UNSW professor wins prestigious Frontiers Research Award

13 Dec 2022
UNSW professor wins prestigious Frontiers Research Award

Professor Justin Gooding and Dr Deborah Burnett have been recognised in the Annual Health and Medical Research Awards for their outstanding achievements in health and medical innovation.

Scientia Professor Justin Gooding from UNSW Science has been presented with a Frontiers Research Award in recognition of the cutting-edge ‘Rastrum’ 3D bioprinter, a technology that has applications from biomedical research to drug discovery and personalised medicine. 

Conjoint Senior Lecturer at UNSW’s St Vincent's Clinical School, Dr Deborah Burnett, was awarded a Highly Commended in the Griffith University Discovery Award. As a Senior Research Officer at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research, she has pioneered novel methodologies to target key sites of vulnerability on the COVID-19 virus surface that are unlikely to change over time, and uncovered immunisation strategies that induce antibodies the virus cannot escape through mutation. 

The 19th Annual Health and Medical Research Awards were held at Metropolis Southbank on Thursday 8 December. The awards have been presented since 1980 to recognise outstanding achievements in medical research. 

The Frontiers Research Award recognises the success of innovative health and medical research. Scientia Professor Justin Gooding received the Frontiers Award on behalf of Inventia Life Sciences, the Australian Centre for NanoMedicine, UNSW School of Chemistry and the Children’s Cancer Institute in recognition of the innovative ‘Rastrum’ 3D bioprinter. The 3D printer gives biomedical researchers and tissue engineers a fast way to create 3D cell structures, proteins, and tumour models. 

“I feel this award is great recognition of the work done by my team at the Australian Centre for NanoMedicine, Maria Kavallaris’s team at the Children’s Cancer Institute and the team of Inventia Life Sciences led by Julio Ribeiro,” Prof. Gooding said.

“But much more important than the recognition is that we continue our quest to improve the chances of surviving cancers, through the development of personalised drug treatment regimes, where in vitro models of a patient’s own cancer, prepared using the Rastrum 3D bioprinter, allow oncologists to screen the efficacy of different chemotherapies.”

Prof. Gooding is the co-director of the Australian Centre for NanoMedicine and a National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Leadership Fellow. He is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science, the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering and the International Society of Electrochemistry. 

UNSW Dean of Science Professor Sven Rogge congratulated Prof. Gooding on receiving the prestigious Frontiers Research Award.

“Professor Gooding’s cutting-edge work 3D bioprinting will be a game-changer in revolutionising cancer research. This award highlights the commitment of Justin and his wider team in improving the lives of people in Australia and globally,” Prof. Rogge said.

Research Australia are Australia’s peak body representing the health and medical research pipeline, from the laboratory through to the patient and the marketplace. 

“The Awards honoured Australia’s dedicated researchers for taking risks, innovating and translating discoveries to improve the health of millions of Australians,” Research Australia CEO Nadia Levin said. 

Read more about the 19th Annual Health and Medical Research Awards.