From experience to innovation

Tuesday 11 April 2017

Mater Researcher Dr Jakob Begun has been recognised as a leader in his field, as one of only three Australian researchers awarded a Viertel Foundation Clinical Investigator Award.

The Clinical Investigator Awards were established by the Viertel Foundation to stimulate and encourage clinical research in Australia; ensuring that opportunity and encouragement is available at the mid-career level of science and research.

Each award recipient receives $85,000 to assist in establishing research programs when transitioning to their first clinical position in an academic environment. 

Dr Begun is an active clinical gastroenterologist treating patients with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) at Mater Hospital Brisbane and is grateful for Viertel Foundation’s support on the investigative path to innovation.

“The project is based around developing genetic tools to help identify potential genetic causes of inflammatory bowel disease within families that have multiple affected family members,” said Dr Begun.

“These cases are likely to be caused by ‘private’ genetic mutations that are not found in the large population-based studies performed to date.  Identifying private familial mutations has not been particularly easy in adults because the genetic changes are likely to be subtle, although can be successful in paediatric cases because the mutations tend to be much more apparent and have larger impacts.”

“By understanding the genetic causes of disease in these families we will be better able to personalize existing therapies to improve care.”

Dr. Jakob Begun is a physician scientist who trained at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital where he received specialized training in IBD and conducted research on functional genetics in IBD. Since joining Mater Research in February 2014 Dr Begun has established his laboratory in the Mater Research Institute and established new IBD clinics at the Mater Young Adult Health Centre Brisbane.