University of Sydney researcher wins coveted $8 million Snow Fellowship

28 March 2023
Lining (Arnold) Ju announced as University's first Snow Fellow
The Snow Medical Research Foundation (Snow Medical) has awarded Associate Professor Lining (Arnold) Ju and his team from the University of Sydney's School of Biomedical Engineering an $8 million Fellowship.

Image: Professor Ju’s micro-device is being developed to help monitor blood for dangerous changes and potential clots. Credit: University of Sydney

The Fellowship will support the development of a micro-device that monitors and alerts people at risk of a heart attack or stroke to dangerous changes in the blood and possible clots.

Associate Professor Ju is the first engineer and University of Sydney recipient of the Fellowship. This year, he is one of only two emerging medical researchers, including Dr Michelle Boyle from the Burnet Institute in Melbourne, who will receive a million dollars a year for eight years, creating an unprecedented level of long-term support for their work. The Snow Fellowships are provided by the Snow Family, through Snow Medical, in recognition of the exceptional, visionary work the Fellows, and their teams, are doing in their chosen biomedical field.

“The impact of this Fellowship cannot be overstated. I congratulate Associate Professor Ju and his team on this powerful endorsement of their research which has the potential to save the lives of countless people both in Australia and around the world. I applaud Snow Medical Research Foundation (Snow Medical) for their generosity and commitment to the future of medicine and to accelerating the possibilities of this research,” said Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Mark Scott AO.

“We are proud and grateful to work with Snow Medical in mutually pursuing the ambitious goal of undertaking world-class research to solve global challenges.”

Professor Ju and his team. Credit: University of Sydney

Associate Professor Ju is an award-winning biomedical engineer who applies engineering principles to understand the cardiovascular system at molecular and cellular scales, leading the development of microtechnologies to monitor changes in the blood.

Associate Professor Ju said: "I'm incredibly honoured to have been awarded the Snow Fellowship and I would like to express my sincere gratitude for their trust and support in our work.

"The road from research and development to the deployment of new medical devices is often challenging. The Fellowship, which provides unparalleled and sustained funding for eight years, will give us the necessary support to navigate this journey.”

University of Sydney Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Emma Johnston congratulated Associate Professor Ju and thanked Snow Medical and the Snow family for their support: “We are immensely proud of Arnold – the University’s first Snow Fellow. Arnold is an exciting young engineer and physicist whose multidisciplinary work is set to revolutionise cardiovascular health in Australia and globally.

"The remarkable generosity of the Snow family and the Snow Medical Research Foundation in funding these 8-year fellowships is truly transformational. Their vision is accelerating the ambitious research of extraordinary talents like Arnold."

The impact of this Fellowship cannot be overstated. I congratulate Associate Professor Ju and his team on this powerful endorsement of their research which has the potential to save the lives of countless people both in Australia and around the world.
University of Sydney Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Mark Scott AO

The Snow Fellowship will support Dr Ju and his team to investigate cardiovascular mechanobiology at a cellular and biomolecular level, allowing them to gain insight into how sticky blood clots are triggered. This knowledge will be the foundation for the development of cutting-edge biomechanical nanotools and analysis that will form the basis of a clinical grade micro-device to predict blood clot tendency.

"Heart attacks are the leading cause of death globally. With Snow Medical's generous support, we’re hopeful we can make significant progress towards developing a finger prick test and device that can detect early signs of blood clots and alert individuals before a heart attack or stroke happens,” said Associate Professor Ju who heads the University’s Mechanobiology and Biomechanics Laboratory (MBL).

Associate Professor Ju is motivated by his family's experience with heart disease and his desire to make a difference to the lives of those at risk of heart attacks and strokes.

“The motivation for my research is personal,” he said. “My father had a heart attack when he was just 54 years old, inspiring my personal quest to build a simple test to notify people at risk of developing a deadly blood clot.”

Associate Professor Hu's research inspiration is his father, Li Hu. Credit: Associate Professor Lining (Arnold) Ju.

The additional $16 million investment for these two new Fellowships brings Snow Medical’s commitment to the medical research sector to over $100 million since its establishment in 2020.

"Michelle Boyle and Lining Ju are amongst the best biomedical researchers globally. They join nine other truly outstanding Snow Fellows across Australia. Our Snow Fellows have the passion, dedication, and vision to make a real difference in the world, and we are excited to see how they will push the boundaries for science," said Snow Medical Chair Tom Snow.

"Snow Medical wants the best minds in the country focused on solving the world’s big problems instead of being wasted chasing funding. The existing system of short-term funding cycles creates a rut for our brilliant researchers, cutting back their ability to make a difference. We wanted to change that. Our 11 Snow Fellows, and their teams, are changing the face of healthcare in Australia and globally.

“Our family recognised that short term funding cycles were creating a rut for many of our brilliant and highly advanced researchers, with these research teams and their institutions, spending too much time securing capital, cutting back their ability to make a difference. We wanted to change that."

Micro-device designed to monitor the blood for dangerous changes

Snow Medical Founder Terry Snow added: “I want this funding to change the status quo, I don’t want our Snow Fellows wasting time applying for short term funding. I want them to take this opportunity, use it to do what they do best, and get on with the business of research; to push the boundaries of what's possible."

"Without investing in the people who will drive innovation and take risks, we're missing the point. By supporting Australia’s brightest minds to lead the way, they’ll find solutions that will make a real difference in people's lives."

The Snow Fellowship Announcement comes on the back of a recent announcement by Snow Medical of a new Gender Equality Benchmark that assesses gender equality in education institutions, across thirty-two gender equality measures in three key areas: women’s inclusion in senior leadership, recognition of women through awards such as honorary doctorates, and the promotion and recruitment of women in scientific staff. Results of the benchmarking will determine eligibility for future Snow Medical funding.

About Associate Professor Arnold Ju

Associate Professor Ju received his PhD in Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University, before working at the Australian Centre for Blood Diseases and the Heart Research Institute. He has received numerous awards, including the Royal Society of NSW Edgeworth David Medal, and was recognised as an Innovator Under 35 by MIT Technology Review in 2021 and a Young Tall Poppy Science Award Winner in 2020. He is a member of Sydney Nano and the Charles Perkins Centre. 

About Snow Medical Research Foundation
The Snow Medical Research Foundation (Snow Medical) is the creation of Canberra’s Snow family and is a vision of businessman and philanthropist, Terry Snow. Snow Medical’s pivotal program, the Snow Fellowships, targets emerging global research leaders that show the potential to drive, manage and influence the next generation of health and medical innovation.

The eight-year Snow Fellowship, funded at up to $1 million per year, provides outstanding biomedical researchers the independence to focus on building ambitious multidisciplinary research programs and teams capable of changing the face of healthcare in Australia and globally.

Luisa Low

Media and PR Adviser (Engineering & IT)

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