Respiratory and sleep medicine researchers recognised by Academy


By Michael Woodhead

2 Nov 2021

Two leading respiratory and sleep medicine pioneers are among 29 of the nation’s top medical and health researchers elected as Fellows of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences (AAHMS) in recognition of their outstanding contributions.

Professor Christine Jenkins, head of the Respiratory Group at the George Institute for Global Health, Sydney is elected in recognition of her work in the field of airways diseases – in particular asthma and COPD. The Academy notes that her contributions have spanned from fundamental studies to large NHMRC‐funded trials, with over 230 publications.

“Professor Jenkins has also contributed extensively to the profession and substantially raised public understanding of health and medical science, having previously served as President of the Thoracic Society of Australia and New Zealand, and currently Chairing the Board of Lung Foundation Australia,” it said.

In a statement, principal directors of The George Institute, Professor Stephen MacMahon and Professor Robyn Norton said this election recognises not only Professor Jenkins’ major research achievements, but also her outstanding national and international leadership in guidelines development, advocacy, education and mentorship in lung health.

“We are extremely privileged to have her lead our Respiratory Group and continue to contribute to our global mission,” they said.

Also at the Woolcock Institute of Medical Research, Professor Ron Grunstein, head of Sleep and Circadian Research Group is elected to the Academy in recognition of his role as the leading sleep medicine clinician-researcher in Australia and one of the world leaders in this discipline.

“He has been engaged in the field from its early origins and has played a major role in the development of the academic, clinical, professional and policy aspects of this discipline,” the Academy said in a statement.

Professor Grunstein was involved in the first trials of CPAP in OSA treatment, and in establishing its role in improving depression and quality of life.

“We’re thrilled to see Ron’s considerable contribution to sleep research honoured in this way,” said Woolcock Executive Director Professor Carol Armour.

“His work has explored the respiratory, cardiovascular, neurological, hormonal and behavioural consequences of sleep disorders as well as the effectiveness of various modes of therapy. These advances have made sleep and wakefulness safer for all Australians,” she said.

The AAHMS is an independent, interdisciplinary body of 454 Fellows – elected by their peers for their outstanding achievements and exceptional contributions to health and medical science in Australia.

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