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Alder to drive hearing research

THE Lions Ear and Hearing Institute recently appointed Val Alder as chairperson to drive its research programs and help attract funding from research bodies and venture capitalists. Formerly deputy dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry at the University of Western Australia, Professor Alder said she would use her experience in attracting grants to advance the institute’s research programs. On the institute’s board for more than 18 months, she said a major priority was to assist Marcus Atlas, the institute’s director, to build a team of medical, science, engineering and audiological researchers that could contribute to the development of medical products and surgical procedures for the hearing impaired. As well as having been pro vice-chancellor of research at Murdoch University, Professor Alder’s diverse career includes an early stint in industrial research and development with British Steel, Phillips, and the British naval defence force, foll-owed by a 27-year career in eye and ear medical research. In just four years of operation, the LEHI, based near Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital in Nedlands, is making a significant impact on hearing research, according to Professor Alder.“The institute is the only research organisation in the world to undertake revolutionary tissue engineering in an attempt to grow replacement parts of the ear to restore hearing,” she said. Professor Alder also chairs the Murdoch Westscheme Enterprise Partnership Investment Committee, which has a $12 million fund for commercialisation of research. She replaces outgoing chair Sue Bergersen, who played a major role in the formation of the institute.

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