Inspiring Health
Transforming Care

Research Excellence Awards 2022

On Thursday 13 October, the Ingham Institute proudly celebrated research excellence in South Western Sydney and the achievements of our researchers.

Working with our major partners – the South Western Sydney Local Health District, UNSW Sydney and Western Sydney University – the Research Excellence Awards bring together leaders from government, healthcare, education, business and community, who are all working together to transform healthcare in one of Australia’s fastest growing regions.

Ingham Institute Annual Research Excellence Awards

  • Lady (Mary) Fairfax AC, OBE Distinguished Researcher Award
  • Early Career Researcher Award
  • Higher Degree Student Award
  • Excellence in Teaching Award
  • Best Administration & Research Support Award

We congratulate the 2022 winners and thank them for their significant contribution to applied medical research and its impact to inspire health and transform care across our local and global community.


Professor Mark Parsons and A/Professor Therese Becker

Recognising two individuals who exhibit outstanding achievements in a long-standing internationally recognised research career. The career achievements are demonstrated by high impact publications, citations, grants record, research and clinical innovations, initiated policy and clinical practice improvements, higher degree student mentoring, external awards and recognitions.

#1 Professor Mark Parsons

Prof Parsons is the Head of the Ingham Institute Stroke & Neurology Centre with an impressive and long-standing internationally recognised career. Prof Parsons has made multiple high impact publications, has an outstanding grants record, research and clinical innovations, initiated policy and clinical practice improvements, mentors higher degree students and has multiple external awards and recognitions. Over the past two years at UNSW, Prof Parsons has brought in excess of $9 million in research income from NHMRC.

Prof Parsons is an internationally recognised leader in stroke medicine, clinical stroke trials (acute and prevention), and brain imaging. He has more than 150 speaker invitations and session chairs at international conferences. Prof Parsons was also awarded a Chinese Stroke Association International Cooperation Award in 2021.

Prof Parsons is the mastermind to the establishment of the Sydney Brain Centre at UNSW in the South West. He is a key figure in the Australian Stroke Alliance, which is a MRFF funded major partnership grant to the tune of $40 million. The Alliance has more than 30 partners and hosts a team of leaders from across Australia including government, academic, health, consumer and commercial agencies. The Alliance is addressing urgent research questions and developing world-first disruptive technologies to radically transform access to early pre-hospital treatments and dramatically improve stroke outcomes for all Australians.

Lady (Mary) Fairfax AC, OBE Distinguished Researcher Award sponsored by Lady (Mary) Fairfax Trust presented by Terry Goldacre, Ingham Institute Chair

#2 A/Prof Therese Becker

A/Prof Becker leads the centre for Circulating Tumour Cells (CTCs) Diagnostics & Research (CCDR) at the Ingham Institute. Since founding the group in 2013, Therese has built a nationally and internationally recognised liquid biopsy research team at the Ingham Institute with frequent and well cited publications in the field.

A/Prof Becker has developed unique research pipelines such as the world’s first targeted immune-magnetic isolation of brain cancer CTCs and pioneered the most sensitive method to detect the clinically important prostate cancer biomarker AR-V7 from liquid biopsy. She is a key opinion leader in the liquid biopsy research community.

The CTC program is nationally acknowledged as one of the best liquid biopsy facilities in the country and is a symbol of the excellence of Ingham Institute research with international recognition.

A/Prof Becker co-founded the Ingham Institute Cancer Research Consumer Panel and recruited a large team of consumers to ensure community input into highly translational research projects at the Institute. Therese is regularly invited to present to community groups including at the Ingham Institute and the National Breast Cancer Foundation.

A/Prof Becker is an excellent researcher and a valued member of the Ingham Institute research community plus the international liquid biopsy collegiate. She is a generous collaborator and readily lends her time and expertise to guide the development of projects or to advance the careers of younger researchers. Therese has supervised or currently supervises 14 PhD, 12 Honours and 2 Masters students.

Lady (Mary) Fairfax AC, OBE Distinguished Researcher Award sponsored by Lady (Mary) Fairfax Trust presented by Terry Goldacre, Ingham Institute Chair


Dr Chamini Perera

Awarded to an individual who has demonstrated significant achievements in their research career through high impact publications, citations, grants record, innovation, student supervision, external awards and recognitions.

Dr Chamini Perera joined the Ingham Institute in January 2019 as an Associate Lecturer/Postdoctoral Fellow with the Pancreatic Research Group, UNSW (under Prof Minoti Apte) and promoted to Lecturer in January 2021. Chamini completed her PhD in 2016 in the field of Neuropathic Pain and worked as a Post-doctoral Research Officer, with the Translational Neuroscience Facility in the School of Medical Sciences at UNSW.

Chamini currently leads the world’s first study to identify the role of pancreatic stellate cells in pancreatic cancer-related diabetes, with the aim of identifying a novel biomarker for early detection of pancreatic cancer. Chamini has 18 peer-reviewed papers in high ranked biomedical journals. Chamini was also awarded the ECR Award from South Western Sydney Clinical Campuses in 2021 for her outstanding contribution to Research, Teaching, Social Engagement and Leadership at UNSW.

Early Career Researcher Award sponsored by Ingham Institute for Applied Medical Research presented by Prof Les Bokey, Ingham Institute Research Director


Tanzila Khan

Awarded to an individual who has made significant progress towards their degree, clinical significance of their topic of research, publications, innovations, development of research protocols, and collaboration.

Tanzila Khan is a members of the Circulating Tumour Cells facility with Prof Therese Becker. Tanzila has demonstrated significant progress towards her degree as she completed her experimental and analysis for her PhD project at the Ingham Institute. Tanzila completed her thesis in July 2022 and submitted this with WSU.

Tanzila’s project is of clinical significance. She recently published evidence for the prognostic and predictive value of testing the prostate cancer biomarker AR-V7 using liquid biopsy. She has produced 6 journal publications, 5 as first author. Tanzila has established and fostered collaborations with WSU and UNSW researchers and is part of an NHMRC Ideas Grant. Tanzila project is highly innovative.

Tanzila is integral to developing new protocols for the Circulating Tumour Cells research team that will form the basis of future work, student projects and funding applications.

Higher Degree Student Award sponsored by Liverpool Catholic Club presented by Greg Richardson, Club President


Professor Wei Chua

Awarded to an individual who has demonstrated deep dedication to teaching through their impact on students, their motivation and inspiration, development of new courses, curriculum and education resources in South Western Sydney.

Prof Wei Chua is a Senior Staff Specialist and Medical Oncologist at Liverpool Hospital since 2010. Prof Chua has demonstrated a consistent and outstanding contribution to the education of students and trainees in South Western Sydney.

Prof Chua commenced at Western Sydney University (WSU) in 2020 and has been responsible for development of the oncology teaching program for Year 4 WSU Medical Students at Liverpool Hospital.

Prof Chua has been directly responsible for the development of multiple successful clinician researchers who continue to make an impact today. Her teaching achievements and contributions span the entire spectrum of medical training. Prof Chua has substantially impacted the lives of many students and furthermore, these students have gone on to make significant impacts in oncology. Prof Chua’s unique ability is to mentor, inspire and guide researchers is an invaluable skillset that bolsters the capacity to both the Ingham Institute and the South Western Sydney Local Health District (SWSLHD).

Excellence in Teaching Award sponsored by South Western Sydney Local Health District (SWSLHD), presented by Dr David Abi-Hanna


Belinda Kleut

Awarded to a research support or administration person with proven outstanding dedication and commitment to progressing research or clinical trials whilst not working on a particular project.

Belinda Kleut has been supporting clinical trials at the Ingham Institute for the past 2 years. Belinda was key in supporting the Clinical Trial Support Unit (CTSU) during the COVID period including ensuring the Business Continuity Plan was meticulously followed.

Belinda coordinated support for the Clinical Trial Coordinators (CTC) and Investigators for knowledge sharing and ensured Good Clinical Practice (GCP) compliance was managed and tracked. Belinda project managed the redevelopment of the clinical trials area within the Ingham Institute allowing for increased capacity across the Ingham Institute and South Western Sydney Local Health District (SWSLHD).

Belinda provides comprehensive and invaluable support to the Director of Clinical Trials, Meg Ford and all member of the CTSU team while facilitating access for clinical trial sponsors to enable site monitoring.

Best Research Support Award sponsored by the Perich Group presented by Tony Perich

Award Gallery