Award-winning Monash researcher named a finalist in the prestigious Eureka Prize

Dr Francine Marques
Eureka Prize finalist Dr Francine Marques.
Credit: Steve Morton.

An internationally renowned Monash researcher, whose work could change the way high blood pressure is treated, has been named a finalist in the prestigious Australian Museum Eureka Prizes.

Dr Francine Marques, from the Monash School of Biological Sciences has an impressive record in researching high blood pressure. She heads the Monash Hypertension Research Laboratory and is a National Heart Foundation Future Leader Fellow.

High blood pressure, or hypertension, is known as a ‘silent disease’ and affects one in three adults in Australia. Two thirds of people diagnosed with hypertension are either not treated or their blood pressure is not controlled with available medication.

News of Dr Marques’ nomination as an Australian Museum Eureka Prize finalist comes just days after she was named the 2019 Harry Goldblatt Awardee for New Investigators by the American Heart Association Council on Hypertension.

The Australian Museum Eureka Prizes are the country’s most comprehensive national science awards, honouring excellence across the areas of research and innovation, leadership, science engagement, and school science.

Eight academics from Monash have been nominated for an Australian Museum Eureka Prize. Researchers from the School of Biological Sciences, Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute, and the Faculty of Engineering are in the running for one of 17 awards across four categories:

  • Research and Innovation
  • Leadership
  • Science Engagement
  • School Science

Dr Marques has been recognised in the category of ‘Emerging Leader in Science’ – a prize awarded to a scientist who has used their leadership skills to create impact inside their institution, amongst their peers, within their discipline.

Winners of the 2019 Australian Museum Eureka Prizes will be announced on 28 August.

“I’ve always believed that every person should have the right to age healthily,” Dr Marques said.

“My health was taken away from me when I was 31 and I’m now passionate about educating the public about science.

“I am honoured to be a named a finalist for the Eureka Prize – a peak national award that recognises excellence in science.”

Dr Marques is currently leading a clinical trial funded by the National Heart Foundation to determine if dietary fibre supplements, which produce high levels of beneficial gut metabolites as a result of microbial fermentation, could be used as a new strategy to lower blood pressure.

“We are recruiting participants for this exciting clinical trial to test if a food supplement that acts on gut bacteria can lower blood pressure,” Dr Marques said.

“We expect to find similar blood pressure-lowering results as the ones we saw in pre-clinical models,” she said.

“We are very excited about the opportunity to go from bench-to-bedside research in just a few short years, which is unusual for medical research.”

Watch Dr Marques on video here.


Media enquiries:
Silvia Dropulich
Marketing, Media & Communications Manager, Monash Science
T: +61 3 9902 4513 M: +61 (0) 0435138743
Email: silvia.dropulich@monash.edu

For further information about being involved in the trial, see:
www.marqueslab.com/gut or contact:
Principal investigator: Dr Francine Marques
P: 03-9905 6958
E: francine.marques@monash.edu

Or

Study coordinator: Dakota Rhys-Jones
P: 039905 8098
E: Dakota.rhys-jones@monash.edu