Premier’s Award to young MD researcher
The award was announced by Premier Ted Baillieu and Minister for Health David Davis and awarded to Dr Gehrig at a ceremony at Government House earlier this month.
The Victorian Government and the Australian Society for Medical Research (ASMR) present the Award every year in recognition of achievements by Victoria’s early career health and medical researchers.
The University of Melbourne’s Department of Physiology, where Dr Gehrig conducted the research, has also received the $30,000 Jack and Robert Smorgon Families Award as part of the 2012 Premier’s Award for Health and Medical Research program.
As part of his PhD investigating novel therapies for Duchenne muscular dystrophy, Dr Gehrig conducted a five-year international project, which found that increasing levels of ‘heat shock protein 72’ (HSP72) in the muscles of mice could help treat DMD. Dr Gehrig and the team are hopeful that these findings will soon serve as the basis for clinical trials. The study was performed in collaboration with the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute, Deakin University and the University of Oxford, UK.
The three commended applicants for the 2012 Premier’s Award for Health and Medical Research, who also studied or are currently studying at the University of Melbourne, were each presented with $8,000 for their outstanding contribution in the field of health and medical research:
Dr Sophie Valkenburg, a University of Melbourne PhD student at the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, for her research on the role of T-cells in the recognition of and protection against different influenza viruses.
Michael Livingston, a researcher with Turning Point Alcohol and Drug Centre, for his work on the availability of alcohol and its effect on consumption, health and social problems.
Dr Elena Tucker, a researcher with the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, for her work into mitochondrial disease - characterised by an inability to generate the energy required for normal bodily functions and often with fatal consequences.