Westmead researcher wins prestigious research prize

Westmead Hospital researcher Dr Loan Le.

Westmead Hospital’s Dr Loan Le has been awarded the 2017 Ralph Reader Basic Science Prize.

Dr Le, who is also a post-doctoral researcher in the Cardiac Regeneration Laboratory at the Westmead Institute for Medical Research, received the award for her research investigating the promise of stem cell therapy in repairing damaged hearts.

She said her research aimed to create effective treatments for patients with injured hearts, for example, after a heart attack.

“My research involves modifying cells from the adult heart with a gene called hTERT to enhance their stem cell function,” she said.

“The research showed this modified cell repaired damaged heart muscle tissue and improved heart function after a heart attack.

“There is great potential for these therapies to become a viable treatment option to repair damaged heart muscle in the future; we are excited by the possible therapeutic application of stem cells to regenerate the human heart and we hope to progress this research to clinical trials in the next five to ten years.”

Dr Le acknowledged and thanked her supervisor Associate Professor James Chong for his contribution to her research.

Westmead Hospital’s Dr Loan Le & Dr James Chong.

“I am thankful for his support with this project and the Ralph Reader prize,” she said.

The Ralph Reader Prize is one of the most prestigious awards in cardiovascular research in Australasia.

Dr Le was co-awarded the prize with Dr Inken Marten from the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute.

The award is given to the best individual presentation by an investigator at the Cardiology Society of Australia and New Zealand’s (CSANZ) annual meeting.

The prize was awarded by a panel of judges based on the quality of research.

The meeting was attended by more than 2,000 cardiologists, technologists, researchers, trainees, surgeons, physicians, nurses and students.

Congratulations Dr Loan Le – we look forward to more great achievements from you in the future.

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