Major investment in our future health

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

The University of Adelaide has established a new research institute that will tackle big issues around prevention of illness for individuals and their children, and find new treatments for serious diseases.

Focusing on reproductive health, stem cell research and health across generations, this is the first of several large research institutes to be established by the University of Adelaide over the coming year. The new research institutes will build on the University's research strengths in line with state and national research priorities and reinforce its position as a research leader.

Named after renowned obstetrician Professor Jeffrey Robinson CBE, Emeritus Professor at the University of Adelaide, the Robinson Institute will encompass the University's Research Centre for Reproductive Health, the Centre for Stem Cell Research and the Centre for Early Origins of Health and Disease in a collaborative venture with the Adelaide hospitals Lyell McEwin, Women's and Children's, Royal Adelaide and The Queen Elizabeth, and the Hanson Institute at the IMVS.

The Robinson Institute will be led by University of Adelaide reproductive medicine expert Professor Robert Norman and involve more than 200 research staff and students with expertise ranging from epidemiology through to molecular biology and genetics.

Professor Norman said the Institute would be unique in the range of people brought together in the one organisation, from those working on basic science to people involved in public health and patient services.

"There are very few similar concentrations of experts of such diversity in one Institute anywhere in the world," said Professor Norman. "Bringing together these diverse disciplines will lead to strong clinical and commercial outcomes in human and animal health, and this offers an extraordinary opportunity for new ideas to be brought to practical use more rapidly." Examples include new treatments for infertility, stem cell production and novel interventions in diseases of pregnancy and cancer.

Professor Norman said the Robinson Institute would study the social context for reproductive health, develop effective strategies, and translate research into health practice and policy. Members would also promote commercialisation of treatments, and provide high level training of students and researchers in reproductive and regenerative medicine.

"The Institute will also promote the role of stem cell research in the University where 18 internationally competitive groups undertake research on areas such as the isolation of adult and cord blood stem cells, clinical applications and improved patient care," he said.

"By working closely together with Adelaide's public hospitals, we will be delivering rapid clinical outcomes right to the hospitals where patients are being seen."

The Robinson Institute will build on the University's international reputation in reproductive health stemming from world-leading research over the past 50 years, which has increased understanding of human and animal reproduction and produced new infertility treatments and genetic diagnosis of embryos.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Mike Brooks said the Robinson Institute was part of the University's research strategy to build concentrations of research strength in several broad areas.

"The University of Adelaide is making a substantial increased investment in research to further raise our research outcomes, strengthen our research reputation internationally and increase the impact we make on the local and wider communities," said Professor Brooks.

"The Robinson Institute will enhance our already strong reputation in reproduction and increase our ability to produce real health outcomes, to grow our funding base and to attract leading researchers and top students from around the world."

Emeritus Professor Jeffrey Robinson led the development of the University's outstanding reputation for research in fetal-maternal health and reproductive medicine and biology over 20 years from 1986 to 2006. In 2006 he was awarded a Commander of the British Empire (CBE) for his services to maternal and fetal health.


Contact Details

Professor Rob Norman
Professor of Reproductive & Periconceptual Medicine
Robinson Research Institute
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 8166
Mobile: 0450 840 245

Mr David Ellis
Deputy Director, Media and Corporate Relations
External Relations
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 5414
Mobile: +61 (0)421 612 762