Mater Research 2021 Annual Report

Friday 04 March 2022

The Mater Research Executive is pleased to present the Mater Research 2021 Annual Report.

In these pages you will witness Mater Research’s drive, passion and commitment to discovery, translation and integration. With this we serve the Mater community through cutting edge health and medical research.

At Mater Research we know that our researchers are our core strength. Combined with our partnerships with The University of Queensland, the Translational Research Institute and Health Translation Queensland, we collectively leverage our networks to translate our findings to make a difference. In these pages, you will see numerous examples that illustrate this well.

Examples range across the health spectrum, including such diverse discoveries as the one by Freddy Beker’s group that improved neurodevelopmental outcomes result by incorporating smell and taste into the feeding of preterm babies (JAMA Pediatrics); the characterisation of new cancer cell enzymes that can be targeted by novel immunotherapies in malignancies of the breast and ovaries (published by John Hooper’s team in Nature Chemical Biology); the ground-breaking discovery that we are NOT what we eat – (by Jake Grattan and colleagues in Cell), i.e. patients with Autism develop an altered gut microbiome and not the other way round; the continued success of JETRA including securement of substantial venture capital for Sumaira Hasnain’s intellectual property to tackle obesity related liver disease; and the first psychosocial analysis of the burden of inflammatory bowel disease in young Australians by Simon Denny from the Mater Young Adult Health Centre.

The list goes on and on…

These and other successes have seen our institute grow and our reach expand. The breadth of these achievements is indeed a cause to celebrate. This has occurred despite the backdrop of considerable pressure on the sector due to limited research funding and philanthropy. Yet 2021 yielded our highest ever total for external international and national peer-reviewed grants – thereby bucking the national trend of diminishing funding returns and increasing competition for scarce research dollars.

Mater Research, like all around us, have had to struggle with the myriad of challenges that the pandemic has brought forth. Despite lockdowns, cessation in overseas higher degree student recruitment, supply chain issues and stop/start accrual to clinical trials, our overall productivity was largely maintained.

2021 could not have been navigated without the tenacity and leadership of my fellow executives Professor Allison Pettit and Emily Bailey, to the ongoing dedication of all of our research and professional staff, and the support of the Research Advisory Board and Mater Foundation. No one should take their commitment for granted, and I sincerely thank each and every single one of them.

As you can see, our research is having a global impact.

I invite you to immerse yourself in our 2021 Mater Research Annual Report. I trust that you will be amazed and enlightened, and by the end feel as confident as I do, that 2022 will continue our upward trajectory.

Kind regards,

Professor Maher Gandhi

Executive Director Mater Research