Message from the Director

Westmead Precinct 2

Welcome everyone to our autumn newsletter and the end of Australian Eastern Daylight Time.  I trust you have enjoyed and made the most of a relaxing Easter long weekend. I’m sure we were designed for more of these!

This year will see a major milestone in NICM’s history as we commence our relocation to upgraded premises at Westmead Medical Precinct in June.  The first stage of the multimillion dollar renovations of our substantive and historic heritage building will be complete by mid-May.  This includes a beautiful auditorium, ample meeting rooms, all our staff offices and our Western Sydney Integrative Health Centre; where we will be undertaking our clinical trials, providing clinical services as part of our research translation initiatives, developing clinical guidelines in integrative health and closely monitoring our patient reported outcomes.  Stage 2 renovations will also commence shortly.  This comprises all our scientific laboratories, including analytical chemistry, stability testing facilities, pharmacology laboratories, cardiovascular and brain health laboratories, and other research and development capabilities.  We anticipate Stage 2 will be finished by early 2019 and until then we will continue to deliver our laboratory services and research from our Campbelltown facilities.  For those who wish to visit our heritage building and renovated facilities please feel free to contact us on 02 4620 3284. We will have an official opening of our new premises toward the end of 2018.

It is with great pleasure that I am also able to report that NICM has been recently approved by our University Board of Trustees as an official University Research Institute.  This is a significant milestone in that University Research Institutes, of which there are only a few, are deeply embedded in the University structure and funding.  This reaffirms our position in the University for many years to come.  Furthermore, I am delighted to advise of Professor Barney Glover’s reappointment as the University’s Vice-Chancellor and President until 31 December 2023. The University’s rising international rankings and growing national and international reputation can be attributed to the Professor Glover’s drive, energy and passion. The Vice-Chancellor’s leadership has placed Western Sydney University in a very strong position to respond to the future challenges and the opportunities presented by a rapidly changing sector, economy and a global context.

In further news of congratulations, we commend the well-deserved induction of Marcus Blackmore AM into the US Natural Products Hall of Legends for his lifetime contribution to complementary medicine. Renowned for his commitment to natural health, his generosity, his entrepreneurial spirit and, above all, his passion, we thank and congratulate Marcus. His generosity is demonstrated through the work of his philanthropic foundation that he runs with his wife, Caroline, which last year gifted $5 million to NICM, matched by the company Blackmores’ gift, seeing $10 million contributed to the development of scientific research and support the next generation of world-class researchers in our field.

Last week, the Blackmore Foundation, along with BioCeuticals and the Jacka Foundation contributed a combined $1.5 million to a scientific research program at the University of Technology Sydney’s ARCCIM. Marcus Blackmore has also fought hard for the appropriate regulation of complementary medicine and established strong political networks in Australia to protect freedom of choice in healthcare. The Therapeutic Goods Amendment Bill passed in February is reflective of this and the growing demand for complementary medicine and an innovative industry, backed by research and evidence-based use in an integrative healthcare approach.

Thank you to our recent international visitors, including our first Blackmores Institute Visiting Fellow, Professor David Mischoulon, a psychiatrist from Harvard Medical School who specialises in nutraceuticals for the treatment of depression, and to Visiting Fellow Michael Smith who brings a wealth of international regulatory experience.

From NICM Health Research Institute we hope you had a restful, safe Easter break.  Enjoy the autumn edition of our newsletter and the achievements of our researchers working collaboratively nationally and internationally.

With best wishes
Professor Alan Bensoussan

3 April 2018