La Trobe researchers shine

La Trobe University researchers have once again been acknowledged in The Australian’s annual Research Awards, which identify the best researchers and best research institutions in each of 250 fields of research.

The results are published today in The Australian’s Research Magazine.

Six La Trobe researchers have been acknowledged as top researchers in their fields, in recognition of the significance, quality and impact of their research across Health and Medical Sciences, Life Sciences and Earth Sciences and Humanities, Literature and Arts.

In addition to the top researchers in their field, La Trobe has once again secured its position as a leader in the fields of Child and Adolescent Psychology and Developmental Disability.

This year a new category – Top Ten Challenges - also acknowledges the top five universities that are making notable achievements in ten key research challenge areas of national importance.

La Trobe has been identified as a top five research institution in the Disability and Rehabilitation Research Challenge, in relation to the University’s Centre for Research Excellence in Aphasia Recovery and Rehabilitation.

La Trobe University Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Industry Engagement), Professor Susan Dodds, congratulated the top researchers on this recognition of their high impact research across wide-ranging fields.

“To have even more of our remarkable researchers and disciplines recognised in The Australian’s Research Awards is a truly fantastic result and I would like to congratulate everyone on this significant achievement and for their commitment to leading ongoing, high-impact research,” Professor Dodds said.

Top La Trobe researchers in their field

Health and Medical Sciences

Fields: Developmental Disabilities and Child and Adolescent Psychology

Top researcher in these fields: Professor Cheryl Dissanayake AM from the school of Psychology and Public Health and the Olga Tennison Autism Research Centre.

Professor Dissanayake is the Founding Director and inaugural Chair of Australia’s first research centre dedicated to autism.

She has been an autism researcher since 1984, when she began her PhD and has established and led an active and successful research program since joining La Trobe University in 1996.

This is the fifth consecutive year that Professor Dissanayake has been recognised as a Research Field Leader by The Australian, with outstanding results across both disciplines.

La Trobe University is also recognised as a top research institution in both the field of Development Disabilities and Child and Adolescent Psychology.

Field: Pharmacology & Pharmacy

Top researcher in this field: Professor Chris Sobey, from the School of Agriculture, Biomedicine and Environment and the Centre for Cardiovascular Biology and Disease Research.

Professor Sobey is a Co-Director of the Centre for Cardiovascular Biology and Disease Research. He has a career total of more than 240 publications with over 22,000 citations in the field of cardiovascular research.

A major part of his current research is investigating the mechanisms of injury occurring in the brain after a stroke to identify and develop novel approaches to treat stroke patients.

This work has resulted in him co-leading an upcoming multicentre Phase 2 clinical trial to investigate the effects of amniotic cells normally discarded after birth to reduce brain injury and aid recovery after stroke.

Field: Orthopedic Medicine & Surgery

Top researcher in this field: Professor Kate Webster, from the School of Allied Health, Human Services and Sport and Head of Department for Sport, Exercise and Nutrition Sciences.

Professor Webster's research interests cover a range of topics relating to knee orthopaedics, including surgical techniques and outcomes, biomechanical changes after knee surgery and return to sport issues, with a focus on the psychological impact of returning to sport participation.

She was the lead developer of the Anterior Cruciate Ligament Return to Sport after Injury (ACL-RSI) scale, which has been translated from English to more than 14 languages.

Kate also has a general interest in gait and mobility including the effects of diseases such as osteoarthritis on balance and gait.

Life Sciences & Earth Sciences

Field: Animal husbandry

Top researcher in this field: Professor Jennie Pryce, from the School of Applied Systems Biology

Professor Pryce’s main areas of interest are genetic improvement of functional traits in dairy cattle, optimising breeding scheme design under genomic selection and development of dairy selection indices.

She is Research Leader of Agriculture Victoria Research and also sits on several industry and research alignment groups that shape the future of dairy research in Australia and internationally.

Humanities, Literature & Arts

Field: Sex and Sexuality

Top researcher in this field: Adjunct Associate Professor Anthony Lyons, from the Australian Research Centre for Sex, Health and Society.

Associate Professor Lyons specialises in understanding and addressing the impact of social inequities on people's health and wellbeing, including work involving gender and sexually diverse populations.

He is a psychology and public health researcher with a strong national and international track record in advancing new knowledge that directly informs policy and practice for governments, organisations and other stakeholders across diverse sectors.

Field: Religion

Top researcher in this field: Dr Lindsay Carey,  Associate Professor with the Palliative Care Unit within the School of Psychology and Public Health.

Dr Carey is well known for his research into religion and its interconnection with health and well-being. He is recognized as a leading Australian researcher into moral injury experienced by military veterans and, in 2019, won the prestigious Sir Edward Weary Dunlop Award for innovative research into moral injury and veteran health.

He was previously recognsed as an Australian Field Research Leader in 2018 and 2019 and now also 2022.

Dr. Carey also has a strong interest in palliative and end-of-life care, grief, dying and bioethics.