Researchers honoured with NHMRC Awards

28 June 2018
Research into cardiovascular disease, back pain, kidney disease and brain injury has been recognised at the NHMRC Excellence Awards.

Four University of Sydney researchers were last night honoured at the National Health and Medical Research Council’s (NHMRC) annual Research Excellence Awards in Canberra. The prestigious awards recognise recent outstanding performance in the health and medical research field. 

“Considering NHMRC received over 5,400 applications last year, these are truly great achievements,” said NHMRC CEO Professor Anne Kelso. 

The recipients from the University of Sydney are:

Professor Gemma Figtree - Practitioner Fellowship 

Gemma Figtree

Early detection and treatment of cardiovascular disease

Professor Figtree’s work has brought to global attention the increasing number of people who present with heart attacks despite showing minimal risk factors. Her research aims to improve early detection and treatment for cardiovascular disease, by identifying new markers and mechanisms of coronary disease, particularly in those with no traditional risk factors.

Associate Professor Germaine Wong - Career Development Fellowship

Improving the health of young people with chronic kidney disease 

Germaine Wong

Kidney disease is a devastating illness in children and can lead to reduced quality of life and premature death. Associate Professor Wong’s work aims to determine the social, biological and environmental factors during childhood and young adulthood that may affect kidney disease risk and health outcomes in later life. Her goal is to design, develop and implement new strategies to transform health in this vulnerable and disadvantaged population.


Professor Leanne Togher – Elizabeth Blackburn Fellowship (Clinical)

Improving communication after traumatic brain injury

Leanne Togher

Professor Togher’s work has led to new ways of improving communication skills and therefore the every day lives of people with traumatic brain injury, even years after their accident. She has developed innovative training for people with brain injury and their communication partners including family, friends, carers and community stakeholders such as the police. Her latest research uses digital health and technology to make this novel treatment more widely available.


Associate Professor Paulo Ferreira – Career Development Fellowship

How physical activity affects back pain

Paulo Ferreira

Associate Professor Ferreira’s research has helped Australians to understand which treatments work and do not work for back pain. It has also helped people to choose which types of physical activity may be beneficial or harmful for low back pain and is examining the impact of patient-centred physical activity programs, with the support of e-health technology. Through a twin study, Associate Professor Ferreira aims to bridge the gap between genetics and back pain.


Michelle Blowes

Media and PR Adviser (Health)

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