NHMRC Research Excellence Awards

Two researchers from the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences have received 2019 National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Research Excellence Awards - supporting research preventing STIs and understanding how to improve blood transfusion outcomes.

Research Excellence Awards are awarded annually to top-ranked researchers and teams following peer review of applications to NHMRC’s highly competitive grant schemes. The awards went to:

A multidisciplinary approach to understanding the transmission dynamics and the control of sexually transmitted infections: Associate Professor Eric Chow

Gonorrhoea and syphilis are common sexually transmitted infections and the rates are rising in Australia. Gonorrhoea may become untreatable in the future due to the rise in antibiotic resistance. Exploring a non-antibiotic (mouthwash) treatment is needed.

Professor Chow will use a multidisciplinary approach to understand the transmission dynamics of STIs and explore novel non-antibiotics approaches for gonorrhoea prevention and control (e.g. antiseptic mouthwash) to reduce the use of antibiotics in the era of multidrug resistance.

"We are aiming to translate the findings from this research into clinical practice for STI management, and hence lead to potential changes in national and international guidelines. Our work has the potential to reduce the burden of STIs and also improve sex life and relationship of the individuals. This award provides me with a great opportunity to continue my research,” said Associate Professor Chow.

Addressing Australia’s national transfusion research priorities: Professor Erica Wood

Blood transfusion is an essential part of modern healthcare. However, it carries risks and costs, and evidence for how we use blood remains weak in many areas. To address national transfusion research priorities, Professor Wood will use clinical registries, and observational and interventional studies to describe how blood is used in Australia, and how its use can be improved, focusing on transfusion in major haemorrhage, blood cancers and critically ill patients in intensive care, and use of immunoglobulins.

“Because blood transfusions can save lives, but also carry risks, it’s essential to ensure that blood is being used in an evidence-based way – and currently the evidence for much of our practice is very weak” said Professor Wood.

“We spend more than a billion dollars annually in Australia on blood supplies, but that number only includes the cost of the products, not the costs of all the hospital activities every day around the country to safely complete a blood transfusion.

Provost and Senior Vice-President Professor Marc Parlange congratulated the award recipients and said the results confirmed Monash University’s world class excellence in health sciences and biomedical innovation.

“Monash is consistently recognised as an Australian pioneer for transformative medical research. The announcement of these two prestigious NHMRC Research Excellence Awards will extend that record even further.”

“My warmest congratulations to Professor Erica Wood and Associate Professor Eric Chow for their remarkable achievement.”

For more information on the NHMRC, visit: https://www.nhmrc.gov.au/about-us/nhmrc-awards