Victorian Premier’s Awards recognise rising stars

By Rob Clancy, staff writer

L–R: Dr Kallyanashis Paul, Dr Roshan Selvaratnam
L–R: Dr Kallyanashis Paul, Dr Roshan Selvaratnam

Hudson Institute has featured prominently in the Victorian Premier’s Awards for Health and Medical Research, thanks to pioneering work developing new treatments for pelvic organ prolapse (POP).

The Victorian Premier’s Awards, established in 1995 by the Victorian Government in partnership with the Australian Society for Medical Research, recognise the exceptional contributions and capabilities of Victoria’s early-career health and medical researchers.

Dr Kallyanashis Paul was a finalist in the Clinical Researcher category for his pioneering work developing new treatments for pelvic organ prolapse (POP) and Dr Roshan Selvaratnam an Honorary Research Associate from the Ritchie Centre, won in the Public Health Researcher category for his work on fetal growth restriction as the largest contributor to late pregnancy stillbirth.

Premier’s Awards – Clinical Researcher

Dr Paul was one of three shortlisted candidates in the Clinical Researcher category

He was nominated for his work developing alternative treatments for Pelvic Organ Prolapse (POP), a debilitating condition affecting around half of all women aged 50+ who have given birth.

Amalgamating his engineering expertise with urogynecology, Dr Paul designed new alternative tissue engineered meshes using advanced 3D printing of polymer and highly regenerative cells from the endometrium.

In a world first study, he designed degradable 3D printed mesh made of, FDA approved polymer, Poly ε-caprolactone (PCL) with natural tissue like properties using a layer-by-layer addition to enable its integration with the body.

He also developed the world’s first cell based preventative therapy for POP, targeting an immediate therapy following vaginal childbirth damage.

This technology has the potential to revolutionise treatment of this often devastating condition, for which there is currently no cure – significantly improving women’s quality of life and reducing healthcare expenditure.

Premier’s Award – Public Health Researcher 

Dr Selvaratnam’s PhD research found that current detection processes only identify 20 per cent of growth restricted fetuses, and that inaccurate identification often leads to unwarranted early deliveries.

These early deliveries are not only unnecessary for pregnant women but can be harmful to children before and after birth, and to their longer-term educational outcomes. Dr Selvaratnam’s research also helps explain why Australia’s stillbirth rate has been stagnant for over two decades.

As a result of his work, new performance measures will be introduced into Victorian hospitals for regular maternity-related reporting, with the intention to roll out these measures around Australia.

The winners of the Victorian Premier’s Awards for Health and Medical Research were named at a ceremony on Monday 4 April, with winners receiving $5,000, and an additional $15,000 granted to the Premier’s Excellence award winner.

This research was supported by | Victorian State Government

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