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ANZAC Research Institute


Professor DJ Handelsman

In moving towards the end of our first decade, we complete another year of research discoveries, continued success in competitive external grant funding, training new research scientists and publishing papers in top international journals. An overview of this exciting work is outlined in the following pages from the Institute’s research groups, each an international leader. With much to be proud of, it remains a challenge to maintain such an excellent record.

 Since opening in 2000, the ANZAC Research Institute is among Australia’s top medical research institutes and the fastest growing in NSW. Located on the grounds of Concord Hospital, it has earned a reputation for scientific excellence within its overall theme of Ageing with work covering andrology, burns, cancer, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, neurodegenerative disease and dementia, and population research into ageing and the health of veterans. Recognized by the NHMRC and NSW government as a independent medical research institute, we provide a scientific home to over 130 scientists including 40 graduate (PhD) students. Altogether we earn an annual external grant-based income of over $7 million and produce 150 scientific papers per year in top journals. The ANZAC continues to maintain a high success rate with over 50% success in NHMRC Project Grants.

A major milestone this year was Prime Minister Rudd opening the Bernie Banton Centre in January 2009. Located next door to the ANZAC Research Institute, the Bernie Banton Centre houses the Asbestos Disease Research Institute (ADRI), a world’s first research facility dedicated to research into asbestos related diseases especially mesothelioma, on the ground floor with an extension to the ANZAC Research Institute laboratories on the upper floor. At the opening, PM Rudd announced the Commonwealth’s contribution of $5 million to complete the Centre including construction of a new translational research facility. The ANZAC Research Institute’s scientists are eagerly looking forward to supporting ADRI in its start-up phase under its inaugural Director, Professor Nico van Zandwijk and principal scientist Dr Glen Reid.

The ANZAC Research Institute’s role is to serve as the dedicated medical research institute for Concord Hospital. Each research group is headed by individuals closely affiliated with Hospital departments. Such strong linkages ensure a close alignment of research with the needs to improve medical practice through translational research. We are therefore ideally placed to drive the best research from basic discovery science to applications in clinical, translational, public health and health services research. Such a tight integration of active medical research is the only guarantee for any modern teaching hospital of maintaining highest standards of medical care through continual fresh input from discoveries all over the world. A medical research institute with high academic standing serves a Hospital by attracting top academic physicians, researchers and trainees from around the country and overseas. This model of mutual enrichment between a teaching hospital and its medical research institute is, however, under threat from not only the general climate of economic uncertainty but also specific pressures from the government sector that threaten the vital infrastructure funding which keeps our doors open and our scientists working in their labs. Doing high quality medical research is costly in the short term but makes an exceptional long-term investment in better health and medical care. Only strong community support which recognizes the value of medical research can keep the Institute going strong.This Report is my chance to give public thanks to the many who make this work possible. The Institute could not work as successfully without the skill, commitment and untiring work of our terrific administrative team - Justin Crosbie, Tracey Dent, Annet Doss, Candice Chang, Mark Jimenez, Mamdouh Khalil, Pam McDowell, Julie Taranto & Lilian Tay. They make the necessary work go lightly – it is a pleasure to thank them most sincerely. Thanks also to the General Managers of Concord Hospital, Danny O’Connor and Gary Miller, for their reliable support on behalf of the Sydney South West Area Health Service. Similarly, the support of the University of Sydney Medical School, and Professor David Cook in particular, is gratefully appreciated. Thanks are also due to John Gatfield for editing of our newsletter Discovery. Finally, it is a pleasure to thank Felicity Barr, the Chair and her Board, for their unwavering support and commitment to making the Institute grow to be the best it can. Above all, it is a privilege to work in the challenging and productive environment created by the Institute’s scientists and I am grateful to them always for their quiet, inspiring efforts which make all obstacles worth overcoming.

 
David Handelsman - Director
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