An internationally recognised cancer geneticist will tonight be recognised as the Hunter's leading health and medical researcher of 2008 at the Hunter Medical Research Institute (HMRI) Awards Night.
The HMRI Award for Research Excellence, supported by the Sparke Helmore / NBN Television Triathlon, will be awarded to Professor Rodney Scott, a Co-Director of the University of Newcastle's Priority Research Centre for Bioinformatics, Biomarker Discovery and Information Based Medicine and a Co-Director of the HMRI Information Based Medicine Research Program.
Professor Scott is internationally recognised for his research on the genetics of breast and bowel cancer. He initiated a collaboration between biomedical researchers with computer scientists at the University of Newcastle who are internationally renowned for their ability to mathematically analyse large volumes of complex data.
"Professor Scott's research is poised to develop individually-tailored treatments for cancer and other diseases based on the detection of genetic patterns. This is an exciting new frontier in medicine which will lead to health improvements that are not possible with current approaches," said HMRI Director Professor Maree Gleeson.
"Professor Scott is making impressive inroads into understanding and treating diseases that affect our community and humanity. He exemplifies the dedication of a researcher in their thirst for knowledge."
The HMRI Award for Early Career Research, sponsored by PULSE, will be awarded to a promising researcher in the early stage of their career. This year's winner is asthma researcher Dr Jodie Simpson, a Post Doctoral Fellow of the University of Newcastle's Priority Research Centre for Asthma and Respiratory Diseases and a researcher in the HMRI Viruses, Infection/Immunity, Vaccine and Asthma (VIVA) Research Program.
Dr Simpson has pioneered a new area of asthma research, examining inflammation in the airways of asthma patients who do not respond to traditional asthma treatments. Her research has changed the focus of international asthma research through her groundbreaking discoveries. She is currently investigating the use of an antibiotic to reduce the airway inflammation and the promise of this research was recognised in the recent NHMRC grant round with $2.9 million being awarded to the VIVA Asthma Research Team to undertake a national clinical study.
The 2008 HMRI Awards Night is sponsored by Newcastle Innovation. HMRI is a partnership between the University of Newcastle, Hunter New England Health and the community.
The awards will be announced tonight at 8.30pm. Further information on each winner and photographs are available on request. HMRI Director Professor Maree Gleeson is available for interview today regarding the winners.