NHMRC Excellence Award success for Monash

It was a great night for Monash Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences in Canberra on Wednesday 27 June. Twenty of Australia’s finest health and medical researchers were honoured at the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) annual Research Excellence Awards.

Among them, three of our very own outstanding researchers:  Associate Professor James Bourne (ARMI), Doctor Trisha Peel (Central Clinical School) and Doctor Joanne McKenzie (School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine).


Photo/s supplied by NHMRC – photographer Irene Dowdy

Associate Professor Bourne took home one of most prestigious accolades, the Marshall and Warren Award, for the most innovative project with potential to change the way an illness or disease is diagnosed, treated or prevented. Associate Professor Bourne’s research seeks to better understand the complex circuits between the brain and the eye, with the goal to help people recovering from brain injury and children experiencing difficulty with their vision. His work has identified why children with a visual brain injury often recover better than adults with similar damage. “The knowledge we have gained provides important clues as to how we could better treat brain injury in patients of all ages. Our research will also help children who start to show early signs of movement and vision problems, by clarifying why they may be experiencing those problems and how we might overcome these challenges”, Professor Bourne explains.

“I am extremely honoured to receive this award”, he adds. “It is testament to the innovative and transformative work of my remarkable team. This is not just an award to me but to the great scientists, students and collaborators in Australia and overseas with whom I have been very fortunate to work.”

Dr Trisha Peel was recognised for her research in optimising patient outcomes after surgery, focusing on prevention of infection and optimal use of antimicrobials in the operating theatre. In charge of the Infectious Diseases, she is also the lead investigator on the NHMRC funded world-leading ASAP trial which examines surgical antimicrobial prophylaxis in 4450 patients undergoing orthopaedic surgery. “Receiving this award really inspires me to continue on my chosen path”, she says. “The ultimate goal of my research is to provide high-quality, evidence-based care for patients undergoing surgery, to improve patient outcomes and tackle the emergence of antimicrobial resistance.”

Developing and evaluating statistical methods and methodology for systematic reviews is the key focus of Dr Joanne McKenzie’s work in the School of Public Health and Preventative Medicine. “My research focuses on ensuring evidence-based methods are used in randomised trials and systematic reviews”, she explains. “This is an important part of science because the methods we use in research determine whether we get the right answer and this is essential for ensuring that research improves health.”

Keen to find out how Monash Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences seeks to improve outcomes for patients and communities on a global scale? Find out more about our research today.