Mater Shines at Research Australia Awards

27/Nov/2019     Research

Mater Hospital is leading the way in cutting-edge health and medical research, with Australia’s peak research advocacy body awarding two out of three finalist spots for frontiers research to Mater doctors.

Professor Sailesh Kumar and Dr Lisa Gillinder from Mater have been named as finalists for the inaugural Frontiers Research Award in Research Australia’s Health and Medical Research Awards.

Professor Kumar and Dr Gillinder were selected from top-ranking institutions around the country in recognition of their transformative, innovative research.  

An obstetrician, Professor Kumar has recently led a ground-breaking pilot randomised clinical trial to show that Viagra helps reduce the risk of a foetus becoming hypoxic in labour.

“This could potentially be a game changer, we found Viagra resulted in reduced rates of emergency c-section, instrumental birth and other markers of foetal distress,” Professor Kumar said.

“This could have significant global implications because birth asphyxia is a major contributor, not just in terms of early morbidity, but longer term health issues as well.”

Neurologist Dr Gillinder specialises in a diagnostic method called stereo-electroencephalography (SEEG) in which electrodes are inserted into the brain to determine the source of epilepsy. 

“This is a highly skilled approach drawing upon the latest technology from electrical engineering, signal processing, robotics and image processing to identify an abnormal brain region that is causing seizures and allow for its removal,” Dr Gillinder said.

“By utilising a surgical method and applying it to a medical problem in a field that is so technologically advanced we have the opportunity to create new treatment options for these patients.”

“Almost all of the patients in my original study had a significant reduction in their seizures after they were treated with immunotherapy and several became completely seizure free. Correctly diagnosing these patients is vital as immunotherapy is not typically offered to epilepsy patients.”

Research Australia CEO Nadia Levin said Professor Kumar and Dr Gillinder had both shown incredible ingenuity and rigorous scientific commitment to test the limits of their medical fields.

“In a hotly contested field of brilliant researchers from around Australia, two of Queensland’s brightest scientific minds have emerged as frontrunners for our inaugural Frontiers Research Award,” she said.

“Professor Kumar and Dr Gillinder are each engaged in extremely exciting work that is going to have significant impact for patients globally, improving and saving lives.”

Congratulations to Dr Gillinder and Professor Kumar for this extraordinary achievement.

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