The most recent Ramaciotti Awards were announced on Tuesday 16 October 2012 in Brisbane. More than $1.6 million was granted through the Ramaciotti Medal for Excellence in Biomedical Research and the Ramaciotti Establishment and Major Equipment Grants.
View the complete list of 2012 Establishment and Equipment grant recipients.
Ramaciotti Medal for Excellence in Biomedical Research2012 Ramaciotti Medal recipient
The prestigious Ramaciotti Medal for Excellence in Biomedical Research went to Professor Kathryn North AM, Douglas Burrows Professor of Paediatrics and Child Health at the University of Sydney and Head of the Institute for Neuroscience and Muscle Research at the Children's Hospital, Westmead. The Ramaciotti Medal recognises Professor North's outstanding contribution to biomedical research in three key areas: neuromuscular disorders, neurofibromatosis, and the study of genes that influence athletic performance.
Professor North received worldwide recognition for leading the team that discovered a skeletal muscle gene (ACTN3) linked to athletic muscle performance and function, dubbed 'the gene for speed'. Professor North's research showed that although one in five Australians are deficient in a-actinin-3, no Olympic sprint athletes have ever been found deficient in the gene.
Previous Ramaciotti Medallists
2011 - Professor Michael Parker
In 2011 the Ramaciotti Medal was awarded to Professor Michael Parker of St Vincent's Institute of Medical Research, whose work has led to a breakthrough in a potential treatment for certain leukaemias and significant developments in the quest to treat Alzheimer's.
In a career that spans more than 25 years, Prof. Parker's research has made major inroads into the use of protein crystallography, a process akin to an X-ray microscope that allows researchers a three dimensional look at the atomic structure of proteins, the building blocks of the body. The shapes discovered through this process have provided the basis for designing drugs to treat a range of serious diseases, including Alzheimer's, leukaemia and other cancers, and infections.
View a short film about Professor Michael Parker - winner of the 2011 Ramaciotti Medal
2010 - Professor Christopher Goodnow
Professor Christopher Goodnow from the Australian National University was awarded the prestigious Ramaciotti Medal for Excellence in Biomedical Research. Professor Goodnow was awarded the Medal for his research into how the immune system is controlled so that it does not attack our own organs and tissues when it repels invading bacteria and viruses. His work will enable scientists to develop more effective drugs for treatment of a wide range of conditions, from infectious diseases to diabetes and cancer.View a short film about Professor Christopher Goodnow - winner of the 2010 Ramaciotti medal
Read the full media release
2009 - Professor Geoff McFadden
Professor Geoff McFadden was awarded the 2009 Ramaciotti Medal for Excellence in Biomedical Research for his work in developing new ways to combat one of the world's major health problems, malaria.
In his research, Prof. McFadden co-discovered a plant-like structure known as a 'chloroplast' in the parasite that causes malaria. His team's subsequent research has focused on why the parasite has a relict structure in common with plants, providing hope for a new and different way of treating the disease.
2008 - Professor Ian Frazer
Professor Ian Frazer, Australian of the Year in 2006, was awarded the 2008 Ramaciotti Medal for Excellence in Biomedical Research in recognition of his work that contributed to the development of the world's first cervical cancer vaccines.
2007 - Dr Roger Reddel
Dr Roger Reddel from the Children's Medical Research Institute was awarded the 2007 Medal for discoveries that explain how cancers are able to continue their relentless growth.
His research on the distinguishing characteristics of cancer cells and the discovery of an enzyme has opened up the way for the development of drugs that could be an effective treatment for cancers.
2006 - Professor Samuel F Berkovic
Professor Berkovic of the University of Melbourne was awarded the 2006 Medal for his research into the genetics of epilepsy using twins and families. This led to more accurate diagnosis, targeted treatment and counselling for people with epilepsy that runs in families.
Together with molecular genetic collaborators in Adelaide and Germany, the Australian team discovered the first gene for human epilepsy and were involved in finding the majority of other currently known epilepsy genes. The discoveries are now being used in diagnosis of particular inherited epilepsies.
2005 - Professor Christopher Parish
As Head of the Division of Immunology and Genetics, Cancer and Vascular Biology Group, John Curtin School of Medical Research at the Australian National University, Professor Parish won the 2005 medal for his contribution to immunology and cancer biology.
With a history of study focused on the immune system Professor Parish was the first person to demonstrate that cell-mediated immunity and antibody formation are mutually antagonistic responses in the 1970s.
This phenomenon was recognised as playing a critical role in the development of autoimmune disease and in resistance or susceptibility to different infections. This led to his work on the role of complex carbohydrates in inhibiting inflammation, tumour metastasis and angiogenesis.
2004 - Professor TJ Martin
Professor Thomas Martin, Emeritus Professor of Medicine at the University of Melbourne, and John Holt Fellow (associated with St Vincent's Institute of Medical Research), was awarded the 2004 medal for his work in the field of endocrine research.
His research was vital to discovering how hormones control and maintain bone cells to prevent osteoporosis. Professor Martin also discovered a new hormone produced by cancers and one of the main causes of the spread of cancers to the bone - particularly breast and prostate cancers.
2003 - Professor Colin Chesterman
Professor Chesterman, Director of Haematology at the Prince of Wales Hospital and conjoint Professor of Pathology and Medicine at UNSW was awarded the 2003 medal for his work in the development and improvement of diagnostic and therapeutic techniques.
Professor Chesterman's research focused on improving the prognosis of intravascular thrombosis which often proved fatal in the past. The work led to new diagnostic and treatment approaches in these conditions.
2002 - Professor Bob Baxter
Professor Bob Baxter, Director of the Kolling institute of Medical Research at the Royal North Shore Hospital and Head of the Department of Molecular Medicine at the University of Sydney, was awarded the 2002 Medal for his work in human physiology and pathology.
His work focused on understanding normal tissue and body growth and how it is impaired in diabetes, renal failure and critical illness. The work led to the understanding of and development of therapies for breast and other cancers.
2001 - Professor Grant Sutherland
Professor Grant Sutherland of the Women's and Children's Hospital, South Australia was awarded the 2001 Medal for his work on improving diagnosis of 'X' syndrome, where children are born with an intellectual handicap.
His laboratory identified special DNA sequences on the fragile 'X' chromosome, which led to improved diagnosis, reliable identification of carriers and more reliable prenatal diagnosis.
2000 - Professor Rob Sutherland
Professor Rob Sutherland, of the Garvan Institute of Medical Research was awarded the 2000 Medal for his laboratory's contribution to breast and prostate cancer research.
His research centred on the way in which female sex hormones regulate the proliferation of breast cancer cells, which led to developments in the treatment of breast cancer.
1999 - Professor George Paxinos
George Paxinos of the University of NSW was awarded the 1999 Medal for his contribution to mapping the human brain. His work helped in the comparison of normal brain and what is abnormal in diseases such as Parkinsonism, Schizophrenia and Alzheimers disease and also in areas of neuro-radiology.
1998 - Professor Elspeth McLachlan
Professor Elspeth McLachlan of Sydney's Prince of Wales Medical Research Institute was awarded the 1998 Medal for her research on neural pathways within the autonomic nervous system.
Her work has led to improved understanding and treatment of hypertension, stress, disorders of blood flow and bodily functions such as digestion, body temperature control, continence and ageing problems.
1997 - Professor Murray Esler
Professor Murray Esler's outstanding contribution to biomedical science has been to develop and exploit a method for measuring the strength of drive by sympathetic nerves that release catecholamines, in the body as a whole and in individual organs such as the heart, kidney and even brain.
He has utilised this technique in normal individuals under a variety of circumstances such as exercise, ageing and obesity and in patients suffering from a variety of disorders such as heart failure, hypertension, and mental illness.
1996 - Professor Max Bennett
Professor Bennett was awarded the 1996 medal for his study of the formation and function of synapses. His pioneering work has had a profound impact on our understanding of the nervous system and the way in which it controls other systems in the body.
1995 - Dr John Paul Coghlan
Professor John Coghlan was the inaugural recipient of the Ramaciotti Medal. His field of research is molecular biology within which he developed a technique known as 'in situ hybridization histochemistry'. This technique made it possible to identify which cells within complex organs of the body, such as the brain, kidney, liver and intestine contain the machinery to manufacture specific hormones.
Professor Coghlan's technique has also been employed by other biomedical scientists around the world, in such diverse disciplines as endocrinology, hypertension, atherosclerosis, foetal development and cancer.
Previous Biomedical Research Award recipients
2011 - Monash University & Walter and Eliza Hall Institute
The Ramaciotti Biomedical Research Award of $1 million was awarded to a joint research team led by Professors James Whisstock and Ian Smith from Monash University, and Professor Mike Lawrence from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, to establish The Clive and Vera Ramaciotti Centre for Structural Cryo-Electron Microscopy. The centre will allow for the use of the latest technological advances in researching some of the most difficult medical problems, including how immune systems recognise intruders and how large protein complexes assemble and function in diseases like cancer.
2009 - Children's Medical Research Institute & the University of Newcastle
The 2009 $1 million Biomedical Research Award was awarded to a joint research team led by Professor Phillip Robinson and Professor Roger Reddel from the Children's Medical Research Institute, and Professor Adam McCluskey from The University of Newcastle, to create the world's first 'Centre for Kinomics'.
The 'Centre for Kinomics' will provide the resources for 23 participating New South Wales research teams to analyse current therapeutic drugs and develop new, more effective ones. The equipment funded by the grant will be located within two new custom-built research laboratories, one based at the Children's Medical Research Institute and the other at the University of Newcastle.
2007 - John Curtin School of Medical Research
Chief Investigators Prof Chris Goodnow and Dr Anselm Enders from The John Curtin School of Medical Research, at the Australian National University, are the recipients of the 2007 award of $1 million.
Their team's work has focused on cellular immortalisation and pioneered successful genomic technology to reveal genes, cells and biological mechanisms governing immunisation responses. The award helped to fund a new laboratory at the Immunology and Genetics Division in the school.
2003 - Brain and Mind Research Institute (BMRI)
A consortium of University of Sydney researchers linking basic and clinical research in mental health, neurology and neuroscience was awarded a $1 million grant in 2003.
The grant was used to purchase an animal positron emission tomography (micro-PET) scanner, allowing the establishment of the 'Clive and Vera Ramaciotti Centre for Brain Imaging'. The Centre encourages collaboration between more than 65 laboratories in the University and its affiliated hospitals.
2001 - Clive & Vera Ramaciotti Centre for Proteomic & Genomic Research
The Clive and Vera Ramaciotti Centre for Proteomic and Genomic Research was awarded the grant in 2001 to fund their research. It placed Australian biomedical researchers among the most advanced in the world when it came to accessing leading-edge technology to further the knowledge of proteomics and ultimately, to enhance the treatment of major disease.
2000 - Clive and Vera Ramaciotti Centre for Gene Function Analysis
The Clive and Vera Ramaciotti Centre for Gene Function Analysis was awarded the "Clive and Vera Ramaciotti Millennium Grant" in 2000 to establish the Centre and fund future research.
This Centre is a collaboration of five universities and five medical research centres in the Sydney-Newcastle region, providing a major focus on research, development and application of Functional Genomics in Australia. It is a central facility that enables researchers to determine how organisms respond to change, provides state of the art equipment to integrate DNA technology with protein analysis and the training in these technologies to develop research expertise.