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UNSW Sydney has swept the 2022 CVRN Ministerial Awards for Cardiovascular Research, which recognised three researchers for their ground-breaking efforts in tackling cardiovascular disease.

Hosted by the NSW Cardiovascular Research Network (CVRN) Showcase, Officer for Health and Medical Research, NSW Health, and the Heart Foundation, the CVRN Ministerial Awards recognise the state’s most eminent health and medical researchers who are making significant contributions to the treatment and prevention of cardiovascular disease.

NSW Health Secretary, Susan Pearce, presented the Ministerial Award for Cardiovascular Research Excellence, and two Ministerial Awards for Rising Stars in Cardiovascular Research.

“It’s an extraordinary achievement for our academics to take home all three awards, Scientia Professor Vlado Perkovic, Dean of UNSW Medicine & Health said.

“Professor Vandenberg has made a huge contribution to our understanding of cardiovascular disease and to supporting the next generation of cardiovascular researchers. Associate Professor Giannoulatou’s research is an excellent example of how patients’ genetic diagnosis can always be improved, and Associate Professor Arnott is one of Australia’s leading experts in cardiovascular disease broadly, but especially in women. All three researchers are among our most gifted in cardiovascular disease and I applaud them on this success,” he said.

NSW CVRN Ministerial Award for Research Excellence

Professor Jamie Vandenberg from Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute and UNSW Medicine & Health received the NSW CVRN Ministerial Award for Research Excellence.

Prof. Vandenberg’s research has led to breakthrough treatments - and ultimately a cure - for people with inherited irregular heartbeats (cardiac arrhythmia).

He is passionate about supporting the next generation of cardiovascular researchers in NSW, evidenced through the mentoring and supervision of over 50 undergraduate and postgraduate students and 18 Postdoctoral fellows. His research leadership and vision have fostered a positive culture of collaboration, building a vibrant cardiovascular research ecosystem in NSW and more broadly.

“I am fascinated by how the heart works and trying to work out how we can translate our knowledge of basic mechanisms into improved patient outcomes,” Prof. Vandenberg said. “Over the last 20 years I have also been fortunate to work with some great people, both mentors and mentees, and that has made it fun as well.”

NSW CVRN Rising Star Awards

Conjoint Associate Professor Eleni Giannoulatou from Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute and UNSW Medicine & Health was a joint recipient of the NSW CVRN Rising Star Award.

A/Prof. Eleni Giannoulatou’s work is internationally recognised. Her research has led to improved rates of diagnosis for genetically inherited cardiovascular disease.

Consequently, this research has led to an immediate clinical benefit, as more patients have been able to receive an explanation about their cause of disease.

“I’m honoured to receive this award. It wouldn’t be possible without the support of my collaborators at the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute and the hard work of my team who always think of innovative ways to analyse genetic datasets of cardiovascular disease patients to improve their genetic diagnosis,” she said.

Conjoint Associate Professor Clare Arnott from The George Institute for Global Health and UNSW Medicine & Health also received a NSW CVRN Rising Star Award.

A/Prof. Arnott established Australia's first Women's Heart Clinic and is a Churchill Fellow in Women's cardiovascular disease. 

She is a leader in her field, holding positions including Head of the Cardiovascular Division of The George Institute, Director of the Women’s Heart Clinic at RPA Hospital and Associate Editor on the Editorial Board of Heart, Lung and Circulation.

"I am so grateful to the CVRN and National Heart Foundation for this award. I am very passionate about cardiometabolic research and the opportunity to work towards improving outcomes for my patients. It is wonderful to receive this honour alongside Eleni,” A/Prof. Arnott said.