December 19th 2011
Testament to the quality of work coming from HRI, several scientists have been recognised with competitive grants and scholarships this week.
The director of the HRI, Professor Philip Barter has been awarded a highly competitive and prestigious NHMRC Programme Grant that will be shared amongst several research facilities over five years beginning 2013. The project was only one of 10 that were funded nation wide, and will explore the role of “good cholesterol” or HDL in preventing or protecting against the development of atherosclerosis.
The Translational Research Group has a lot to celebrate this week with several of their researchers being recognised for their work. Post-doctoral scientist Louise Dunn was awarded a Sydney Medical School New Staff/Early Career Researcher Scheme which will enable her to continue her research on why diabetes increases the risk of developing heart disease.
Honours student Gloria Yuen scored a hat trick being offered a choice of three PhD scholarships to begin a project next year. All competitive and equally prestigious, she will now choose from an NHMRC, a National Heart Foundation or an Australian Postgraduate Award (APA) scholarship. After all her hard work to get to this stage she now faces the difficult task of choosing!
Group leader of the Translational Research Group, Associate Professor Martin Ng, in association with Dr Steve Wise, Prof Tony Weiss (Molecular Biotechnology, University of Sydney) and Prof Marcela Bilek (Applied Physics, University of Sydney) were awarded an NHMRC Development Grant to continue their work on a new stent design.
“Stents are inserted into vessels to open them up when they become clogged with atherosclerotic plaques, but the problem with metal stents in that the body sees them as foreign and the immune system attacks them”, Dr Steve Wise said.
“We have developed a unique coating that mimics the proteins in the body, reducing inflammation and increasing the life of the stent. This has the potential to significantly increase quality of life for patients.”
Also offered an APA this week was student Francesca Charlton from the Vascular Immunology and Lipid Research Groups who will continue her work on a condition called pre-eclampsia (or high blood pressure in pregnancy) which effects 10% of pregnant women. Francesca recently won a scholarship to present her work at a conference in Norway.
Dr David Pattison from the Free Radical Group was the recipient of an Australian Institute of Nuclear Science and Engineering (AINSE) award to continue his work at the Linear Accelerator and Pulse Radiolysis Facility in Auckland, New Zealand. Dave is characterising the rate at which proteins in the body react with free radicals in the hope of designing therapeutics to prevent such damage.
Dr Rachael Dunlop, science communicator and postdoctoral researcher in the Gene Regulation Group was elected as a Fellow of The Society of Biology this week. The prestigious British organisation is dedicated to the promotion and translation of advances in biological science and to engage and encourage public interest in the life sciences.
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