October 23, 2023

Research Week: The Inspired Researchers are back!

It is that time of year again, when we celebrate research at Northern Health. It seems such a long time since the last one and a lot of things have changed.

Northern Health looks different, with a new mental health building. We are now digital with the new EMR, and we have just welcomed radiology in house.

On the research side, we have a new Director of Research, Nik Zeps, a new Research Operations Manager, Justine Ellis and a new research structure with a Research Executive Committee and a research advisory group.

And through all of that change, our researchers have remained inspired and are now equipped with better capability to lead change and strive for future improvements to help our patients.

This year, following the pattern of change, we have a new format for Research Week, with an exciting programme which is sure to inspire the next generation of Northern Health researchers.

Some of the major work behind the scenes this year has been to re-engage with our university partners, and Research Week opens with the chair of the Research Executive Committee, A/Professor Prahlad Ho, sharing his view of the future for Northern Health, and two exceptional RMIT researchers, Professor Magdalena Plebanski and Professor Vipul Bansal, discussing immune disease biomarkers and nanotechnology.

We showcase some of the best that Northern Health has to offer the world before lunch, with Professor Don Campbell presenting his work so far, in one of the most prominent (and newsworthy!) studies led out of Northern Health, and A/Professor Lisa Hui is showing off the first Northern Health biobank and the opportunities that exist for placental research.

After lunch, some of our brightest minds will compete for the inaugural Peter Brooks Research Award, for the best abstract and oral presentation of the year.

La Trobe University has sponsored afternoon tea to lead into a session dedicated to our allied health rising stars – but not before the popular trivia session, which has proved impossible to leave out of the program.

The most memorable part of the day will be left to last. Professor Peter Brooks, AM has led a distinguished and successful career, and we were incredibly lucky that Peter spent the last few years of his career to boost the profile of research at Northern Health, opened doors for many projects, and mentored many researchers to reach new heights.

He is worthy of a big celebration, and we hope everyone makes time to attend this session at the end of the day and a drink afterwards with Professor Brooks. He will also get to enjoy awarding the inaugural award named after him.

Despite such an excellent programme that celebrates some established Northern Health researchers, the importance of Research Week lies in supporting and encouraging our most junior researchers. We can’t all be amazing researchers the first time we try, and it is imperative to practice the skills of sharing ideas and results through posters, oral presentations or even just networking with senior researchers.

Poster sessions will run through the week, prominently in the hospital foyer, and we will also have a dedicated student session to support some of the excellent student projects of 2023.

The research achievements of Northern Health researchers are an important facet of why we are proud to be part of the Northern Health family, and we hope that everyone comes ‘together’ in this year’s Research Week to support this.


Dr Russell Hodgson

Specialist HPB and General Surgeon

Head of Surgical Research, Northern Health