Collaboration driving research impact

The strength of interdisciplinary research across the Northern Sydney (Arabanoo) Precinct was highlighted during a dynamic showcase at the Kolling Institute.

The annual event, which has been steadily lifting its profile, featured the latest research progress across allied health, nursing, medicine, as well as pharmacy, dentistry and public health.

More than a hundred people attended this year’s event hosted by the Precinct academic directors Professors Jim Elliott and Robyn Gallagher, and Associate Professor Margaret Schnitzler.

The showcase provided an insight into the successful collaborations between the University of Sydney and the Northern Sydney Local Health District, and their impact on the delivery of care.

Associate Professor Elizabeth Clarke detailed her interdisciplinary research investigating the use of kangaroo tendons for human ACL reconstructions. This project involved engineers and medical scientists from the Kolling, along with orthopaedic surgeons and an Australian industry partner.

A/Prof Clarke also discussed the Kolling Orthopaedic Biomechanics Robotic Arm, an exciting collaboration between engineers from the University of Sydney, orthopaedic surgeons from the NSLHD and global industry partners.

Elizabeth said these two examples highlight how interdisciplinary collaboration can achieve outcomes far greater than the sum of the parts.

“We would not have achieved the research and innovation goals without any one of the partners and team members on these projects,” she said.

Exercise physiologist Rosanna Tran delivered her presentation on the FORTRESS trial, which is assessing a frailty intervention in hospitals. Funded by the NHMRC, the trial is using a validated screening tool and an evidence-based intervention.

Rosanna, who is based at Hornsby Hospital, said the collaborative research will help establish a cost-effective model of care to help manage frailty and its adverse impacts.

Professor Mark Molloy from the University of Sydney discussed his collaboration with Royal North Shore Hospital colorectal surgeon Professor Alexander Engel to identify molecular markers of disease risk for bowel cancer.

“This project demonstrates how clinical services can be an important contributor to interdisciplinary research through linking our own strengths,” he said

“Collaborating with clinicians helps to make my research more impactful by bringing a patient-centric perspective.”

It’s anticipated there’ll be further interdisciplinary collaboration following the showcase event.