HMRI announces new research programs

Apr 21 2022

The Hunter Medical Research Institute (HMRI) has announced the creation of 19 new research programs. The new programs will study a wide range of health issues relevant to our communities. 

Over the last year, HMRI has been working on a series of projects to ensure the institute can build upon current and historical success. These projects included updating HMRI’s Purpose, Research Priorities and now our Research Programs.

Earlier in the year we announced the new purpose "To improve the health and wellbeing of our communities" and the new research priorities “Priority Populations”, “Healthy Life Course” and “Healthy Future”.

HMRI Chair Kyle Loades said the new purpose and priorities reinforces the importance of the community to HMRI and ensures our research is relevant to that community.

“Our purpose sits atop everything we do and is a reminder of our mission and foundation,” Mr Loades said.

“Our new research priorities reflect the growing understanding of the effect of health and disease across the entire life course and the needs of the most vulnerable members of our community”

Using the new purpose and research priorities as a guide HMRI began a process in August last year to update the research programs. HMRI’s current research programs are Brain and Mental Health, Cancer, Cardiovascular, Pregnancy and Reproduction, Public Health and, Viruses, Infections/Immunity, Vaccines and Asthma (VIVA). 

Institute Director Professor Mike Calford said the original six programs have been the foundations of HMRI's success.

"These programs have been so successful that some have grown very large and expanded into new and unique areas," Professor Calford said.

"It is exciting we are now able to grow as an institute by significantly expanding our research programs. We are reinforcing our existing successful research areas and branching out into new areas that are of real need to the community."

The HMRI leadership and board have now agreed to establish 19 new programs, which will begin to come online over the next few months.

"It has been wonderful to see our researchers working together to refocus our efforts for the future, particularly during the added stress of the COVID lockdown" Professor Calford said.

"Through this process we have strengthened our existing research areas by providing a pathway for some very successful research teams within our old programs to become programs in their own right."

While most of HMRI's new programs comprise existing research teams, HMRI is excited to have several new clinically focused programs.

"Some of our new programs such as Surgical and Perioperative Care, Infection Research and Injury and Trauma are a welcome addition to HMRI," Professor Calford said.

"These programs bring together some of the top clinician researchers from our local hospitals to address the real needs of patients at the point of care."


HMRI’s new research programs

Active Living​ Research Program

Researching the physical, mental, and cognitive benefits of physical activity and sleep behaviours and reinforcing positive behaviours.​

Asthma and Breathing​ Research Program

Improving health and wellbeing with better breathing, from pregnancy and early childhood, and throughout life.​

Brain Neuromodulation​ Research Program

Researching the full spectrum of nervous system disorders including the brain and the spinal cord and all peripheral nerves and receptors connecting to the rest of the body.​

Cancer Detection and Therapy Research Program

Improving early detection and treatment of solid cancers to help identify a cure (or treatment) that allows patients to live well with the disease rather than suffering and succumbing because of it.​

Drug Repurposing and Medicines​ Research Program

Investigating new uses for already approved drugs and developing or improving the use of new, old and approved drugs​.

Equity in Health and Wellbeing ​Research Program

Rigorous, consumer-centred, high-impact research to achieve equity in health and wellbeing outcomes.​

Food and Nutrition​ Research Program

Developing cutting-edge nutrition strategies to improve food behaviours and prevent, manage and treat disease, while optimising nutrition-related community health and wellbeing​.

Healthcare Transformation​ Research Program

Develop and deliver workable, evidence-based solutions for real-world problems in the health system to improve care experiences and outcomes for individuals, families, communities and the health workforce. ​

Healthy Minds​ Research Program

Our Healthy Minds researchers are working with the community to create ways for all Australians to build and maintain good mental health. ​

Heart and Stroke​ Research Program

Improving the lives of people affected by stroke, brain injury, and heart conditions. We’re developing optimal preventive medicine and treatments and putting them into practice.​

Infection​ Research Program

Reducing the impact of infectious diseases on human health by addressing important evidence gaps in the diagnosis, prevention, and management of infections.​​

Immune Health​ Research Program

Understanding how the human immune system interacts with pathogens and the environment and the role that this plays in promoting health or acute and chronic human diseases​.

Infertility and Reproduction​ Research Program

Working to resolve the precise physical and chemical nature of what impairs human fertility and offspring health, then developing appropriate diagnostic and therapeutic measures to improve the safety and efficacy of assisted reproductive technologies (ART) and eventually do without them.​

Injury and Trauma​ Research Program

Improving the lives of people affected by injuries and reducing the burden of injuries on our healthcare system and society. ​

Mothers and Babies​ Research Program

Optimising health for families and early childhood because the health trajectory for an individual begins at conception, and a healthy pregnancy is the beginning of a healthy life course​.

Population Health​ Research Program

Understanding, developing and testing strategies to improve the population-wide implementation of evidence-based interventions by clinical and community organisations to reduce the preventable disease burden.​

Precision Medicine​ Research Program

Identifying the most appropriate treatments for individual patients by deciphering the characteristics of complex diseases – providing the right treatment for each patient at the right time.​

Surgical and Perioperative Care ​Research Program

Improving holistic long term community health outcomes through surgical and perioperative research.​

​Women’s Health Research Program

Driving health policy and practice with high quality evidence to improve women’s health across the life course.​

* HMRI is a partnership between the University of Newcastle, Hunter New England Health and the community.