Home to some of Australia’s most heralded and important research foundations, WA’s relative isolation has done little to dampen the medical research sector’s inspiration for innovation. Here are some of the leading lights dedicated to making the state, and the world, a healthier place to live.
Established in 1983 by Ian Constable in collaboration with the University of Western Australia, the Lions Eye Institute combines world-leading blindness prevention research with one of the nation’s biggest ophthalmology clinics, which cares for more than 50,000 patients each year. Among its latest initiatives is its outreach services headed by 40under40 winner Angus Turner, who delivers specialist treatment to remote and indigenous communities in the most far-flung and hard to reach parts of WA.
Since 1998, the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research has undertaken research into cardiovascular disease, cancer and diabetes. Two new state-of-the-art research facilities co-located at two of Perth’s major hospitals allow the institute’s 450 research and trial staff to help deliver global improvements in health.
Founded by Fiona Stanley and now based at Perth Children’s Hospital, the Telethon Kids Institute is one of the largest medical research facilities in the country, with more than 700 staff and students. Led by Jonathan Carapetis, the institute is dedicated to discovering why childhood diseases develop and researches new preventative measures and improved therapy options.
Perron Institute for Neurological and Translational Science
One of the state’s most established medical research units, the Perron Institute has been an international leader in research into muscle, nerve and brain conditions since 1982. Major achievements include discoveries around which genes cause disease, and advancements in robotics-related rehabilitative technologies.
Children’s Leukaemia & Cancer Research Foundation
For more than 30 years, the Children’s Leukaemia & Cancer Research Foundation has been leading the search for cures for childhood cancer in WA. The foundation has a cooperative relationship with the cancer ward at Perth Children’s Hospital and helped establish WA’s Bone Marrow Transplantation Program, which has greatly improved childhood leukaemia survival rates.
The Fiona Wood Foundation is a global leader in research and discovery in the treatment of burns. Established as the McComb Foundation in 1999, it was renamed in 2012 in recognition of Professor Wood’s advancements in burns management research, which includes the development of the world’s first spray-on skin.
Ralph and Patricia Sarich Nueroscience Research Institute
Opened in 2017, the Sarich Institute at QEII Medical Centre houses five of WA’s premier neurological research organisations: Curtin University’s Neuroscience Research Laboratory; the Ear Science Institute of Australia; the McCusker Alzheimer’s Resarch Foundation; the SCGH/UWA Neurofinity Surgical NeuroDiscovery Group; and the Western Australian Nueroscience Research Institute.
Formally instituted in 1957, the Raine Medical Research Foundation has supported medical research in WA for the past 60 years, contributing more than $50 million to major research projects, two centres of excellence, and providing hundreds of fellowships and scholarships for medical students. Mary Raine established the foundation, bequeathing her property empire to the University of Western Australia, a donation that remains the largest bequest received by the university for medical