HMRI Open Day to showcase life-changing medical research

Sep 16 2013

See inside a working lab at the HMRI Open Day on September 26

The Hunter Medical Research Institute (HMRI) is opening its doors to the public for the first time on Thursday, September 26, to showcase the breadth of research being undertaken in the region.

To mark the first anniversary of the HMRI Building opening on the John Hunter Hospital campus, community members are invited to tour the state-of-the-art laboratories and Clinical Trials Centre.

The event will also include the first Q&A-style research debate featuring leading researchers HMRI Director Michael Nilsson, epidemiologist John Attia, psychologist Amanda Baker, respiratory expert Paul Foster, endocrinologist Roger Smith, public health researcher Rob Sanson-Fisher and cancer geneticist Nikola Bowden.

Hunter musician Mark Wells will provide his perspective as a community representative and clinical trial participant. The panel will debate questions submitted in advance through the HMRI website and Twitter page, or from audience members on the day.

“HMRI was founded 15 years ago with the University of Newcastle, Hunter New England Health and the community as its partners, so we are very pleased to welcome people to visit the new Building and see what we do,” HMRI Director Professor Michael Nilsson said.

“From an initial list of just 90 researchers we have grown to be the third largest medical research institute in NSW, with more than 1200 researchers doing world-class work across a raft of illnesses.

“Our research into areas like stroke, asthma, cancer and diabetes is directly helping our local community while also having a profound international impact.”

As part of the Open Day an interactive expo will feature more than 25 displays. Included are melanoma research, respiratory testing, rural pregnancy and art programs, the latest stroke research projects, neonatal care technology, toxicology booths featuring venomous Australian spiders, women’s health research information, computer-based cognitive testing and more.

Being a school holiday event, there will be a science corner where kids can make edible DNA models, extract DNA from fruit models, learn about a day in the life of a researcher and take part in a series of science experiments.

The Information Based Medicine program will have robot dogs performing and children can also take part in a healthy kids training session.
Six of HMRI’s leading researchers will each provide a 20-minute snapshot about new discoveries in their fields.

Finally, a ticketed meet-the-researcher party will allow community guests to meet with the researchers one-on-one in a relaxed setting.