Let the science begin!

By / 24th of June, 2014

SOUTH Australia’s newest and architecturally spectacular health and medical research institute SAHRMI is opening its doors to both public and peers for the official launch of its scientific program this week.

The launch features a collaborative and interactive program of tours, workshops and keynote presentations.

Top Australian and international health and medical experts will stand alongside SAHRMI scientists to explore the facility’s key research themes during the launch.

“In total we are expecting around 4000 people over the week,” said SAHMRI Executive Director Professor Steve Wesselingh.

“The program for the SAHMRI Scientific Launch has been prepared to engage both the health and medical research sector and the general community, and will highlight key areas of research strength in South Australia,” he said.

The launch kicks off with walk-throughs of the landmark building.

On June 24, the ABC’s Tony Jones will host a Q&A-style panel discussion exploring the dieter’s eternal quandary ‘Fat vs Sugar’.

Panelists include SAHMRI theme leaders Professor Alex Brown (Aboriginal Health), Professor Maria Makrides (Healthy Mothers, Babies and Children) and Professor Julio Licinio (Mind and Brain) along with Professor Gary Wittert (Head of School of Medicine, University of Adelaide), Professor Manny Noakes (CSIRO) and industry representative Geoffrey Annison (Australian Food and Grocery Council).

These open-access events reveal a deliberate strategy within the SAHRMI leadership.

“It’s very important that we consistently explain our work to the public,” said Professor Wesselingh. “We’d like to ensure they understand the research that SAHMRI is doing, but also to enable a two-way dialogue to hear what the public thinks are important health issues that need to be addressed.”

The Q&A session will be available for viewing on the SAHMRI website after the event.

Presentations later in the week are more specialised, targeting the health and medical research community as well as the business and industry sectors.

June 26 is Keynote Speaker Day and June 27 features Scientific Workshops (the programs can be viewed as a PDF here).

South Australians participating in the keynote addresses and workshops include theme leaders at SAHMRI, as well as former Minister for Health Mr John Hill and eye and vision health specialist Professor Justine Smith (Flinders University). David Panter (Central Adelaide Local Health Network) and Stephanie Miller (Health Consumers Alliance) will contribute public health and consumer advocacy perspectives, and Dr Leanna Read (SA Strategic Plan Audit Committee) will provide her experience in biotechnology.

Additional experts from across Australia include Professor Kathryn North (Director at Murdoch Childrens Research Institute), Professor Doug Hilton (Director of the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute) and Professor Warwick Anderson (Chief Executive Officer of the National Health and Medical Research Council).

USA scientists participating are heart health specialists Professor Peter Libby (Brigham and Women’s Hospital) and Professor Eric Peterson (Duke Clinical Research Institute), as well as Director of Johns Hopkins Schizophrenia Centre Professor Akira Sawa.

Pharmaceutical industry leader Mr Pascal Soriot (Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer at AstraZeneca) will also be in attendance, along with genomics expert Professor Jun Wang (Director of the BGI).

June 28 consists of a Translational Neuroscience Day, including presentation of the first ever SAHRMI Mind and Brain Samuel Gershon Medal for Lifetime Achievement in Translational Neuroscience.

For more information or to register for any of the launch events, visit http://www.sahmri.com/participate/scientific-launch

To follow the launch through twitter, follow @SAHMRI_tweets and @TheLeadSA.

Hashtags for each event are:

Q and A ‘Fat vs Sugar’                                     #sqanda

Keynote Speaker Day                                      #SAHMRI_key

Scientific Workshop Day                                 #SAHMRI_sci

Translational Neuroscience Day                     #SAHMRI_brain

On Facebook, see http://www.facebook.com/TheLeadSA for additional coverage and images.

The Lead’s Fact File on SAHMRI is available here