University researchers scoop 2012 Premier's Awards for Health and Medical Research
Dr Stefan Gehrig has been awarded the prestigious 2012 Premier's Award for Health and Medical Research, for a discovery into a potential treatment for muscular dystrophy. The three commendations all went to Melbourne researchers.
Dr Gehrig's award recognises achievement by Victoria's early career health and medical researchers. The Department of Physiology where Dr Gehrig conducted the research, also received the $30,000 Jack and Robert Smorgon Families Award.
Dr Gehrig said it was a great honour to receive the award.
"Many of the past winners have gone on to have highly distinguished careers in medical research and I hope I can follow in their footsteps," he said.
This award recognises five years' of research dedication, encompassing doctoral and early post-doctoral research. This will hopefully lead to more research funding directed towards delivering treatments to people afflicted with muscular dystrophy.
Professor Gordon Lynch, Head of the Department of Physiology and mentor to Dr Gehrig said it was a great honour for his department.
"This is a great honour and wonderful recognition for Dr Gehrig's research which we hope will soon be able to make a positive impact to the lives of so many young boys living with muscular dystrophy," he said.
Three other University applicants received commendations for their work and were each presented with $8,000 for their outstanding contribution in the field of health and medical research:
Dr Sophie Valkenburg, a University of Melbourne PhD student at the Department of Microbiology and Immunology was awarded for her research on the role of T-cells to recognise and protect against different influenza viruses.
Mr Michael Livingston, a researcher with Turning Point Alcohol and Drug Centre, was recognised for his work on the availability of alcohol and its effect on consumption, health and social problems. His research has led to changes in alcohol regulation in Victoria. Mr Livingston undertook his PhD at the University of Melbourne's Centre for Health and Society.
Dr Elena Tucker, a researcher with the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, was commended for her work into mitochondrial disease - characterised by an inability to generate the energy required for normal bodily functions and often with fatal consequences. Dr Tucker undertook her PhD at the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute through the University of Melbourne's Department of Paediatrics.