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Welcome to our 2020 Research Excellence Awards


Left to right: Dr. Vikneswary Batumalai, Dr. Vincent Ho, Dr. Pei Ding, Dr. Srinivasa P. Pothula and Prof Valsamma Eapen.

Let us introduce the winners of our 2020 Ingham Institute Research Excellence Awards – all of whom hold multiple roles as clinician, educator and researcher.

Lady (Mary) Fairfax AC, OBE Distinguished Researcher Award
Prof Valsamma Eapen

Valsa is an Infant, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Professor at the School of Psychiatry, UNSW and leads Childhood Development research at the Ingham Institute. Results from her research has been directly translated into the community. She has conducted a world-first study for the early identification of childhood developmental disorders like Autism and developed the Quality of Life Autism Scale which is used by more than 35 Childhood Development teams across 18 countries. Recently her team worked alongside NSW Health and GP clinics across south west Sydney, to develop the new 2018 BlueBook and online app, to collectively screen for learning development vulnerabilities for children as young as 12 months. In addition, she has supervised a total of 26 Independent Learning Projects amongst medical students, 10 PhD candidates and 1 Honours student in south western Sydney over the last ten years.

Higher Degree Student Award
Dr. Pei Ding

Pei is a Medical Oncologist who treats patients with gastrointestinal, genitourinary, thoracic and breast cancers. In addition to her clinical role, Pei is working on a PhD that is focused on the understanding of how liquid biopsy with circulating tumour cells and circulating tumour DNA could be used to monitor for disease response and resistance to treatment for patients with metastatic EGFR mutated lung cancer. Pei is actively involved in clinical trials with lung cancer patients across NSW.

Early Career Researcher Award
Dr. Vikneswary Batumalai

Vicky is a Research Radiation Therapist at Liverpool and Macarthur (Hospital) Cancer Therapy Centres and has led many innovative projects and supported the introduction of new technologies for cancer treatment. She has published 26 research papers that focus on improving clinical practice in cancer treatment. She has shown the detrimental effect on survival of poor access to cancer treatment and quantified the cost of overcoming the gaps in treatment access. Vicky is one of the first radiation therapists in Australia to obtain a PhD.

Excellence in Teaching Award
Dr. Vincent Ho

Vincent is a Gastroenterologist and Hepatologist at Camden and Campbelltown Hospitals and a Senior Lecturer in Medicine at Western Sydney University. Vincent is highly recognised for the quality of his clinical teaching for junior medical officers at Campbelltown Hospital and has developed a number of virtual 3D animations to visualise gut physiology processes for medical students. His teachings are not limited to the classroom but extends to the community. He is an avid communicator of medical information to the public and has produced websites, awareness campaigns and articles for health promotion in the community.

Best Research Support Award
Dr. Srinivasa P. Pothula

Upon completing his PhD with the Institute’s Pancreatic Research Group in 2015, Sri was appointed the position as the Institute’s Laboratory Manager. He provides critical laboratory expertise, scientific equipment training and clinical support to over 85 researchers across 17 research groups, and facilitates research collaborations between clinicians and scientists working with the local health district and universities.

We are very proud to work alongside such highly accomplished colleagues

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