Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Professor Andrew Tonkin recognised for lifetime contribution to cardiovascular research

Professor Andrew Tonkin Head of the Cardiovascular Research Unit at SPHPM is one of just two academics who was awarded the 2015 Heart Foundation Research Medal for Lifetime Contribution to Cardiovascular Research in Melbourne this week by the National Heart Foundation.

The Heart Foundation Research Medal was established in 2006 and recognises outstanding contribution to the fields of heart, stroke and blood vessel disease research in Australia over a sustained period, as well as involvement with the Heart Foundation and a history of contributions to Heart Foundation goals and objectives.

Professor Tonkin has worked with the Heart Foundation for over 35 years and was awarded an Order of Australia Medal for services to medical research and has an international reputation in relation to the management of lipids.

Professor Tonkin is also a Consultant Cardiologist at Austin Health and former Director of Cardiology at Austin health and he has served as Chief Medical Officer with the National Heart Foundation of Australia.

Professors Andrew Tonkin and Gregory Dusting were both bestowed the award at the Heart Foundation’s National Office. They have both been renowned leaders in cardiovascular research and cardiovascular pharmacology respectively for decades.

“It is because of researchers like them that Australians are able to make life-changing decisions about how to prevent or manage heart disease. Congratulations to both Andrew and Gregory on this outstanding achievement,” said National Heart Foundation Chief Medical Adviser Professor Garry Jennings.

Cardiovascular disease is still the number one killer in Australia, despite ongoing efforts in prevention and treatment.

Professor Tonkin’s latest project is coordinating a world-first national study testing whether a safe, one-off pneumococcal vaccination can help to reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes. He is Chief Investigator on the Australian Study for the Prevention through Immunisation of Cardiovascular Events (AUSPICE) which is recruiting 6000 Australians across five collaborating sites to test whether the antibodies that are generated in response to the vaccine appear to bind to and reduce the build-up of cholesterol.

He was also recently awarded a $380,000 Australian Research Council (ARC) linkage grant with Associate Professor Bing Wang with the Centre for Cardiovascular Research and Education in Therapeutics (CCRET) and the Monash University Faculty of Engineering to develop new innovative technology that could revolutionise blood pressure monitoring.

He will be working closely with Professor Wenlong Cheng in Monash University’s Nanobionics Lab to develop e-skin technology that will allow conformal contact with the wrist to detect pulse waveforms related to systolic and diastolic blood pressure (BP), which could reliably monitor a person’s BP continuously and non-invasively anytime or anywhere.

SPHPM warmly congratulates Professor Tonkin on the award and recognition of his lifetime contribution and commitment to cardiovascular research.

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