Newborn brain injury prevention research earns prestigious award

Research investigating ways to prevent brain injury in newborns has earned Hudson Institute and Monash University PhD student Sharmony Kelly the Sir John Monash Medal for outstanding academic achievement in biomedical science.

PhD Student, Sharmony Kelly proudly shows off her Sir John Monash medal for outstanding academic achievement in biomedical science
Sharmony Kelly

The medal is awarded annually to a Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Science (Honours) graduate who demonstrates an excellent academic record and significant commitment to advancing the University goals of social justice, human rights and a sustainable environment.

Sharmony, who is now completing a PhD with the Perinatal Transition Research Group at Hudson Institute, received the medal for her Honours degree completed in 2019 at Monash University.

“I am so honoured to receive this award,” Sharmony said. “It feels like all the work I did in my undergraduate and Honours studies has really paid off. No one works for recognition and thanks, but it was really nice to have my work recognised.”

Sharmony’s Honours project focused on reducing inflammation-induced brain injury in late preterm newborns by administering a molecule called an IL-1 receptor antagonist.

“IL-1 is one of the most potent inflammatory cytokines in the body,” Sharmony said. “We suspected that inhibiting its actions would reduce neurological injury and improve overall quality of life.

“There is no cure or prevention for these newborns who suffer from brain injury. It’s important that we find a suitable therapy. We need to protect the brains of our youngest population.”

Sharmony’s PhD supervisor Dr Robert Galinksy said: “This is a marvellous and well-deserved achievement, we are so proud of Sharmony.”

Sharmony continues to investigate the actions of IL-1 during her PhD. Hudson Institute congratulates her on her award and wishes her the best for her future research.

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