News Monash University’s Dr Connie Wong wins Centenary Institute Lawrence Creative Prize

Discussion in 'Immunology' started by parvathy, Nov 13, 2013.

  1. parvathy

    parvathy Member

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    Monash University’s Dr Connie Wong, has been awarded the Centenary Institute Lawrence Creative Prize for her trailblazing multidisciplinary research, linking stroke to the gut and infection.

    One of 32 applicants vying for the $25,000 prize, Dr Wong, from the School of Biomedical Sciences, said she was delighted to receive this prestigious early-career research award.

    “It is an honour to win the Centenary Institute Lawrence Creative Prize, which encourages me to continue my research career in Australia,” Dr Wong said.

    “The prize money will also allow me to generate preliminary data to apply for future government funding.”

    In previous research findings, Dr Wong has shown how stroke weakens the immune system, which increases the risk of infection and death. As bacteria leach in the gut wall following a stroke, the immunologist believes that these events are connected and fibre-based diets can prevent stroke deaths – research that she is now embarking on.

    “We now know that dietary fibre is fermented by our “good” bacteria in the gut, which helps immune cells fight infections,” Dr Wong said.

    “However, after a stroke, we think that the immune cells of the gut are unable to adequately control these bacteria, which are now able to spread to places in our body where they are not supposed to be, and become infectious.”

    Also, at the ceremony in Sydney overnight, award finalist Adjunct Associate Professor Anne Abbott, from the School of Public Health and Preventative Medicine, was recognised for her outstanding work in stroke prevention receiving $5000 to pursue her research.

    The neurologist, who is also affiliated with the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute and Florey Institute for Neuroscience and Mental Health, has shown that lifestyle and medication are more effective, safer and cheaper than surgery or stenting in reducing stroke risk in patients with symptom-free carotid artery disease.

    “I discovered that publishing my results in 2009 was not enough to change existing health policy or practice,” Adjunct Associate Professor Abbott said.

    “So I started an international campaign and have had success in initiating improvements in stroke prevention standards around the world.”

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