The Hunter Medical Research Institute (HMRI) has presented its annual Early-Career Research Award to Dr Andrew Bivard from the University of Newcastle.

The majority of Dr Bivard’s work is in acute ischemic stroke imaging which has focused on patient selection for reperfusion therapies. Together with industry partners, he developed an automated processing program that utilises cerebral perfusion imaging to inform treatment decision-making. Clinicians can now reliably measure the volume of the acute penumbra and infarct core.

These findings were adopted into the Phase Two clinical trial comparing ischemic stroke treatments Alteplase and Tenecteplase, which was published in the New England Journal of Medicine and since been expanded into the international TASTE trial.

With stroke also being a leading cause of disability, Dr Bivard is now coordinating the MIDAS Fatigue Trial at HMRI using the drug Modafinil to assist stroke survivors in overcoming persistent tiredness.

He is a CI on three NHMRC funded projects and received over $2.4 million in funding during his short career.

Associate Professor Coralie English also received an HMRI Project grant for her study titled BUST-Stroke … “Breaking Up Sitting Time after Stroke. A new paradigm for reducing recurrent stroke risk”.

Stroke survivors living at home spend around 75% of their waking hours sitting down, placing them at high risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Reducing this sedentary behaviour is a promising, innovative, low-cost intervention to reduce the risk of having another stroke.

Associate Professor English received funding at the HMRI Awards night to find out how long periods of sitting time affects the health of people with stroke, and whether regular activity breaks are beneficial.

The data will help in the next phases of research that will (a) determine the optimal ‘dose’ of sitting time reduction and (b) develop an intervention to enable stroke survivors to sit less each day. It will support applications for NHMRC and NHF/CVRN funding for future work.

More information about HMRI award winners can be found here.