Hunter New England Health neuroscientist Dr Andrew Gardner has been recognised for his significant contributions to medical research in Australia, winning the 2015 Griffith University Discovery Award from Research Australia.
The Award is given to an early career researcher who has made a great impact in their field, and in the case of Dr Gardner it follows a string of successful University of Newcastle and Hunter Medical Research Institute (HMRI) research ventures and the recent establishment of a sports concussion business.
Dr Gardner’s business, NeuroGard, is focused on sports concussion management, education and research for current athletes of all ages, their schools and parents, along with retired athletes who may be experiencing cognitive difficulties.
As well as establishing NeuroGard and contributing to the policy papers of Brain Injury Australia and Alzheimer’s Australia (NSW), Dr Gardner has worked in the sports concussion research area for the past eight years and is now turning his focus toward the potential long-term consequences of participation in collision sports.
Dr Gardner said he hoped the Award could help boost the profile of sports concussion research in Australia.
“Given Australia’s great affinity with contact sports and the high levels of participation across our football codes, establishing a better understanding of post injury neurological changes requires considerable attention,” he said.
“I’m very passionate about sport-related concussion both from a clinical and research perspective. For the best part of the last eight or so years I have devoted myself to becoming thoroughly versed in the research of this field. This award is a great encouragement to continue working in this important area.”
Dr Gardner’s mentor, internationally renowned neuroscience researcher Professor Chris Levi, said Dr Gardner was a deserving recipient of the Griffith University Discovery Award.
“This award is meant to recognise early career researchers who have already contributed something great to the research community. If you look at the dedication shown by Dr Gardner and the wonderful potential of his work to ‘cure more, improve more, harm less’, it becomes very clear just how warranted this accolade is.”
Dr Gardner also received a Greaves Family Early Career Support Grant at the 2015 HMRI Awards.
* HMRI is a partnership between the University of Newcastle, Hunter New England Health and the community.