Ramaciotti Foundation Medal Announced
23 November 2009 at 4:29 pm
One of the largest private contributors to biomedical research in Australia, the Ramaciotti Foundation has awarded its prestigious Ramaciotti Medal for Excellence in Biomedical Research to a scientist who made a major breakthrough in treating a disease responsible for over 1 million deaths each year.
The medal was presented to Melbourne University’s Professor Geoff McFadden , at the annual Ramaciotti Awards, where Perpetual will distribute $2.5 million in funding to Australian biomedical researchers. The Ramaciotti medal carries an award of $50,000.
Prof. McFadden’s research has provided a basis for developing new ways to combat one of the world’s major health problems, malaria. The malaria parasite infects more than 300 million people each year, killing around 1 million of them, who are mostly small children.
In his research, Prof. McFadden co-discovered a plant-like structure known as a ‘chloroplast’ in the parasite that causes malaria. Leading a team of 12 scientists including postdoctoral fellows, PhD students, research assistants and undergraduate students, his subsequent research has focused on why the parasite has a relict structure in common with plants.
Professor McFadden says winning the Ramaciotti Medal is a great honour and the grant will help to pay researchers, provide state-of-the-art facilities and give them the chance to remain internationally competitive and at the cutting edge of our field.
The Ramaciotti Medal recognises outstanding contribution to clinical or biomedical research, or the way in which healthcare is delivered.
David Knowles, National Manager of Perpetual’s Philanthropic Services, which manages the charitable trust, says that the Ramaciotti Medal is an important way to promote Australians engaged in world leading biomedical research.
“There are so many passionate and committed biomedical researchers working to improve our health, beat diseases and create better treatments, yet funding is limited. The Ramaciotti Foundations are able to support innovative, ‘out of the box’ research that may not attract mainstream funding.
Managed by Perpetual, the Ramaciotti Foundations were established in 1970 with a $6.7 million bequest. Since then, the charitable trusts have donated more than $47.5 million to biomedical research and this year’s $2.5 million worth of grants is the largest distribution in its history.