Ministerial Award for Cardiovascular Research Excellence
The Ministerial Award for Cardiovascular Research Excellence was developed by then-NSW Minister for Health Jillian Skinner and the NSW Cardiovascular Research Network.
It recognises and celebrates the dedication and achievements of one of NSW's most gifted senior researchers and clinicians in cardiovascular disease.
2019 Professor Gemma Figtree
Gemma Figtree is a Professor of Medicine at the University of Sydney and an interventional cardiologist at Royal North Shore Hospital. Professor Figtree is passionately committed to improving cardiovascular health through her bench-to-bedside research program. She has a particular interest in the causes of heart attacks in patients who were not previously deemed at risk, and recently received a NSW Government grant for further research on this topic.
In addition, Professor Figtree is heavily involved in the cardiovascular research community, including advocating for funding. In 2018 she led a successful pitch to secure $220 million in Federal Government funding for a 10-year Mission for Cardiovascular Health, and she has been appointed chair of the expert advisory panel overseeing the Mission.
2018 Professor Shaun Jackson
Professor Shaun Jackson is an NHMRC Senior Principal Research Fellow and faculty member at the prestigious Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, San Diego (CA, USA). He established his independent research laboratory in the Monash Department of Medicine at Box Hill Hospital in Victoria (1998–2003).
In 2004 he moved to the Alfred Medical Research and Education Precinct, where he co-founded and became Research Director of the Australian Centre for Blood Diseases. He is a founder of Kinacia, an Australian biotechnology company developing novel diagnostic and therapeutic products aimed at preventing blood clotting. In 2013, he was appointed the inaugural Director of Cardiovascular Research, HRI & Charles Perkins Centre, The University of Sydney.
Professor Jackson is also Research Director of Atherothrombosis Services within the Department of Cardiology at the Royal Prince Alfred (RPA) Hospital. Professor Jackson’s research interests are focused in atherothrombosis and cardiovascular disease.
2017 Chris Semsarian
Chris has been recognised with this award for his internationally renowned work on the genetic basis of cardiovascular disease. Chris demonstrates an outstanding research track record, and his collaborations have not only enhanced the research environment in NSW, but also nationally and internationally, and his work on sudden cardiac death in young people has transformed the research, clinical, and community approach to the problem. He has acted as supervisor for over 30 PhD and medical honours students and is an active mentor to junior staff.
Chris has an excellent record of research translation, most recently working with Premier Mike Baird to ensure access of all NSW Public Schools to life saving defibrillators. His work directly leads to improved outcomes for patients with genetic heart disease and their families.
Chris is an outstanding researcher and an asset to NSW, held in high esteem amongst his colleagues and peers. He is a truly deserving recipient of the Ministerial Award for Cardiovascular Research Excellence.
2016 Professor Robert Graham
Robert has been recognised as one of the world’s leading cardiovascular researchers. Aside from playing a pivotal role in the establishment of the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute as the inaugural Executive Director, Robert has made significant personal contributions to cardiovascular research, conducting ground-breaking research into the molecular biology of the heart, contributing greatly to understanding of mechanisms by which the heart can repair, and having enormous implications for further research and way various conditions are treated.
Additionally, Robert has been a major player in the administration of scientific and medical research, and a strong advocate for improving the research environment in NSW, and beyond. His work has been characterised by collaboration, not just within the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute and University of New South Wales, but also with some of the very best laboratories within the USA.
2015 Professor Peter Macdonald
Peter Macdonald is a Conjoint Professor of Medicine in the University of New South Wales, Medical Director of the Heart Transplant Unit at St Vincent's Hospital, Sydney and co-head of the Transplantation Research Laboratory at the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute. He is a past President of the Transplantation Society of Australia & New Zealand (TSANZ).
His major research interests over the last 25 years have been in the areas of heart failure, pulmonary hypertension, transplant allograft rejection, donor management and organ preservation. He has published over 250 scientific papers, 6 national guidelines and 15 book chapters.
2014 Professor Carol Pollock
Carol Pollock has an international reputation, with over 240 publications (H index 47; Citation index 6729 since 2009); is recognised with a Vice Chancellors Award for Excellence in Research Supervision and as a ‘Distinguished Professor’ by the University of Sydney. She is consistently invited to deliver lectures nationally and internationally and was Scientific Chairman of the 2013 World Congress of Nephrology. Health leadership roles include inaugural Chair of the NSW Agency for Clinical Innovation, immediate past Chair of the Clinical Excellence Commission (remaining as a director of both organisations), current Chair of the Northern Sydney Local Health District Board and Chair of our own CVRN. Carol is also the Director of Kidney Health Australia.
2013 Professor Richard Harvey
Professor Richard Harvey received his PhD in 1982 from the University of Adelaide, training in molecular biology. He undertook postdoctoral studies in embryology at Harvard University, and then moved to the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute in Melbourne, establishing an independent group. In 1998, he relocated to the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute, where he is currently Co-Deputy Director and Head of the Developmental and Stem Cell Biology Division. He holds the endowed Sir Peter Finley Professorship of Heart Research at UNSW and an NHMRC Australia Fellowship and is a member of the Australian Academy of Science and EMBO. His research has focused on the genetic basis of heart development and congenital heart disease, and more recently on the biology and origins of adult cardiac stem cells, and cardiac regeneration.
2012 Professor David Celermajer
Professor Celermajer is Scandrett Professor of Cardiology and Head of Discipline of Cardiology, University of Sydney; Director of Echocardiography and Academic Cardiologist, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital; Director of Adult Congenital Heart Services, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital; Director of Pulmonary Hypertension Services, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital; Clinical Director, The Heart Research Institute, Sydney.
Prof Celermajer has extensive experience in research in cellular/molecular biology; animal models of heart disease; clinical research; clinical trials; public health research; developing world research. Active research collaborations in England, Finland, France, India, China, Indonesia and Africa and has made over 100 invited international presentations given to learned societies worldwide.
2011 Professor John Chalmers AC
John Chalmers is an international authority on hypertension and cardiovascular diseases and a leading clinical trialist.
He is Senior Director at The George Institute, Emeritus Professor of Medicine at the University of Sydney and Consultant Physician at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital.