The Faculty Research Award

This Award is presented to a senior researcher in recognition of having made a sustained and outstanding contribution to the Faculty's research. This award reflects excellence in the application knowledge to any aspect of the Faculty's research.

2022 Mark Febbraio

Professor Mark Febbraio’s research is focused on understanding mechanisms associated with exercise, obesity, type 2 diabetes and cancer and his aim is to develop novel drugs to treat lifestyle related diseases.

He has authored over 280 peer reviewed papers in leading journals such as Nature, Cell, Nature Immunology, Cell Metabolism, has over 45,000 career citations and an H index of 118.

Professor Febbraio has been awarded ~$16M in competitive research grants over his career, including 5 Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Project grants, 20 National Health and Medical Research Council Project (NHMRC), Development or Investigator Grants. He has been continuously funded as a Research Fellow of the NHMRC since 2003.

2021 Nicolas Voelcker

Nicolas Voelcker’s research focuses on the use of materials and surface coatings for use in medicine, be it for drug delivery (e.g. targeted nanoparticles), gene delivery (e.g. mechanotransfection by arrays of nanoneedles), for cell therapy and tissue engineering (e.g. materials supporting T-cell expansion) and diagnostics (point of care and wearable biosensors). Definitely a pretty broad portfolio. As the Director of the Melbourne Centre for Nanofabrication, he also supports many translational research activities by start-ups and SME in the medical technology sector.

Nico has over 440 publications since his first one in 1999, attracting over 17,000 citations (h index 60). He publishes on average over 30 papers per year over the last 5 years. In 2021, he has already published (incl accepted for publication) 15 papers with impact factor over 10, including 2 papers in Nature Nanotech and 1 in Nature Protocols. He has filed 42 patents with four of them supporting start-ups.

He is currently funded by the ARC, NHMRC, CSIRO, AU Defence and US Defense, as well as the Australia-India Strategic Research Fund. In total he has been awarded more than $85M in total in grant funding as CI or co-CI since applying for his first competitive grant in 2003, of which more than $13M was as lead CI having conceived the idea for the grant. He is a Theme Leader and Deputy Director for Translational Research Program in the ARC Training Centre for Personalised Therapeutics Technologies, and Theme Leader for Engineering Process Efficiencies Theme in the ARC Training Centre for Cell and Tissue Engineering Technologies.

2019 Jonathan Baell

Jonathan Baell’s impactful work in the area of high-throughput screening library design and hit-triage guidelines, and his coining of the term PAINS is highly valued and recognized nationally and internationally.

Also impressive is his extensive contribution to discovery of pharmacons across a wide range of important therapeutic areas. This work has resulted in an enviable portfolio of patents and licence agreements for his chemical entities some of which have already reached clinical trials.

Jonathan has amassed an imposing list of highly cited papers in high impact journals, including those in the Nature family. Since 2014, he has published 62 papers being a lead author on more than half (33), with total impact factor points 480 and representing 1793 citations.

Furthermore, competitive research funding awarded to Jonathan from 2012 onwards includes: NHMRC and ARC funding $11.6M (11 grants as CIA); from NCRIS-TIA $1.4M; while $2.1M has been awarded from international schemes, including a personally driven AISRF (CIA – $1M), representing the only AISRF drug discovery project in either Australia or India.

2018 Roger Summers

Roger Summers is internationally recognised for his work on the molecular pharmacology of G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) focussed particularly on understanding signal transduction mechanisms utilised by GPCRs with emphasis on ligand-directed signalling bias and the role of receptor scaffolding protein complexes in GPCR function.

Roger has >300 peer-reviewed publications, four patents and >400 abstracts presented at scientific meetings, attracting >10800 citations and achieving an h-index of 60.

Furthermore, Roger has received >$35 million in research funding since 2010 (in collaboration with other researchers) supported by the pharmaceutical industry, the National Health and Medical Research Council (NH&MRC) and the Australian Research Council (ARC).  Roger is currently a Chief Investigator (CI) on an NH&MRC Program Grant (for funding in 2013-2018).

2017 Patrick Sexton

Patrick Sexton’s major contributions to science, including consistent publication in the highest ranked specialist and generalist journals: 81 papers (including Nature(4); Cell(3), JACS, Nature Comms(2); Nature Chem Biol(1); PNAS(3); Chem Rev; Pharmacol Rev(2); Nature; Nature Rev Drug Discov(2); Nature Chem Biol; TiPS(2)) - 7 of his original research papers and 3 reviews have been highlighted by F1000 Prime - and numerous invitations to speak at meetings (2 National and 27 International since 2013), including 2 Gordon and 3 Keystone meetings, and Keynote presentations to the US Endocrine Society, Shanghai QMB, and CGRP 2014 meetings. Additional markers of his international standing include his new appointments to Editorial boards (Assoc. Editor, Pharmacol Reviews; Editorial board, J Pharmacol Exp Ther), consultancy roles, and continued involvement in national and international peer review.

Patrick received (i) major awards including ASCEPT Lecturer (2014; ASCEPT), Thomson Reuters Citation Award (2015, Biology and Biochemistry), GSK Award for Research Excellence (2016), and the Vane Medal (2017, British Pharmacol Soc), as well as being recognised as a Clarivate Analytics Highly Cited Researcher in Pharmacology and Toxicology (2014, 2016) and  (ii) new grants valued at >$35M (NHMRC Program, NHMRC project, Wellcome Trust, ARC Linkage, Servier renewal, Lilly Research Award Program).

Within the faculty, Patrick continues to play a leadership role for the development of the Drug Discovery Biology theme which include development of the imaging core, capability in structural biology, mentoring of staff for grants and fellowship applications, oversight of the implementation of the DDB therapeutic symposium program and oversight of the new DDB Doctoral training program. He is also a regular contributor to review of grants for both external and internal funding.
Read more about Patrick's current research, publications and grants and Sexton Laboratory.

2016 Benjamin Boyd

Ben has built a national and international reputation for high quality research in the fields of colloid and surface science, and the application of fundamental science to solve pharmaceutical problems. He has pioneered the use of new techniques in his field, and has a talent for identifying creative ways to apply physicochemical phenomena in drug delivery.

Ben’s productivity over several years has been outstanding, and has been accelerating in recent years. He has published over 60 papers since 2014, the majority of which he submitted as corresponding author directly from his research group. Many of these publications are in leading journals in his field. This is a remarkable achievement which reflects Ben’s skill and leadership in building a highly productive research group. The group has momentum, continues to grow and I expect that Ben will continue to be as productive.
Read more about Ben's current research, publications and grants.

2015 Nigel Bunnett

Nigel Bunnett has devoted his research career to the understanding of the mechanisms of inflammation and pain.  In 2015 as the recipient of the Faculty Research Award, Nigel is highly revered in his field with over 260 research publications and 31 reviews with over 20,000 citations.  Nigel is a current NHMRC Australia Fellow maintaining a broad and diverse research funding (NHMRC Program Grant, Project Grants; ARC Funding Schemes and the collaborative partnership with Takeda).  He has a high profile international scientific and clinical research reputation and the faculty congratulates him as an exemplary researchers, a research leader and a generous mentor and collaborator.

2014 Jian Li

In 2014 when he received this award, Jian Li had been at the forefront of polymyxin pharmacology and the design of novel lipopeptides against Gram-negative 'superbugs' for 15 years.  Jian has a major track-record in his field with 140 publications; 3300 citations; and an h-index of 30.  His contributions have also be recognised and rewarded with national (e.g. NHMRC/ARC) and international (e.g. NIH) grants; with 2 recent NIH grants of USD$13M.  Jian is also a key member of the NIH/NIAID Colistin Working Group: and the planning group of the International Society of Anti-infective Pharmacology.
Read more about Jian's current research, publications and grants.

2013 Ray Norton

2013 recipient, Professor Ray Norton was recognised by his peers and the selection committee for his place at the forefront of biomolecular NMR and its application for over 25 years. Ray is highly revered in his field with over 290 publications, 7500 citations and an h-index of 45. Since joining Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, he has established a lab with a team of 20 researchers and received 5 NHMRC grants, a NIH grant and an ARC Linkage grant. His research has played a major role in the translation of the biology of a ShK analogue for Multiple Sclerosis (MS) into clinical trials. Ray has a compelling vision for fragment-based drug design and the optimisation of peptides as therapeutics.
Read more about Ray's research, publications and grants.

2012 Patrick Sexton

Professor Patrick Sexton is the Theme Leader, Drug Discovery Biology. When he received this award in 2012, his reputation as an international leader in understanding allosteric interactions of GPCRs; ligand-directed signal bias; and Family B GPCR structure-functions was further reinforced. Since 2007, Patrick has published 81 publications and attracted $31M in research funding. He is acknowledged across his profession as a generous contributor of ideas and time to his colleagues and as a major innovator and thought-leader.
Read more about Patrick's current research, publications and grants.

2011 Arthur Christopoulos

Professor Arthur Christopoulos received the award in 2011 his fundamental contributions in applying analytical pharmacology to study allosteric modulation of GPCR and functional selectivity (ligand biased-signalling). His research as helped define the field and he is ranked within the top 1-2% of scientists within the field of pharmacology and pharmaceutical sciences.
Read more about Arthur's current research, publications and grants.

2009 Roger Nation

In 2009 when he received this award, Roger Nation had established an international, high-impact reputation for his work with colistin as an antibiotic treatment particularly against multidrug-resistant, "superbug" bacteria.
Read more about Roger's current research, publications and grants.

2007 Chris Porter

Professor Chris Porter is highly regarded by his peers within the international pharmaceutical science community. His record of achievements is exceptional, including winning the Faculty Research Award in 2007 for his research on the fundamentals of how drugs are absorbed and distributed to their sites of action. Chris' work aims to develop drug delivery systems to enhance clinical utility.
Read more about Chris' current research, publications and grants.

2005 Susan Charman

In 2005 when she received this award, Susan Charman had achieved major international recognition, particularly in the fight against multi-drug resistant malaria. A particular highlight at the time, was her work on the new synthetic drug OZ277 which was published in Nature, and human-based clinical trials of this highly effective anti-malarial were underway.
Read more about Susan's current research, publications and grants.