A message from the Deputy Head of School and Research Director Professor Nicola Lautenschlager

Professor Nicola Lautenschlager
Professor Nicola Lautenschlager, Deputy Head of School and Research Director

Dear Colleagues,

It is my great pleasure and honour to assume my new role of Deputy Head of School and I look forward to meeting many of you in person in the near future. Our Melbourne Medical School (MMS) team aims to further develop the research portfolio of the MMS through a variety of mechanisms.

We recently learned the outcomes of the NHMRC Investigator Grants and Centres of Research Excellence (CRE). Based on year to date announcements, the University of Melbourne has secured the most funding and the largest number of funded grants/fellowships overall and in the Investigator and CRE schemes.

Congratulations to the nine successful MMS researchers awarded Investigator Grants:

Professor Bruce Campbell Medicine - Royal Melbourne Hospital
Dr Anna Collins Medicine - St Vincent's Hospital
Dr Vanessa Cropley Psychiatry
Dr Maria Di Biase Psychiatry
Dr Roxanne Hastie Obstetrics and Gynaecology
Associate Professor Mandana Nikpour Medicine - St Vincent's Hospital
Professor Fiona Russell Paediatrics
Professor Ingrid Scheffer Medicine - Austin Health
Dr Priya Sumithran Medicine - Austin Health

Nationally, the Investigator scheme success rate by gender was 11.3% females to 14.9% males. The MMS did not follow this trend and we hope to further address the gender gap in funding with supportive initiatives such as our Strategic Grants for Outstanding Women (SGOW).

I am pleased to announce we will once again extend support to researchers in the upcoming Investigator round with the one-on-one review service for Research Impact statements. We will also offer Research Impact Workshops in early October. More information on these initiatives will be released soon.

This year, no doubt, has been a challenge for us all, with having to adjust to the new NHMRC grant schemes. I am aware many research teams in the MMS feel the pressure. I can assure you that the MMS team, in close collaboration with MDHS, does their best to enhance support, especially during this adjustment period.

In addition to the School's success in the Investigator scheme, there were two CREs awarded to MMS researchers. Congratulations to Professor Roland Bammer (Department of Radiology) who will lead the CRE in Neuroimaging and Professor George Patton (Department of Paediatrics) who will lead the CRE in Driving Global Investment in Adolescent Health. More details on their respective research programs is contained within this issue.

Congratulations to the MMS researchers who were recently promoted from Level B to C:

Dr Ada Cheung Medicine - Austin Health
Dr Jess Heerde Paediatrics
Dr Amit Lampit Psychiatry
Dr Rodney Luwor Surgery - Royal Melbourne Hospital
Dr Charles Malpas Medicine - Royal Melbourne Hospital
Dr Jennifer Marino Obstetrics and Gynaecology
Dr Tim Pianta Medical Education
Dr Julian Simmons Psychiatry
Dr Ani Wierenga Paediatrics

This is a significant achievement and the School is proud to provide a supportive environment to develop and nurture outstanding researchers.

We have just opened a call for applications for our annual Publication Prizes which recognise and reward high quality research, encourage recipients to further disseminate their research findings and enhance their track records as they continue to develop their careers in health and medical research.

Publication Prizes are being offered in the following categories:

  • Research Higher Degree students (including MD, PhD and Masters level courses)
  • Early Career Researchers (ECRs)

For more details on the Publication Prizes including eligibility and selection criteria please refer to the MMS Intranet https://medicine.unimelb.edu.au/staff-resources/research-support/updates/2019-mms-publication-prizes (University staff login details required) or email mms-research@unimelb.edu.au.

Finally, the MMS Annual Research Symposium will be held on Thursday, December 5, 2019. This year's program includes an update from our Head of School Professor John Prins on major School initiatives, and presentations from the student and ECR publication prize finalists. Professor Susan Walker and SGOW winner Associate Professor Natalie Hannan will deliver presentations along with NHMRC Investigator Grant awardee Dr Vanessa Cropley.

Date: Thursday, December 5, 2019 from 2:00 – 5:00pm

Location: Stella Langford Wing (Cochrane, Hewlett & Taylor Rooms) in Graduate House, University of Melbourne. 220 Leicester Street, Carlton, Melbourne, VIC, 3053

Registration: FREE via https://mmssymposium.eventbrite.com.au

The Research Symposium provides an ideal opportunity for researchers, students and professional staff involved in research to celebrate the diverse and vibrant research excellence active within the School. It is certainly a great way to finish the year, reflecting on our considerable achievements throughout 2019, and sets the scene for an even more dynamic 2020 at the MMS.

Professor Nicola Lautenschlager
Deputy Head of School

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