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Success in the 2022 Premiers Awards for Health and Medical Research

Success in the 2022 Premiers Awards for Health and Medical Research


May 26, 2023

Dr Rangi Kandane-Rathnayake accepted the award on behalf of Dr Kathryn Connelly. Credit – Victorian Department of Health.

Monash’s early career researchers have been honored at Premier Awards 2022 for Health and Medical Researchwith Dr Kathryn Connelly from the School of Clinical Sciences receiving the Clinical Investigator Award for her work in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) treatments.

Established in 1995 by the Victorian Government in partnership with Australian Society for Medical Researchthe awards recognize the outstanding contributions and skills of Victoria’s early career health and medical researchers.

Dr Jinxin Zhao from the Monash Biomedical Discovery Institute, Dr Bradley Gardiner from the Central Clinical School, and Dr. Jane Tiller from the School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine were also finalists in this year’s awards.

Kathryn Connelly

Dr Kathryn Connelly

Dr Connelly’s research addresses the need for new treatments in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), an incurable autoimmune disease. Despite the demand for effective therapy, there has been a lack of success in clinical trials for SLE. One challenge is inadequate clinical trial endpoints, which often fail to capture meaningful improvements.

Recognizing this gap, Dr Connelly’s research focuses on developing an instrument and endpoint to accurately measure treatment response in SLE clinical trials. To do this, she assembled an international task force of clinical lupus experts, patient representatives and experts from pharmaceutical companies. Dr Connelly aims to understand the limitations of existing trial endpoints, address knowledge gaps and form a step-by-step plan to create and implement a new instrument and endpoint.

By introducing more robust and patient-centered measures, Dr Connelly’s research aims to improve the evaluation of potential therapies and facilitate the approval of new treatments for SLE. This work has the potential to impact the lives of people living with SLE by improving their quality of life and expanding their treatment options.

“I am honored to receive this award and extremely fortunate to work with a group of talented and supportive research colleagues and supervisors who have made the work recognized by this award possible,” said Dr Connelly. “As a team, we are excited to continue our work on measuring outcome in lupus, and the prospect of contributing to better treatment options and improving the lives of those affected by this debilitating disease.”

Our warmest congratulations to Dr Connelly, Dr Zhao, Dr Gardiner and Dr Tiller for this well-deserved recognition of their contributions and skills in health and medical research.

About Monash University

Monash University is Australia’s largest university with more than 80,000 students. In the 60 years since its founding, it has developed a reputation for world-class high-impact research, quality teaching and inspiring innovation.

With four campuses in Australia and a presence in Malaysia, China, India, Indonesia and Italy, it is one of the most internationalized Australian universities.

As a leading international medical research university with the largest medical faculty in Australia and integration with leading Australian teaching hospitals, we are consistently ranked in the top 50 universities worldwide for clinical, preclinical and health sciences.

For more news, visit Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences or Monash University.


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