The Hunter Medical Research Institute is running a 24-hour research blog blitz titled ‘Research Never Rests’ today (24/7) to highlight the transcontinental spread of research being conducted in the region.
Each is written by researchers actively involved with projects at all points of the planet.
Where locally there were examples of people working in the same building being oblivious to colleagues doing identical research, it is now the age of collaboration and translation across the disease spectrum.
“This is perfectly illustrated by HMRI,” Institute Director Professor Michael Nilsson said.
“What began 16 years ago as a three-way conduit between the University of Newcastle, Hunter New England Health and the community has now assumed an identity radiating far beyond our geographical footprint.”
“If we’re not reaching out to the world, the world is coming to the Hunter. Every continent and culture is represented among the 1400 researchers working here.”
Professor Nilsson is currently in Sweden, actively collaborating with researchers from Sahlgrenska University Hospital on stroke rehabilitation projects.
Closer to home, Dr Bente Talseth-Palmer drives to work from Maitland and collaborates daily with her counterpart, Associate Professor Wenche Sjursen, at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. Both work on the genetics of inherited bowel cancer, having met at a conference in Germany.
Through Canadian-born and former HMRI Researcher of the Year Professor John Attia, data from the Hunter Community Study is helping the global effort to identify genes contributing to lung function, which have obvious implications for asthma and emphysema.
Since 2009, Professor Kypros Kypri and Dr Milton Hasnat have worked on a project examining smokeless tobacco consumption in South Asian immigrants in Australia and among women in Bangladesh.
“Solid foundations are required and the Hunter community is providing that through its donations and support,” Professor Nilsson added. “In return, our researchers are increasingly finding global solutions for what began as local issues.”
The Hunter Medical Research Institute (HMRI) is a translational research institute. Since 1998, its pioneering partnership with the University of Newcastle and Hunter New England Local Health District has delivered key translational health and medical research and technology closely aligned to community health needs.
Throughout Newcastle and the Hunter, more than 1200 clinical and biomedical researchers and support staff are employed across seven HMRI Research Programs, striving to prevent, cure and treat a diverse range of serious illnesses by translating research findings made in the laboratory and through advanced imaging techniques, into real health treatments and preventative strategies for the community.
HMRI provides vital funding and facilities to fuel research, but the heart and soul of the Institute are people, the researchers, the generous donors and supporters, the committed volunteers, and the patients who participate in trials and ultimately benefit from the research results.