Menzies exists to perform internationally significant medical research leading to healthier, longer and better lives for Tasmanians.
Menzies has made significant research breakthroughs since it was established in 1988. Among our discoveries:
- Key evidence on the link between babies' sleeping position and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
- Genetic markers are linked to men's risk of developing prostate cancer.
- Children who are exposed to their parents' cigarette smoke may suffer an irreversible impact to their cardiovascular health later in life.
- Higher vitamin D levels are associated with a lower relapse risk in multiple sclerosis.
- Childhood obesity does not permanently increase cardiovascular risk if obesity in adulthood is avoided.
- Nerve cells in undamaged parts of the brain can remodel themselves in response to acquired brain injury.
- Platelets found in the blood kill the malaria parasite during the early stages of a malarial infection.
- Development of risk algorithms for prediction of heart failure in persons at risk of heart failure, and risk assessment for hospital re-admission in patients with heart failure.
Today and Tomorrow
We aim to advance human health and wellbeing by contributing significantly to knowledge on prevention and treatment of diseases including arthritis, cancer, multiple sclerosis, cardiovascular disease, diabetes type-2, osteoporosis, mental health, obesity and dementia.
Menzies conducts research that relies on the unique, stable base that characterises Tasmania's population. We also undertake nationwide studies and collaborate with interstate and international researchers. Our context is an island community that has limited funding for health care and specific challenges relating to disadvantage.
Our researchers take a 'bench-to-bedside' approach, which means we translate the knowledge we gain into health policies, training and recommendations for treatment. We also work with commercial partners to develop and apply our discoveries. Finally, we educate and train future research scientists, clinicians and health professionals.
The Menzies Institute of Medical Research had its origins in a Menzies Foundation workshop entitled ‘Towards a Centre for Population Health Research', held in Hobart in 1987. Less than a year later the new centre was opened at the University of Tasmania on January 14, with a range of work extending from aetiological research to population-based intervention studies, and a strong focus on Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) in its early research program. The Founding Director was Professor Terry Dwyer.
The University of Tasmania established Menzies in 1988 with support from the Menzies Foundation and the Tasmanian Government. Its primary purpose was to address the health issues facing the Tasmanian community. It was initially known as the Menzies Centre for Population Health Research, then the Menzies Research Institute Tasmania, before becoming the Menzies Institute for Medical Research in November 2014.
From modest beginnings, Menzies quickly gained an international reputation for its innovative work into the link between babies' sleeping position and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). From this our research expanded, and population health and epidemiological research programs were developed. In 2006, we expanded our focus to include both clinical and basic science, to strengthen the quality of our research.
To support this growth, in 2010 and 2013 Menzies opened two state-of-the-art buildings, Medical Science 1 and 2 (MS1 and MS2). Together these form the University of Tasmania Medical Science Precinct, a facility that will help Tasmania to remain at the forefront of medical research, clinical translation and education well into the future.
The University of Tasmania established the Menzies Centre for Population Health Research. It received support from the Menzies Foundation and the Tasmanian Government. Menzies' primary purpose was to address the health issues facing the Tasmanian community.
The Tasmanian Government named Menzies a 'Tasmanian Icon' in recognition of its scientific achievements and place in the community. Icon status brought prestige and infrastructure funding that allowed Menzies to continue to expand its research programs.
Menzies changed its name to Menzies Research Institute Tasmania, and made significant governance and structural changes including the appointment of an independent board.
Professor Simon Foote became Director of Menzies. He implemented a significant growth strategy that transformed Menzies into Tasmania's premier medical research facility. We expanded our research programs to focus on clinical and basic science. High-quality researchers have been attracted to Tasmania, and we have forged research links nationally and internationally.
Medical Science 1 (MS1) was opened - a $58 million new premises, with state of the art laboratories and research equipment not previously seen in Tasmania. It was funded by the Australian Government, Tasmanian Government, University of Tasmania and Atlantic Philanthropies, an American philanthropic foundation. MS1 is located on the former Menzies site, at the corner of Liverpool and Campbell Streets, diagonally opposite the Royal Hobart Hospital. Detailed planning went into the technological and construction process, as the building houses a variety of complex medical equipment. The building enabled Menzies, the School of Medicine and the Executive of the Faculty of Health to be co-housed. One of the University's goals was for research staff across all research areas to work collaboratively, and MS1 facilitated that interaction.
Professor Tom Marwick became Director of Menzies.
We celebrated our 25th anniversary.
We aligned our research structure to address the burden of disease in Tasmania. Our priorities are now reflected by five research themes.
Medical Science 2 (MS2) was opened - a $90 million new premises that integrates with MS1 and holds a Green Building Council of Australia five star Green Star rating. All funding bodies associated with MS1 contributed to MS2. The project has transformed the site into a comprehensive medical research precinct with a superb biomedical and clinical research facility. Additional teaching and student amenities have also enabled the School of Medicine to expand their 'case-based' learning model and curriculum.
The façade is like a concrete lattice, which creates passive solar shading for the building. The lattice is in modules that can be arranged and orientated to suit the uses of different sections of the building. Additional shade is provided by 'contouring' formed from metal blades, and based on the idea of Hobart's topography.
We became the Menzies Institute for Medical Research in November 2014.
Professor Alison Venn became Director of Menzies.
Menzies is dedicated to continuing to improve health outcomes for all Tasmanians.