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The Lions Medical Research Foundation has a long and successful history.  It began as an idea put forward at a Lions Convention in 1963. A Lions member, Mr Arthur Midsen, who at the time was a member of the Board of the Princess Alexandra Hospital, successfully moved a motion at the convention that “Lions resolve to establish a laboratory at the Princess Alexandra Hospital, Brisbane, Australia, in which to conduct research into kidney disease”. Forty Lions clubs supported the project with yearly contributions over a minimum of three years to provide the necessary funding.


1963 – A group of Lions Members, Mr John Henley, Mr Rae Strain, Mr Robert Allen and Mr Ray Phippard, discussed at a Lions Convention the need to fund research into kidney disease. Lions Club members embraced this idea and later expanded this funding into other medical areas.

First Researcher_0


1966Dr John Healy was the Foundation’s first recipient of funding for research. Dr Healy was working at Georgetown University Hospital in Washington DC, USA, but returned to Australia to become the first Lion’s Research Fellow at the Princess Alexandra Hospital, Brisbane. By 1978, Dr Healy had won world acclaim by publishing nineteen articles and developing the kidney function test which became widely accepted.

1975 – A decision was made to name the Foundation the “Lions Kidney and Medical Research Foundation”.

1975 – Memorandum of Association and Articles of Association approved by Lions Clubs International and the Queensland State Government.

1977 – The Foundation established a research centre at the Princess Alexandra Hospital.

1978Dr Michael Robinson, Immunology research

1978Dr D Cameron, Endocrinology

1978Dr ArmstrongDr Mitchell, Asthma research

1978Dr Ravenscroft & Dr Prichard, research into heart attack treatments

1978Dr Harris, Gastroenterology research

1978Dr R Cartmill, Urodynamics

1978Prof. A Whittaker, King Brown snake anti-coagulant research

1978 – The Lions Medical Research Foundation provided $1.2 million towards building and outfitting the Research Centre at the Princess Alexandra Hospital, Brisbane Queensland.

1980Dr M. Robinson, Tissue matching research

1984Prof. Susan Pond, Pharmacology (Paraquat poisoning

1985 – A bright new molecular biologist, Dr Ian Frazer, was funded by the Foundation to research 4h drugs used in the treatment of AIDS. Dr Frazer was about to return to Scotland, but with this funding was able to move from Melbourne to Brisbane to continue his research. Dr Frazer also had ideas on how immunology might provide a vaccine to prevent cervical cancer. The now Professor Ian Frazer went on to a world first in the invention of the Cervical Cancer vaccine Gardasil and became the CEO of the Translational Research Institute which opened in 2013.

1986 – The completion and opening of the Lions Kidney & Medical Research Building at the Princess Alexandra Hospital.

1986 – Lions Professor of Ophthalmology, Prof. Lawrie Hirst received $250,000 to outfit his area of research which led to the Queensland Eye Bank storing corneas prior to transplantation.

1986Dr Don Cameron, Diabetes research

1989 – Prof Michael Roberts – appointed Lions Professorial Research Fellow in Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology

1989Dr Harvey Whiteford, Biological Psychiatry; the funding led Dr. Whiteford to establishing the Queensland Centre for Mental Health Research. Professor Whiteford has an international reputation in mental health policy and held the first mental health position with the World Bank. Prof. Whiteford is now the Kratzmann Prof. of Psychiatry & Population Health at The University of Queensland and Director of Policy & Evaluation at the Queensland Centre for Mental Health Research of which he was instrumental in forming.

1991 – Dr George Mellick, trained in chemistry and biochemistry, was awarded a Lions Postgraduate Scholarship towards the completion of his PhD in medicine. Dr Mellick worked in the Centre for Genomics & Bioinformatics in Sweden, returned to Australia lecturing in School of Medicine UQ. He researches neuro-degenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s Disease within Griffith University.

1991Dr Robert Tindle began a five year Lions Fellowship. Dr Tindle worked with Prof. Ian Frazer on the immunology of human papillomavirus infection. Dr Tindle now has an international reputation in the field of HPV.

1992Prof. Paul Colditz was appointed Lions Research Fellow at the Perinatal Research Centre at the Royal Brisbane & Women’s Hospital. Prof. Colditz is now the Director of the Perinatal Research Centre.

1992Dr John Ambler, Ophthalmology

1993 – Dr Ross Gordon, Pharmacology and Toxicology

1993 – Dr Frank Gardner

1994Dr John McGrath, research into schizophrenia, genetic and non-genetic causes. He is Queensland’s Centre for Medical Health Research Director, Developmental Neurobiology and Epidemiology. Dr McGrath won the Premier’s Award for Medical Research in 2002 and in 2003 was awarded a Queensland Smithsonian Fellowship.

1997 – In order to incorporate the research being undertaken by the LMR, the name “Lions Kidney & Medical Research Foundation to “The Queensland & Northern New South Wales Lions Medical Research Foundation”.

1998Dr Paul Lovelock, a molecular biologist researching better treatments for Diabetes.

1998 Dr Carol Brown, research into perinatal care.

1999 Dr Nick Saunders, Studies into the development of Novel Skin Cancer Therapies

2001Dr Glen Ulett, Melioidosis research

2001Dr Robyn Rodwell, Molecular genetic screening

2002 – The commissioning of the second floor of the new research building after the demolition of the Lions Building within the Princess Alexandra Hospital. Plus a Memo of Understanding between the Diamantina Institute for Cancer, Immunology and Metabolic Medicine and the Foundation was signed.

2002 Dr Jon Whitehead, Research into insulin resistance in Type 2 Diabetes – links with obesity.

2003Dr Jonathan Golledge, James Cook University. Role of diabetes mellitus in artery complications. Work is targeted at development of a medical treatment for aortic aneurysm. Improve understanding of factors involved in the weakening and abnormal dilation of the main abdominal artery.

2003Dr Julie Jonsson, research to find out how fatty liver increases fibrosis. Dr Jonsson hoped by defining the mechanisms responsible, she could identify possible therapeutic targets for drug development to treat chronic liver disease.

2004Dr Corey Moran, James Cook University. Research into the dangers of arteries rupturing in men over 60 years.

2004Dr Peter Madden, Initial examination of Australian made media to allow organ culture of corneas and thereby extend storage from the current 7 days to 30 days.

2004Dr G. Leggatt, Understanding killer T cells biology so that improvements can be made in the next generation of vaccines targeting tumours and viral infections such as HIV.

2005Dr Heather Beamish, Improving treatments involving the identification of mutations in cancer cells and specifically targeting those mutations.

2005Prof. Paul Colditz, Research into brain development, hypoxic damage in brains and kidney, ensuring that mothers and babies receive the optimal evidence based investigations and treatments.

2005Dr Heather Beamish, Cell cycle re. cancer research

2007Dr Kathryn Buller, determining mechanisms contributing to brain injury in premature neonates.

2008Dr Gethin Thomas, Identification and characterisation of novel genes involved in bone and joint disease, specifically a form of arthritis affecting the spine called ankylosing spondylitis and osteoporosis. This increased knowledge of the disease processes can then give rise to new drugs and treatments.

2008Dr Christine Staatz, Tailoring doses of the newer immunosuppresant drugs to improve outcomes after transplants.

2008Dr Ingrid Hickman, Obesity related inflammation and insulin resistance in chronic Liver disease. Exercise and diet as treatment options.

2010Dr Katrina Campbell, Nutrition-related mediators of cardiovascular  disease progression in chronic kidney disease (CKD).  Many risk factors for both  cardiovascular disease and kidney disease progression, including high blood  pressure, vascular stiffness, fluid overload, urinary protein and inflammation are  linked to dietary intake. This research aims to identify the relationship between diet and heart health in patients with kidney disease. In addition, this research aims to test the effect of a low salt diet, and other dietary interventions on kidney and heart health.

2011 – 2018 – Dr Tracey Bjorkman, researching hypoxic injury in newborns; seizures and  brain injuries, neuroprotective therapies, Perinatal GABA receptive development.

Current Researchers:

2012 – Dr Nadeeka Dissanayaka, researching anxiety and depression in Parkinson’s  disease sufferers.

2016 – Dr Carlos Salomon, research to better understand the origins and causes of Ovarian Cancer, and screening and prevention by altering the profiles of exosomes. There are 225,000 reported new cases of Ovarian Cancer each year.

2019 – Dr Olivia Holland is the 2019 recipient of the Queensland and Northern New South Wales Lions Medical Research Foundation Fellowship. Dr Holland has a particular interest in diabetes during pregnancy, and in the underlying mechanisms that link placental dysfunction to pregnancy complications and the later development of conditions such as obesity and type 2 diabetes in adulthood.

There are many successful medical researchers who have received funding through the Foundation. Today, the Foundation supports medical research at the University of Queensland Centre for Clinical Research, the Princess Alexandra Hospital, Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, Queensland University of Technology, and the School of Medical Science, Griffith University.

Other notable recipients are Professor Ian Frazer who received early funding for his world famous research into cervical cancer and the development of Gardasil, Professor Lawrie Hirst’s groundbreaking Optical research, Professor Paul Colditz’ Perinatal research into preterm babies and Dr Kathryn Buller’s research which examined brain injury in neonates plus many other worthy researchers.

The Queensland and Northern New South Wales Lions Medical Research Foundation is committed to start-up funding for world class medical research. 
Patron: His Excellency The Honourable Paul de Jersey AC, Governor of Queensland

The QLD & Northern NSW Lions Medical Research Foundation is a Deductible Gift Recipient so your donation will be tax deductible.

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