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Heart Research Institute scientist David Celermajer has been awarded the inaugural Ruthven Blackburn Medal for his distinguished lifetime contribution to Clinical Research.

Professor Celermajer, the HRI’s Clinical Director, was bestowed the medal at a University of Sydney ceremony in September. The award recognises his achievements in cardiovascular health, particularly his important discovery of the damaging effects of passive smoking on the vascular health of children. This breakthrough contributed to policy change in several countries.

The leading heart researcher also developed new techniques for the non-invasive investigation and detection of silent atherosclerotic disease and small vessel damage. These techniques were subsequently applied by hundreds of researchers and have been validated to be useful in assessing the impact of environmental and endogenous factors affecting vascular health.

This is wonderful recognition of David’s outstanding achievements in cardiovascular research,” HRI Director Professor Shaun Jackson says. David is one of Australia’s most outstanding clinical researchers and a great mentor for many of our future leaders in cardiovascular research. From all of us at Heart Research Institute, I’d like to extend our heartfelt congratulations.”

Professor Celermajer is also Scandrett Professor and Head of the Discipline of Cardiology at The University of Sydney and Director of Adult Congenital Heart Services and Pulmonary Hypertension Services at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney. He has contributed over 500 published peer-reviewed articles to the scientific literature, worked with industry to promote new cardiovascular technologies and mentored many young and emerging research leaders.

He was honoured alongside Professor Tania Sorrell from Western Clinical School whose ground-breaking work in fungal microbiology and meningitis was cited.

They were the first two recipients of the Blackburn Medal. The medal commemorates the life’s work of Professor Charles Ruthven Bickerton Blackburn AC, who was a pioneer of clinical research at the University of Sydney. Professor Blackburn was Bosch Professor and Head of the Department of Medicine for 21 years from 1957.

Passionate about the importance of linking research to patient outcomes, he was instrumental in building clinical research capability at the university’s teaching hospitals. The Medal is awarded to a senior member of Sydney Medical School in recognition of a sustained, distinguished and notable contribution to clinical research and demonstrated commitment to mentoring junior colleagues.

Awards photo credit: The University of Sydney

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