National honour for excellence and innovation

21 Jun 2021
National honour for excellence and innovation

SAHMRI's Lifelong Health Co-Leader, Associate Professor Peter Psaltis, has been honoured at the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Research Excellence Awards. He was awarded the Marshall and Warren Innovation Award for his work highlighting the role of adventitial heamangioblasts as an ‘outside-in’ driver of plaque growth and stability in atherosclerosis.

Speaking at the award ceremony in Canberra, alongside his University of Adelaide colleagues and fellow award winners Professor Ian Olver AM and Professor Sarah Robertson, A/Prof Psaltis says this honour is a significant moment in his career.

“I am extremely honoured and proud to receive the 2020 NHMRC Marshall and Warren Innovation Award,” he said.

“It’s humbling recognition of the work that my team has done, and continues to do, in pursuing new treatment approaches to tackle atherosclerosis, which is the disease that causes hardening of the arteries and in turn heart attack and stroke, two of the leading causes of death and suffering around the world.”

“This particular award relates to our discovery of a unique type of stem cell in the wall of arteries. Our NHMRC grant will study how these stem cells cause atherosclerotic plaques to form in arteries, so that we can target them with new treatments for heart and vascular disease.

“I am especially grateful for the outstanding efforts that my group members have already contributed to this project, in particular University of Adelaide PhD student, Anna Williamson, and for the support of my collaborators from both Adelaide and interstate.”  

The Marshall and Warren Innovation Award is named in honour of Australian Nobel Laureates, Professors Barry Marshall AC and Robin Warren AC. This award recognises the most innovative and potentially transformative Ideas Grant application

Associate Professor Psaltis is an academic interventional cardiologist who holds NHMRC Career Development and National Heart Foundation Future Leader Fellowships. He a member of the University of Adelaide's Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences and Head of Acute and Interventional Coronary Services at the Royal Adelaide Hospital.

His bench-to-bedside research focuses on the developmental origins of tissue macrophages and endothelial cells, molecular and pharmacological regulation of atherosclerosis and the applications of stem cells in cardiovascular therapeutics.