Western Sydney Local Health District experts take centre stage at the Westmead Research and Innovation Conference

Associate Professor Verity Ahern (top left), Professor Clara Show (top right), Professor Dominic Dwyer (bottom left), Associate Professor Narinder Singh (bottom right)

On Thursday 18 and Friday 19 August the 2022 Westmead Research and Innovation Conference in Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) brought together research, industry and health care delivery to connect, learn and be inspired. 

The theme this year was intersection of research and industry. 

Westmead Hospital cardiologist, academic director for Westmead Applied Research Centre and Professor of Medicine at the University of Sydney, Professor Clara Chow, spoke on frugal digital health innovation.

Clara stressed the importance of the conference saying, “Research and innovation is incredibly important to what we do to improve patient outcomes and experiences tomake our health system run more efficiently.

“This needs to be talked about at every level of the hospital.

Westmead is important because of its people and that is not only the patients and population but the amazing breadth of knowledge here amongst our clinicians, researchers, scientists and health system providers.  I’m constantly bouncing ideas off other people and I’m lucky I live in the eco-system.”

Professor Clara Chow

Other speakers from WSLHD included Associate Professor Verity Ahern, who is WSLHD’s Radiation Oncology Director who was pivotal in the establishment of the Radiation Oncology Network Translation Radiation Biology Laboratory.

Her focus is to help realise the clinical and commercial potential of radiation biology.

Every cancer patient and every cancer respond differently to radiation therapy that is used in the treatment of nearly 50% of cancer patients.

Understanding why some tumours are resistant to radiation and how radiation resistance may be overcome, are focus areas for the Westmead Translation Radiation Biology Group which leads this research field nationally.

Verity presented the work of this group and other international researchers in radiation biology to show the diversity of the field.

Associate Professor Narinder Singh, Westmead Hospital’s Head of Department, Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, ENT specialist surgeon and clinical associate professor of surgery at The University of Sydney also spoke at the conference. He works in rhinology, specialising exclusively in disorders of the nose and sinuses, including nasal obstruction, surgery for snoring/OSA, complex and extended endoscopic sinus procedures, anterior skull base surgery and rhinoplasty (functional and aesthetic).

Professor Dominic Dwyer, medical virologist and infectious diseases physician at NSW Health Pathology’s Institute of Clinical Pathology and Medical Research (ICPMR) at Westmead Hospital, presented the final session on day two.

The special session ‘Wuhan to Westmead: the origins of SARS-CoV-2’ was delivered by Professor Dywer virtually from France and told the story of his historic trip to Wuhan whereby he was selected by the World Health Organization to be part of an international team of 10 who worked with local health officials in Wuhan to explore the origins of COVID-19.

As well as exciting keynote speakers, the talk session themes included “Industries of Tomorrow”, “Digital Health”, “Clinical Innovation” and “The Entrepreneurs Journey”.

The conference displayed the world-class research undertaken at Westmead Hospital in WSLHD as well as nationally and internationally from a scientific, industry and government perspective and was well attended.