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NSW CVRN Awards celebrate excellence in cardiovascular research

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NSW CVRN Awards celebrate excellence in cardiovascular research

Media release: February 21, 2024 

The Heart Foundation and the New South Wales Cardiovascular Research Network (NSW CVRN) are proud to announce the winners of its prestigious awards for 2023, recognising outstanding contributions and emerging talents in cardiovascular research.

The awards ceremony, held last night, was attended by Governor of NSW Margaret Beazley and Minister for Medical Research David Harris MP, who presented four Ministerial Awards. This year, the Showcase highlighted First Nations Heart Health, emphasising the ground-breaking research from some of the network’s leading researchers having a positive impact in First Nations communities.

“The New South Wales CVRN, like those the Heart Foundation supports in the other states, is more than an alliance - it's a commitment to enhancing and supporting cardiovascular research in the state through collaboration, innovation and recognition," Heart Foundation NSW CVRN manager Alison Ainsworth said.

“This awards ceremony is a celebration of the dedication and excellence demonstrated by our researchers in their pursuit of a healthier, heart-strong future for all.

“More than simply honouring individual achievements, it showcases the collective effort in advancing cardiovascular research for the good of the state, the nation and the world.”

The recipients are:

Ministerial Award for PhD Rising Star in Cardiovascular Research: Dr. Nelson Wang

Dr. Nelson Wang, a Research Fellow at The George Institute for Global Health, received the Ministerial Award for PhD Rising Star in Cardiovascular Research. Dr. Wang’s work has focused on cardiovascular disease prevention through blood pressure and cholesterol management. His research has informed clinical practice guidelines and advanced our understanding of the importance of controlling risk factors earlier in life, why people who need treatment do not receive it and using the best quality evidence to guide treatment. His research has been published in esteemed journals like The Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology, JAMA Cardiology, and Journal of American College of Cardiology, and fostered global collaborations, with landmark contributions in Nature Medicine.

Ministerial Award for Rising Star in Cardiovascular Research: Dr. Jessica Orchard

Dr. Jessica Orchard, currently a Senior Research Fellow and NHMRC Emerging Leader Fellow at The University of Sydney, was honoured with the Ministerial Award for Rising Star in Cardiovascular Research.

Jessica focuses on preventative cardiac screening programs such as atrial fibrillation screening for the elderly and athlete screening for stroke and sudden death prevention. She holds editorial roles in prestigious journals, serves as a Cardiac Research Fellow at Cricket Australia, and is a Fellow of the European Society of Cardiology.

Jessica leads international collaborations, notably the Australasian registry of athlete screening ECGs (ARENA) and is part of the AF-SCREEN international collaboration. She has an impressive research track record, with numerous publications, citations, conference presentations, and awards.

Ministerial Award for Rising Star in Cardiovascular Research: A/Prof. Khoon Lim

Another recipient of the Ministerial Award for Rising Star in Cardiovascular Research is Associate Professor Khoon Lim, an ARC Future Fellow at The University of Sydney.

A/Prof. Lim is a highly accomplished researcher in the fields of biomaterials, biofabrication, and bioengineering, focusing on developing light-activated hydrogels to engineer functional blood vessels in the laboratory. With 79 peer-reviewed journal articles and six book chapters, he has made significant contributions, particularly in top journals like Chemical Reviews and Advanced Materials.

Recognised by Stanford University's World's Top 2% Scientist List for two consecutive years, A/Prof. Lim has received 29 competitive grants totalling $7.8 million.

As the President of the Australasian Society for Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering, he prioritizes inclusion and diversity. Additionally, A/Prof. Lim is a key member of the World Health Organization's 3D Bioprinting Futures Foresight Project, contributing to policymaking and governance in 3D bioprinting.

Ministerial Award for Cardiovascular Research Excellence: Professor Ben Freedman

Professor Ben Freedman, Group Leader of the Heart Rhythm and Stroke Group and Director of External Affairs at the Heart Research Institute, was honoured with the Ministerial Award for Cardiovascular Research Excellence.

Professor Freedman, with more than 40 years of academic experience, has made remarkable contributions to cardiovascular health in NSW. His extensive research, encompassing 300 publications (and counting), has enhanced understanding and improved outcomes in areas such as antianginal agents, coronary ischemia, acute coronary syndromes, and atrial fibrillation screening.

His commitment to mentorship has resulted in success for more than 40 supervised PhD and HDR students, many of whom have become influential cardiovascular leaders. Additionally, as Deputy Dean of the Medical Faculty at the University of Sydney for nine years, he played a vital role in shaping the education of medical practitioners in NSW.

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NSW Cardiovascular Research Network (NSW CVRN)

Collaboration of NSW most eminent cardiovascular researchers. Combining expertise in the fields of heart disease, stroke, diabetes and kidney disease.

Last updated21 February 2024