2009 Amgen award for excellence

Research aimed at improving breathing control in patients with spinal cord injury has won Institute researcher, Dr Jane Butler, one of Australia’s most prestigious medical awards.

Dr Butler was awarded the 2009 Amgen Medical Researcher Award for excellence in medical research from the Australian Society for Medical Research (ASMR).

One of her most significant achievements has been to discover a way of allowing spinal injury patients, whose stomach muscles have been weakened or paralysed after spinal cord injury, to activate abdominal muscles and be able to cough and clear their airways, particularly when suffering pneumonia.

Dr Butler said she was delighted with the award as it recognised the contribution that her dedicated team had made to medical research in Australia.

“This award raises the profile of the type of research that NeuRA is undertaking into respiratory disorders and the value of our work through the delivery of real treatments,” Dr Butler said.

Prof Peter Schofield applauded her win and its implications for her work. “Jane’s research has investigated how the brain controls the muscles involved in breathing and has provided valuable insights into our understanding of how we control muscle use for everyday processes,” he said.

“More importantly, however, it has allowed Jane and her colleagues to pioneer a set of studies aimed at improving breathing control in patients with spinal cord injury.”

“Her work so far has demonstrated both significance and relevance as the cost burdens on our health system grows on a daily basis and the pressures increase on families to care for their loved ones,” Prof Schofield said.