The Ramaciotti Medal is an annual award of $50,000. The Medal honours an individual who has made an outstanding discovery (or discoveries) in clinical or experimental biomedical research that has had an important impact on biomedical science, clinical science, or the way in which healthcare is delivered.
Professor Ricky Johnstone is the recipient of the 2023 Ramaciotti Medal for Excellence, a $50,000 award. In the past two decades, targeting epigenetic and transcriptional deregulation as an anticancer strategy has become a reality, and the research conducted by Professor Johnstone has tangibly contributed to this practice-changing event. Professor Johnstone’s key discoveries in cancer epigenetics, transcription and immunology have contributed to a changed approach to cancer treatment and discoveries.
Read the full details about the medal and Professor Johnstone’s research below.
*Image of Prof Ricky Johnstone (Medal recipient). Courtesy of Prof Ricky Johnstone.
Professor Ricky Johnstone has successfully integrated various basic research activities, platform technologies, and pre-clinical model systems to develop, characterise and refine novel cancer therapeutics for clinical use. In addition to running his own laboratory, Professor Johnstone is the Executive Director of Cancer Research at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre overseeing over 700 staff and students and plays a key role in strategic decision making across the organisation.
Focussing on cancer epigenetics, transcription and immunology, Professor Johnstone has published a total of 257 papers with 28,723 total citations (Scopus). He has won several prestigious awards including The FAOBMB Award for Research Excellence (2021) and the Australian Academy of Science Gottschalk Medal (2005). He was elected as a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences, in 2014 and 2023 was listed by Clarivate (Thomson Reuters) as one of the world’s most influential scientists and in 2020 was named by PLOS Biology as in the top 0.14% of authors for the research subfield of Oncology & Carcinogenesis.
Professor Johnstone is a global key opinion leader in cancer research with more than 200 invited presentations at international and national meetings and academic organisations. He is a named investigator on 6 completed or in-progress clinical trials, all founded on development of epigenetic drugs for the treatment of hemopoietic malignancies and has directly contributed to the FDA approval of three new oncology drugs. He has been awarded more than $45M in research funding as primary chief investigator, has supervised 37 PhD students to completion and serves as a senior editor at Science Advances and Molecular Cancer Therapeutics (AACR).
Professor Matthew Kiernan is the recipient of the 2022 Ramaciotti Medal for Excellence and the associated $50,000 award. Professor Kiernan is considered one of Australia’s most prominent clinical neurologists and neuroscientists and has received the Ramaciotti Medal in recognition of his extensive research into neurodegenerative disease including dementia and motor neurone disease (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; MND/ALS).
His extensive record of research into the pathophysiology of MND has resulted in breakthroughs that have changed the management of the disease by physicians worldwide. His research has closed the loop from bench to bedside with technique developments and scientific discoveries translating into greater understanding of the disease and improved patient management. His achievements include the initial studies and introduction of the neuroprotective treatment riluzole to Australia, now listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme for provision to patients throughout Australia.
Professor Kiernan is the Bushell Chair of Neurology and Co-Director of the Brain and Mind Centre at The University of Sydney. He is Professor of Neurology and Staff Specialist at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital. His work has led to appointments including Chair of the World Federation of Neurology - Motor Neurone Speciality Disease Group, and international recognition through The Forbes Norris Award of the International Alliance of ALS/MND Associations and most recently the Sheila Essey Award of the American Academy of Neurology for significant research contributions in the search for causes, prevention, and cure of ALS.
Professor Georgina Long is the recipient of the 2021 Ramaciotti Medal for Excellence, a $50,000 award.
Professor Long has been recognised for her pioneering work in immunotherapy in melanoma, transforming the care of melanoma patients worldwide and tripling survival rates for patients with advanced cases. Her work has led to the discovery of new effective drug therapies which are now also being applied to patients with other forms of cancer.
Professor Long is the Co-Medical Director of the Melanoma Institute of Australia (MIA) and Chair of Melanoma Medical Oncology and Translational Research at MIA and Royal North Shore Hospital, The University of Sydney. Professor Long was appointed as an Officer of the Order of Australian in 2020. She leads an extensive clinical trials team and laboratory, focusing on novel drug therapies for melanoma patients and is the principal investigator on numerous phase I/II/III international clinical trials for the field. She has also developed and leads the TEAM (Treat-excise-analyse-melanoma) translational platform, an essential foundation for cutting edge work on understanding mechanisms for why drugs are effective in some patients but not in others.
Professor Andrew Roberts and Professor John Seymour have jointly been awarded the 2020 Ramaciotti Medal for Excellence in Biomedical Research and the associated $50,000 grant. Both work at the Royal Melbourne Hospital, the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and the University of Melbourne, and Professor Roberts conducts research at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research. The duo have been recognised for their roles in researching and conducting clinical trials for a breakthrough anti-cancer drug Venetoclax, that is benefiting patients across the world who have chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL).
Ramaciotti Medal recipient Professor Dietmar W Hutmacher, Professor and Chair in Regenerative Medicine of the Queensland University of Technology (QUT), is the 2018 winner of the Ramaciotti Medal for Excellence in Biomedical Research, and a $50,000 grant.
Professor Dietmar W Hutmacher is known for pioneering the field of 3D printing in medicine as well as his track record in developing clinically relevant disease models.
The 2017 prestigious Ramaciotti Medal for Excellence in Biomedical Research went to Professor Susan Clark, Head of Division, Genomics and Epigenetics, Garvan Institute of Medical Research, is the 2017 winner of the Ramaciotti Medal for Excellence in Biomedical Research, and a $50,000 grant.
Professor Susan Clark is a worldwide pioneer in the field of cancer epigenetics and epigenomics. Over the past 25 years, Professor Clark’s ground-breaking discoveries in cancer DNA biology have led to new tests for early cancer detection.
The 2016 prestigious Ramaciotti Medal for Excellence in Biomedical Research went to Professor Jane Visvader and Professor Geoff Lindeman for their pioneering work in discovering new approaches to breast cancer treatment and prevention.
The establishment of their laboratory and a new research division at WEHI have raised a number of initiatives which are providing an important legacy for cancer research activities in Australia.
Their discoveries have altered the way breast cancer is viewed by researchers and have encouraged a new field of research in breast cancer, specifically in breast stem cell biology. Importantly, their group’s work has laid a framework for ongoing efforts to translate basic discoveries to the clinic. These discoveries will impact on improved breast cancer outcomes for the next generation of women.
Professor Carola Vinuesa, Head, Department of Immunology and Infectious Disease, Australian National University, is the 2015 winner of the Ramaciotti Medal for Excellence in Biomedical Research, and a $50,000 grant.
Professor Vinuesa’s discovery of the ROQUIN family of proteins has opened up new avenues to diagnose and treat autoimmune diseases.
Professor Vinuesa’s research achievements have been recognized in Australia and internationally by prestigious fellowships and grants, numerous invitations to speak at key scientific meetings, and by awards including election as a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science in 2015 and CSL Young Florey Medal in 2014
Professor David Craik, Laboratory Head, Institute for Molecular Bioscience, The University of Queensland, is the 2014 winner of the Ramaciotti Medal for Excellence in Biomedical and $50,000 grant.
His discoveries in the field of circular proteins have broad applicability in the design of new drugs, diagnostic agents, neuroscience tools and ultra-stable proteins. The new classes of protein-based drug leads and agricultural pest control agents designed by Professor Craik have enormous potential to improve human health and benefit society. He has been active internationally in pioneering this new field of science, delivering more than 80 plenary lectures over the last decade and authoring over 500 refereed publications.
The prestigious Ramaciotti Medal for Excellence in Biomedical Research went to Prof Douglas Hilton, director of Walter and Eliza Hall Institute and head of the Department of Medical Biology at the University of Melbourne. Prof Hilton received the medal and $50,000 for his discoveries in blood cell production.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This $1 million grant is awarded every two years to a group or individual undertaking biomedical research within universities, public hospitals, medical research institutes or other similar organisations.
Griffith University’s Professor Sally-Ann Poulsen, together with her team at the Griffith Institute for Drug Discovery and colleagues from QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, are the 2023 recipients of the biennial Ramaciotti Biomedical Research Award.
Read the full details about the Griffith’s project below.
*Image of Professor Sally-Ann Poulsen (Lead applicant, pictured centre), Professor Kathy Andrews (Griffith Institute for Drug Discovery, pictured left), Professor Sudha Rao (QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, pictured right)
Griffith University’s Professor Sally-Ann Poulsen, together with her team at the Griffith Institute for Drug Discovery and colleagues from QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, are the 2023 recipients of the biennial Ramaciotti Biomedical Research Award.
The $1 million Ramaciotti grant will invest in a cutting-edge, first-in-Australia new technology for deciphering molecular interactions important in health and disease. This will be one of the most powerful structural biology tools available to characterise intact biomolecules in their “native” or folded state and their interactions with key partners (other biomolecules or small molecule ligands). The Ramaciotti Australian Native Mass Spectrometry Platform for Health Discoveries will be housed at Griffith Institute for Drug Discovery, Griffith University, and accessible to biomedical researchers nationally.
This new state-of-the-art platform, will empower researchers across the nation to conduct novel experiments, foster fruitful collaboration, and ultimately accelerate the discovery and implementation of new life-saving drugs, vaccines, and diagnostic agents to address critical health issues including cancer, infectious diseases, and ageing-related ailments, resulting in enhanced human health in our country.
The University of Sydney’s Professor Gregg Suaning and his world class team are the 2021 recipients of the biennial Ramaciotti Biomedical Research Award.
The $1 million Ramaciotti grant will be used to translate life-changing implantable bionic devices into clinical practice.
The funding will support the following four flagship research programs in bionic devices, as well as essential personnel:
The award will enable the team to realise the translation and advancement of the four different implantable devices into clinical practice, restoring productive lives to people affected by incurable diseases.
The biennial Ramaciotti Biomedical Research Award, worth $1 million, has been granted to Professor Heidi Smith-Vaughan and her team at Menzies School of Health Research. The funding will be used to construct the Ramaciotti Centre for Excellence in Building Regional and Remote Biomedical Capability.
The Centre will lead the way in developing a sustainable, local and Indigenous biomedical workforce in regional and remote northern Australia and will facilitate biomedical career progression for regional and remote youth, with a focus on career development for Indigenous youth.
The Ramaciotti Biomedical Research Award, worth $1 million, has been granted to Professor David Craik of The University of Queensland’s Institute for Molecular Bioscience and Professor Marilyn Anderson of the La Trobe Institute for Molecular Science, La Trobe University.
The award will support Professors Craik and Anderson to establish the Clive and Vera Ramaciotti Facility (CVRF) for Producing Pharmaceuticals in Plants. The CVRF will be a state-of-the-art facility to develop technologies to produce potent next-generation medicines inexpensively. The new drugs may even be incorporated into novel plant products such as bio-pills (seeds), medicinal teas and foods, potentially improving the lives of patients who cannot afford current medications or cannot tolerate the side effects.
Centenary Institute's Cytometry research program (CyTOF), led by Professor Barbara Fazekas de St Groth and Dr Adrian Smith in collaboration with Professor Nicholas King from University of Sydney, is the recipient of the bi-annual $1million Ramaciotti Biomedical Research Award.
CyTOF is a cutting edge technology that can test a single cell, blood or other, for up to 100 different characteristics, more than five times the number currently allowed by laser technology using fluorescence detection. Its ability to compute mass data simultaneously presents a giant leap in understanding immune abnormalities linked to western lifestyle conditions including chronic allergies, arthritis, obesity and Alzheimer's. The technology will be housed in the Ramaciotti Centre for Human Systems Biology, to be jointly set up by Centenary Institute and the University of Sydney.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Ramaciotti Health Investment grants of up to $100,000 are awarded to individuals in universities, public hospitals or institutes for a contribution towards the undertaking of health or medical research with the potential path to clinical application within five years. A Health Investment grant is intended to provide enabling research support for an autonomous early career investigator who is taking, or has recently taken, a substantive position.
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