Spotlight on health research at Flinders

Professor Bogda Koczwara, director of the Flinders Centre for Innovation and Cancer (FCIC), will host Cancer Research Day at the FCIC ground floor function room at Bedford Park on Tuesday 4 September.

Flinders Health Research Week opens a public window into the world-class health and medical research achievements of the precinct south of Adelaide. 

For the second consecutive year, the Flinders Health Research Week program – from Monday 3 September to Friday 7 September – will highlight the diversity of research excellence at the cluster of leading health and learning institutions south of the CBD – integrating the Flinders Medical Centre, Flinders University, Flinders Centre for Innovation in Cancer (FCIC), and other biomedical centres.

The work of leading researchers and invited speakers will be profiled in sessions open to the public, staff, students, graduates, industry, government and the media, highlighting initiatives that are now saving lives or contributing to future medical breakthroughs.

Brought together by Flinders University, the SA Government Southern Adelaide Local Health Network (SALHN) of SA Health, FCIC and Flinders Foundation, the week of special presentations illustrates how the partners are united by research to achieve outcomes that benefit all community sectors.

“We know that targeted research leads to improvements in the quality of patient care,” says Professor Ross McKinnon, the Dean (Research) at the College of Medicine and Public Health at Flinders University.

Because of the significant progress that our researchers continue to make, it’s important that we come together to showcase a broad cross-section of our best research outcomes.”

Along with discoveries in disease prevention and treatments, medical research benefits the community, individuals and the state, in a wide range of ways including access to better health services, reduced pain and suffering, reduced patient burden on the health system and creation of knowledge-intensive medical and health research economy in Australia.

Progress in cancer research forms a large part of the Health Research Week program, starting with FCIC director Professor Bogda Koczwara who will lead a session about the translation of research outcomes into community benefits. This session will include presentations by Professor Jonathan Craig, the Vice-President and Executive Dean, College of Medicine and Public Health), Professor Alison Kitson, Vice-President of the College of Nursing and Health Sciences and Wendy Keech, CEO of the SA Academic Health Science and Translation Centre.

Flinders Health Research Week will also acknowledge the 20th anniversary of the Department of Medical Oncology at FMC, looking at advances that this vital program has made in leading new drug development, psycho-oncology and survivorship care. Tuesday 4 September is devoted to cancer research, with presentations from leading researchers Professor Chris Karapetis, Professor Koczwara, Dr Erin Symonds, Dr Craig Wallington-Beddoe and others.

Launch of the 2018 Beat Cancer Project grants, (L-R): Alana Sparrow, Cancer Council SA General Manager, Services, Research and Public Policy; Professor Ross McKinnon, Flinders University; Lincoln Size, Cancer Council SA Chief Executive; Peter Malinauskas, the former Minister for Health; Professor Tim Hughes, SAHMRI; and Professor David Roder, University of South Australia

Flinders is also leading the way in cardiology and cardiovascular research, including the work of Professor Derek Chew, who will present a session on “The Journey from Better Testing to Better Care” in the Flinders Medical Centre Lecture Theatre at 2pm on Monday 3 September.

The Research Week program will also highlight other areas of medical expertise that Flinders specialises in – from mental health research (led by Professor Mike Kyrios), neuroscience, eye and vision research, sleep research, allied health sciences and nursing. Each field of research will present its findings through a range of lectures, masterclasses and workshops, panels and professional development opportunities.

New and emerging initiatives will be highlighted in the Early Career Researchers Showcase, presented in the Flinders Medical Centre Lecture Theatre at 10am on Wednesday 5 September. Among the rising talents on Flinders’ research teams are Dr Hong-Yau Tan speaking on exercise protocols, Dr David Smolilo on gut-brain interaction, Dr Monica Cation on dementia, Associated Professor Simon Conn on assessing circular RNA molecules, Tamina Levy on stroke rehabilitation, and Dr Claire Baldwin on the repatriation of ICU patients.

Flinders University Vice-Chancellor Professor Colin Stirling and SALHN CEO Adjunct Professor Sue O’Neill will open Health Research Week proceedings at 9am on Monday 3 September at the Flinders Medical Centre Lecture Theatre (Flinders Drive, Bedford Park).  

Visiting British expert Professor Sir Peter Ratcliffe FRS will deliver the annual Flinders University Chalmers Oration at 12.30pm on Thursday 6 September. Named for Emeritus Professor John Chalmers, the first professor of medicine at Flinders University and the Flinders Medical Centre, this year’s lecture will address the elucidation of oxygen sensing pathways in human and animal cells.

Professor Ratcliffe, recipient of the Albert Lasker Award and Director of the Target Discovery Institute at the University of Oxford, is a cell and molecular biologist who has achieved ground-breaking work in understanding the detailed molecular chain of events that cells use to sense oxygen, leading to an advanced state of understanding hypoxia. People wanting to attend the oration must register online.

The closing presentation for the week, on Friday 7 September, will also be an enlightening interactive session, entitled What’s Your Metabolic Age?

The session in The Tav, on Level 1 of The Hub at Flinders’ Bedford Park campus, will be offering free bioimpedance tests that indicate your metabolic age and body fat percentage, BMI and body water composition. Flinders University Sport Health and Physical Activity (SHAPE) director Professor Murray Drummond, lecturer Dr Kym Williams and Chris Rawling from Flinders Sport & Fitness will lead a discussion panel.

The full program for Flinders Health Research Week, and registrations for individual events, can be accessed online at

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