Alloy allies plant new medical research seed

Sep 12 2011

Hunter Valley firm Tomago Aluminium planted the seed for another raft of new medical research initiatives today by presenting a cheque for $53,000 to HMRI.

Judging from past contributions, that amount will potentially be multiplied several-fold by State and national funding as the projects advance.
Dementia and juvenile diabetes are the two research areas set to benefit equally from Tomago Aluminium’s latest support.

The aluminium manufacturer has been associated with the Hunter Medical Research Institute since 1998, providing around $175,000.

HMRI Director Maree Gleeson highlighted the example of a $20,000 donation from Tomago Aluminium in 2003 which funded a pilot study by asthma researcher Jodie Simpson.

Dr Simpson’s study of an infection-related asthma type yielded a further NHMRC grant of $416,875, and subsequently expanded into the national AMAZES trial of a new therapy with $2.9 million in funding.

“It not only helped Jodie at the start of her research career, it evolved into the largest asthma research trial in Australia,” Professor Gleeson said.
Tomago Aluminium CEO John Lemberg said the partnership forged with HMRI gave employees great satisfaction and pride.

He also praised the POWER (Preventing Obesity Without Eating like Rabbits) program developed by theUniversity of Newcastle Priority Research Centre for Physical Activity & Nutrition, saying it had been widely adopted among staff members – particularly shift workers.

In receiving the cheque, HMRI Foundation Chairman Glenn Turner said the money was an investment more than a donation.

“You have a world competitive factory and we are world-class at medical research,” Mr Turner said. “HMRI is creating jobs for people doing wonderful work. It is the glue that has allowed a whole new industry to emerge after the BHP closed.

“It is very meaningful for us that Tomago Aluminium fronts up every year, and our researchers deliver.”