Fostering research commercialisation through philanthropy

On Friday 22 February, the Faculty was pleased to host Dr Janice Hirshorn, Dr George Jacobs and Mrs Bella Hirshorn to meet the recipients of the Michael Hirshorn Medical Research Commercialisation Fund.

 Left to right: Professor Shitij Kapur, Dr Adrian Achuthan, Associate Professor Tony Velkov, Dr Janice Hirshorn, Dr George Jacobs, Mrs Bella Hirshorn, Associate Professor Peter Crouch, and Professor Erica Fletcher.

Left to right: Professor Shitij Kapur, Dr Adrian Achuthan, Associate Professor Tony Velkov, Dr Janice Hirshorn, Dr George Jacobs, Mrs Bella Hirshorn, Associate Professor Peter Crouch, and Professor Erica Fletcher.

Dr Hirshorn and Dr Jacobs generously established the Michael Hirshorn Medical Research Commercialisation Fund in 2016 to support biomedical research at the University that has commercialisation potential. This endowed fund was named in memory of Dr Hirshorn’s late brother Michael who was passionate about the commercialisation of biomedical inventions and was a co-founder and Chief Executive of the company behind the bionic ear, Cochlear.

Michael’s outstanding contributions to medical technologies and product commercialisation will live on through this fund and provide valuable support to researchers across all Departments and Schools in the Faculty. This fund will ensure the Faculty can continue to attract and retain the best minds in medical research and empower them to make cutting-edge medical discoveries that benefit all Australians.

Since the fund’s establishment, five researchers have been supported whose research has the potential to benefit a diverse range of health conditions.

Prof Erica Fletcher
Department of Anatomy and Neuroscience
Research project: Novel peptides to prevent the development or progression of age-related macular degeneration.

A/Prof Tony Velkov
Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutic
Research project: Anti-microbial hydrogels: targeting wound infections caused by ‘superbugs’ resistant to all current antibiotics.

A/Prof Peter Crouch
Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics
Research project: Validation of a copper drug for progressive Multiple Sclerosis (MS).

Dr Adrian Achuthan
Department of Medicine, Royal Melbourne Hospital
Research project: Chemokine therapy for rheumatoid arthritis.

Dr Lucy Sullivan
Department of Microbiology and Immunology
Research project: Development of a novel immune monitoring assay for transplant recipients.

The Faculty is most grateful to Dr Hirshorn and Dr Jacobs who are committed to continuing their support for the fund and honouring Michael.

Applications for the next round of grants from the fund will open in August 2019.