Posted on 07. Jun, 2010 in Clayton Update

A breakthrough in understanding why organs are rejected after transplants has won Victorian medical researcher Dr Julia Archbold the 2010 Premier’s Award for Health and Medical Research.

The Premier, John Brumby, presented Dr Archbold and other winners with awards and prize money at a ceremony at Government House today.

He also announced funding for two high performance computers at the Australian Synchrotron at Monash University.

Mr Brumby said the Award for Health and Medical Research recognised the exceptional achievements of Victoria’s young researchers.  

“The Awards are an initiative of the Victorian Government and the Australian Society for Medical Research and are presented annually to outstanding Victorian postgraduate health or medical research scholars,” Mr Brumby said.

“Dr Archbold’s research provided groundbreaking insights into organ donation strategies and ways to prevent organ transplant rejection.  

“Her discoveries are potentially beneficial for the 1,700 Australians on waiting lists for life-saving organ transplants.

“This research has received international attention and is a clear demonstration of the strength and ability of Victoria’s young scientists to lead the world in medical research. It also demonstrates why Victoria is on the way to becoming one of the top five centres in the world for biotechnology.”

Dr Archbold is based at Monash University and her research has been published in 11 journals and is revolutionising current organ donation thinking.

Mr Brumby also presented Monash University’s Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology with the $30,000 Jack & Robert Smorgon Families Award.

Three other Victorian young scientists received $8,000 Commendation awards at the ceremony:

  • Dr Radwa Badawy for her research into epilepsy using transcranial magnetic stimulation where she has been able to prove increased excitability in humans;
  • Dr Benjamin Howden has focused his research on the superbug Golden Staph which is resistant to antibiotics and has developed ways to evade the human immune system;
  • Dr Mark McKenzie has discovered how insulin producing cells are destroyed in diabetes.

Mr Brumby said innovation was a key to securing long term prosperity, liveability and sustainability in Victoria.

“That is why our Government has invested almost $4 billion to strengthening technology and innovation in our state and building modern, cutting edge infrastructure that is attracting the best researchers and innovators to Victoria,” Mr Brumby said.

“In addition to that investment, today I am pleased to announce further funding for the newest, high tech research infrastructure in Victoria – $800,000 towards the new MASSIVE high Performance Computing facility.

“The Multi-modal Australian Sciences Imaging and Visualisation Environment (or MASSIVE) is the first facility of its kind in Australia, bringing together two high performance computers at the Australian Synchrotron.

“MASSIVE will be a centre of excellence for computational imaging and visualisation and offer researchers from a range of fields — including biomedicine, astronomy, engineering, geoscience and climate studies — unparalleled capacities to construct and view visualisations of the objects of their investigations.  

“The facility will enable scientists to create, view and analyse high-resolution scientific images and 3D-models previously too large to visualise.”

Mr Brumby said the Victorian Government was committed to world-class innovative infrastructure that drives Victoria’s economy.

“We are committed to investing in Victoria’s supercomputers, collaboration tools and advanced gigabit networks to enhance the accessibility of costly scientific instruments — such as synchrotrons, gene sequencers, telescopes and sensor networks,” Mr Brumby said.

“By investing in these facilities we are boosting the State’s capacity to turn new ideas and technologies into valued products, services and solutions.”

MASSIVE is a partnership between some of the country’s leading technology providers and research institutions — including the Australian Synchrotron, CSIRO, Victorian Partnership for Advanced Computing and Monash University

The winner of the Premier’s Award for Health and Medical Research receives $16,000. For more information about the Awards, visit

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