A stellar night for Hunter researchers at the 2021 Research Australia Awards

Dec 13 2021

Dr Tracy Dudding-Byth, awarded Data Innovation Award. Photo courtesy of Research Australia.

Two University of Newcastle and Hunter Medical Research Institute (HMRI) researchers received awards at the Research Australia Awards last night.

Dr Tracy Dudding-Byth, from HMRI and the Hunter New England Local Health District, was awarded the Data Innovation Award Sponsored by Bupa Health Foundation. Dr Dudding-Byth received the award for her work on developing an image recognition system to assist in the diagnosis of rare genetic conditions.

Known as FaceMatch, the project aims to help people with a possible genetic condition find a diagnosis by matching their facial features with people who already have a diagnosis. HMRI has funded FaceMatch through a grant made possible by a generous donation from the Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation.

Professor Brett Mitchell from the University of Newcastle School of Nursing and Midwifery received the Health Services Award Sponsored by the NSW Government. Professor Mitchell received the award for his work on reducing infections related to urinary tract catheters.

Other HMRI and University of Newcastle finalists included Associate Professor Andrew Gardner (Frontier research), Dr Lee Ashton (Advocacy) and Professor Julie Byles (Health Services Research).

HMRI Director Professor Mike Calford said the awards were well deserved and showed the quality of our researchers in the Hunter region.

"To have two major award winners and three finalists in these prestigious national research awards is an outstanding achievement," Professor Calford said.

“The work of Professor Mitchell and Dr Dudding-Byth has clear impact. From improving outcomes of hospitalisation to better diagnosing rare conditions these projects have a measurable effect on health outcomes."

University of Newcastle Pro Vice-Chancellor Health Medicine and Wellbeing Professor Zee Upton said the Research Australia Awards were deserved recognition of the globally-relevant work being undertaken by Hunter researchers.

“The University of Newcastle is focused on translating our research into practical benefits for the people in our regions.

“I congratulate Dr Dudding-Byth and Professor Mitchell on this great success and I’m excited to see further impact of their research.”

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

Professor Brett Mitchell, awarded Health Services Award. Photo courtesy of Research Australia.