRO Health and Biosecurity spoke about the epidemiology of coronavirus, with a focus on the strengths of Australia’s public health response and details of vaccine development.

Our ResearchFest award recipients were also recognised at this online gathering.

This year our Austin Medical Research Foundation’s Distinguished Scientist Award was presented to Professor Graeme Jackson for his significant contribution to research at Austin Health.

As an internationally renowned epilepsy clinician-researcher, Prof Jackson’s work has focused on innovations in MRI technology to understand brain structure and function and applying that to the understanding of epilepsy.

Prof Jackson has also been an enthusiastic mentor to a number of early career and post graduate researchers.

“It’s a great honour and it’s a privilege. It’s also an opportunity to say thank you to the whole Austin Health community,” says Prof Jackson.

Prof Jackson acknowledged that the award was not only recognition for his work, but for the efforts of his team, colleagues and his international collaborators.

“We’ve done a lot of good work, and I think we’ve made an impact and it’s a credit to all those people.

“We share our efforts and we inspire each other and have a focus that’s greater than ourselves. What a good place to be and what a good career to have,” says Prof Jackson.

He also spoke about our strong research culture, that has led to him and many other prominent researchers choosing to call Austin Health home.

To learn more about Prof Jackson’s work please visit:

Congratulations to all our ResearchFest award recipients:

Austin Medical Research Foundation Young Investigator Award  - Zimeng Ye

Project title: Cerebrospinal Fluid Liquid Biopsy for Detection of Somatic Mosaicism in Brain.

Zimeng's work shows that liquid biopsy of cerebrospinal fluid is useful for detecting mutations in brain cells. The technique can be used to replace brain biopsy DNA to diagnose brain specific somatic disorders.

ResearchFest 2020 Encouragement Award - Jack O'Shaughnessy  

Project title: Automatic Classification of Breast Ultrasound Lesions into Benign and Malignant Categories using Deep Learning 

This work details the use of machine learning to improve the accuracy of interpretation of breast ultrasound images.

The Nursing Research Award – Andrea Driscoll​​​​​​​

Research project title: Cost effectiveness of an inpatient heart failure nurse practitioner service for patients admitted with heart failure.

Andrea Driscoll's work quantifies the economic benefit of Nurse Practitioners and details not only the benefits for patients but also for our health service.

Rob Pierce Memorial Award – Jasun Li

Research project title: A low-cost 3D printed tool for radial endobronchial ultrasound simulation training.

Jasun Li has worked on a project that uses 3D printing to help respiratory specialists maintain the highest level of skill with a very difficult procedure.

Allied Health Research Award- Nicole Sheers

Research project title: A randomised controlled trial of regular lung volume recruitment vs active control in people with neuromuscular disease.

Nicole Sheers' work is looking at ways of helping people with neuromuscular disease increase the amount of breath they can take.

ONJCRI Scholarship – Anne Huber

Research project title: DNA methyltransferases drive gastric cancer growth and present a therapy target for gastric cancer.

Anne Huber's work describes a target therapy for gastric cancer that uses part of the cell growth pathway to stop cancer growth.

Austin LifeSciences Discovery Research Award – Lap Hing Chi

Research project title: Mechanisms of BMP4-mediated suppression of breast cancer metastasis.

Lap Hing Chi showed that bone morphogenetic protein 4 (BMP4), a secreted cytokine, is a potent suppressor of breast cancer metastasis. The work looks at mechanisms to develop novel therapies for metastatic breast cancer.

Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, Neuroscience Award – Quentin Chan

Research project title: Is abnormal frontoparietal network connectivity associated with cognitive impairment in patients with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome?

Quentin Chan looked at severe drug resistant childhood epilepsy, finding that abnormal brain networks do play a role in the disordered physiological processes these patients experience.