Media Release: 05 November 2012
The Garvan Institute of Medical Research and St Vincent’s Hospital are pleased to announce the 2013 John Shine Translational Research Fellowships.
The awardees are:
- Dr Ann McCormack, Endocrinologist – Staff Specialist at St Vincent’s Hospital and pituitary researcher at Garvan Institute of Medical Research
- Associate Professor Jackie Center – Senior Staff Specialist at St Vincent’s Hospital; Senior Research Fellow; Group Leader, Dubbo Osteoporosis Epidemiology Study, Bone and Mineral Research Program at Garvan Institute of Medical Research
- Dr Alex Viardot, Endocrinologist – Staff Specialist at St Vincent’s Hospital and diabetes and obesity researcher at Garvan Institute of Medical Research.
Each awardee will receive a total of $150,000 over three years. These funds will provide support to establish new translational research fellowships in Garvan’s research programs; and to support clinicians at St Vincent’s Hospital to undertake translational research at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research and The Kinghorn Cancer Centre.
The John Shine Translational Research Fellowship is named in honour of Professor John Shine AO FAA, Executive Director of the Garvan Institute from 1990-2011. Professor Shine has a distinguished career in medical research, known for his discoveries in gene structure and also for his roles on the NHMRC Council, Australian Academy of Sciences and many scientific advisory panels, as well as his passion for translating scientific discoveries into clinical benefits.
St Vincent’s Hospital CEO, Jonathan Anderson said, “Translational research aims to transform clinically relevant information into effective interventions by identifying a problem in a patient, taking that observation back to the lab, designing a solution, and then working through clinical trials to deliver a solution to patients. The St Vincent’s Campus has long pioneered research that can make a swift transition to the patient bedside and these grants will go a long way towards further fostering this translational culture.”
Professor John Mattick AO FAA, Executive Director of the Garvan Institute of Medical Research added, “Funding for translational research in Australia limited. In particular there are few funding sources to support clinicians wanting to do research. This has long been an issue for Garvan’s aspirations to accelerate discoveries from the bench into the clinic and to truly impact on patient care.”
Dr Ann McCormack
Dr McCormack’s primary research interest relates to the pituitary gland, and covers a number of projects. One research project focuses on pituitary tumours where Dr McCormack is investigating the use of pathological markers as a predictive tool to help determine which pituitary tumours may become an aggressive cancer.
Another project is investigating the Australian prevalence of mutations in a newly recognised gene that is implicated in familial pituitary tumour syndromes.
Another exciting, emerging area of research that Dr Ann McCormack is pursuing aims to gain a better understanding of the role of hormones derived from the pituitary, as well as hormones that communicate with the pituitary, have in a number of diseases such as cancer, osteoporosis, obesity and diabetes. It is hoped that this will identify treatments that can modulate the hormonal environment and thus offer improved outcomes for the millions of patients with these diseases.
Associate Professor Jackie Center
Associate Professor Jackie Center has been involved in the study of osteoporosis for more than 15 years. She is especially interested in the consequences of osteoporosis and osteoporotic fractures, such as why there is an increased risk of premature mortality following a trauma fracture, particularly within the first five years.
At present, we are unable to predict those who do badly after a fracture and this is one of the areas Associate Professor Center is working on. Another major interest is the translation of the finding in mice that novel neural pathways and gut hormones have large effects on bone metabolism and appetite regulation. Center is conducting a study of weight loss in humans, exploring these relationships.
Center is one of the Garvan Dubbo Osteoporosis Epidemiology Study’s (DOES) lead researchers. The results of DOES have, and continue to not only change the way the world thinks about the biology of osteoporosis, but also our knowledge of the effects of this disease and its treatment.
Dr Alexander Viardot
Dr Viardot is involved in basic and clinical research projects that focus on abnormalities in the immune system and appetite suppressing gut hormones in the early development of obesity and Type 2 diabetes. He is particularly interested in the earliest defects which occur many years before diabetes, with the aim of unraveling the primary defects and underlying disease mechanism. He is also studying subjects with Prader-Willi Syndrome, a known genetic cause of obesity associated with impaired appetite regulation, aiming to identify new treatment options.
Another new research area is the development of personalised algorithms for the treatment of Type 2 diabetes. Knowing that not all patients respond equally to the available medicines, he will explore novel ways how to predict which drugs will work best in any individual patient, making the treatment more efficient by simultaneously reducing side effects and costs. Dr Viardot hopes that this will lead to new ways of treating and managing Type 2 diabetes.
Kylie Ironside, Garvan Research Foundation
Ph. 02 9295 8116
David Faktor, St Vincent’s Hospital
Ph. 02 8382 2866
ABOUT ST. VINCENT'S HOSPITAL
St Vincent’s Hospital, Sydney is Australia’s second oldest hospital. The Hospital forms the centre of one of the country’s largest research and biotechnology precincts on which several prominent research institutes are located. A major public tertiary and teaching hospital, St Vincent’s has a long-standing reputation for both its research focus and treating high acuity and complex patients, attracting referrals on a state-wide and national basis.