Message from the Head of School

Although the year is drawing to a close, news of achievements continues to arrive. Just announced is the second round of seed funding grants from the Baker Department of Cardiometabolic Health, within the Melbourne Medical School. The seed funding, to the value of $500,000, will help progress four research projects that build collaboration between the Baker Institute and the University of Melbourne and with potential to achieve external grant funding.

Funding was awarded to teams led by Associate Professor Melinda Carrington, Professor Jonathan Shaw, Dr Erin Howden and Professor Amanda Ellis respectively for projects that pursue technology and other interventions that treat heart disease and diabetes. Congratulations to all involved.

Congratulations also to the inaugural MACH-Track candidates Dr Emma Boehm, Dr Thomas Lew, Dr Ryan McMahon, Dr Maitri Munsi and Dr Brent Venning. MACH-Track is a structured, mentored and fully-funded career development program for exceptional research-minded doctors undertaking vocational training in accredited hospital specialties, or general practice.

I'm also delighted for the 31 colleagues across the Faculty who have just been announced as 2021 Dame Kate Campbell Fellows, awarded to high-performing researchers at levels C-E. Those recognised from our school include Dr Vanessa Cropley, Department of Psychiatry; Dr Priya Sumithran, Department of Medicine – Austin Health; Dr Tamsyn Van Rheenan, Department of Psychiatry; Associate Professor Daniel Buchanan, Department of Clinical Pathology; Associate Professor Elif Ekinci, Department of Medicine – Austin Health; Associate Professor Tomas Kalincik, Department of Medicine – RMH; Associate Professor Tu'uhevaha Lino, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology; and Associate Professor Brett Manley, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

We celebrated some remarkable individual achievements too including Doherty Institute Director Professor Sharon Lewin’s Melbourne 2020 Achiever Award from the City of Melbourne. The award was bestowed in recognition of Professor Lewin’s global leadership in health and biotechnology and her role in responding to the major pandemic threats of our time including HIV and COVID-19.

Professor Lewin is one of several local heroes in Australia’s response to COVID-19 and there are many amongst you, particularly those who have worked on the frontline of the pandemic whether in hospitals, DHHS, mental health and other clinical settings. Thank you all for your tremendous efforts in helping to get on top of the virus, which has meant that we are able to enjoy the festive season and head into 2021 with optimism.  

Finally, I wanted to thank all of you – our educators, researchers and professional staff – for adapting to the various challenges 2020 threw at us, moving our teaching online, adapting our home environments to become offices and classrooms, and achieving our best-ever year in terms of research performance. To our students too, I thank them for their flexibility, tenacity and cooperation. I already knew they were an impressive bunch but I am even more admiring now and convinced of their bright futures.

What the School has achieved over the past 12 months has been remarkable, particularly given the circumstances, and I’m very appreciative of your efforts. I trust you will enjoy the festive season and join me in looking forward to a prosperous 2021 for the MMS. 

Best regards, 

John Prins 
Head of School