Professor Robert Vink
|Org Unit||Medical Sciences|
UniSA - Playford Building
Professor Robert Vink AM
BSc (Hons), PhD (Griffith), GCertEd (JCU), DSc (Adelaide), FAHMS
Pro Vice-Chancellor, Health Sciences, University of South Australia
Adjunct Professor, University of Adelaide
I am a neuroscientist who specialises in acute brain injury research. After completing my BSc (Hons) and PhD at Griffith University in Brisbane (Aust), I was awarded a Sandoz Postdoctoral Neuroscience Fellowship in the Neurology Department at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) where at the end of that fellowship I was appointed as an Assistant Research Professor. I was then fortunate to be awarded a Queen Elizabeth II Fellowship (Aust) which allowed me to return to Australia and undertake research at James Cook University in Townsville, North Queensland, focusing on magnetic resonance studies of traumatic brain injury. At the conclusion of my fellowship, I was appointed as an academic staff member and over time became an Associate Professor and Head of Department of Physiology and Pharmacology. A period of sabbatical research as an Adjunct Professor at Georgetown University, Washington DC, inspired me to move to the University of Adelaide in 2001 where I again focused on research in the Department of Pathology. I was subsequently appointed to be the NRF Chair of Neurosurgical Research and the Head of the School of Medical Sciences. In 2014, I took the opportunity to join the University of South Australia as the Pro Vice-Chancellor of Health Sciences, although I maintained an adjunct position at the University of Adelaide.
My research has always focused on identifying secondary injury factors following CNS injury, and the associated development of novel pharmacotherapies that improve functional outcome. During my early career, most of my time was spent characterising the role of magnesium in traumatic brain injury. In the second half of my career, my research time was spent characterising neurogenic inflammation in acute and chronic brain injury, particularly its role in brain oedema, the development of elevated intracranial pressure and in repeated concussion / chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). A couple of patents in this area have been licensed to pharmaceutical industry and are happily progressing through clinical development (phase I trials have been completed).
Along the way, there have been a few honours and awards including being the invited Japanese Society for Neurotraumatology Visiting Professor in 2001, and presenting the Jamieson Memorial Lecture and receiving the associated medal at the Neurosurgical Society of Australasia annual meeting in 2009. In 2012, the University of Adelaide awarded me a DSc for my international contributions to neurotrauma research. The Australasian Neuroscience Society and the Neurosurgical Society of Australasia gave me the honour of presenting the Eccles Lecture at their annual meetings in 2015, where the Australasian Neuroscience Society also awarded me their Society medal. Later that year, I was inducted as a fellow of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences. In 2018 I was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM).
In terms of service to organisations, I am currently the Secretary of the International Neurotrauma Society and a regular member of the scientific committee of the International Society for Development of Research on Magnesium. Locally, I am the President of the Neurosurgical Research Foundation which is a registered charity supporting brain research.
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Entry last updated: Wednesday, 7 Feb 2018
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