The Herston Imaging Research Facility (HIRF) is an alliance between four of Queensland’s most influential research and clinical institutions: The University of Queensland (UQ), the QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute (QIMR); Queensland University of Technology (QUT); and the Metro North Hospital and Health Service (MNHHS) through the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital (RBWH). The leading healthcare company, Siemens Australia is the facility’s industry partner.
HIRF creates collaborative opportunities for all institutions using the latest imaging technologies to further research and improve patient outcomes.
The University of Queensland (UQ) is a key partner in HIRF through the Faculties of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, and Health and Behavioural Sciences. UQ is Queensland’s largest and oldest university and one of Australia’s most successful, ranking within the 100 top universities worldwide. This success has been measured through several major independent university rankings: the Academic Ranking of World Universities, Times Higher Education World University Rankings, QS World University Rankings, and Performance Ranking of Scientific Papers for World Universities. UQ is one of only three Australian members of the global Universitas 21, a founding member of the Group of Eight (Go8) universities, and a member of Universities Australia.
Evidence indicates that the University’s research excels in both quality and impact. According to the 2012 Excellence in Innovation for Australia trial, many research projects at UQ have delivered outstanding economic, social and environmental benefits. The projects assessed include the Cervical cancer vaccine Gardasil®, which was co-invented by TRI’s Chief Executive Officer and Director of Research, Professor Ian Frazer .
UQ also has more specialised fields of research “well above world standard” than any other Australian university, according to the 2012 Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) assessment. In 2013, UQ received more research income than any other Australian university, and is currently number one university in Australia in the Nature Publishing Index.
UQ attracts more than $80m in research funding from industry and ranks first among Australian universities for license income, value of equity holdings and invention disclosures, new Australian patents and active start-up companies.
The QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute is a world-leading translational research institute focused on cancer, infectious diseases, mental health and a range of complex disorders. The Institute’s aim is to improve health by developing new diagnostics, better treatments and prevention strategies. More than 500 scientists and 140 students work in 50 laboratories at QIMR Berghofer, on the RBWH Herston campus.
QIMR Berghofer is one of Australia’s few fully integrated biomedical research, development and clinical trial centres. The Institute has the capacity to translate basic research from the discovery phase, through to product development at Q-Gen and early phase clinical trials at Q-Pharm, both owned and housed within the Institute. QIMR Berghofer has strategic alliances with hospitals, universities, not-for-profits and commercial partners, including biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies.
The Institute’s internationally-recognised expertise ranges from cell therapy and bio-informatics through to immunotherapy, molecular biomarker discovery and vaccine development. Scientists are also undertaking large-scale research into the causes of a broad range of serious mental health and neurological diseases and cancers.
QIMR Berghofer’s mental health researchers are using genetics, imaging, clinical research and epidemiology to improve understanding, diagnosis and treatment of a range of serious psychiatric and neurological disorders. This includes patient-based research into major depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, dementia, Parkinson’s disease, migraine and cerebral palsy. The Institute was a founding partner in the Queensland Mental Health Research Alliance and is working towards the first diagnostic test for depression.
Half of QIMR Berghofer’s laboratories are dedicated to improving outcomes for cancer patients. Discoveries are being tested in patients and pre-clinical models for many forms of the disease, including glioblastoma. The Institute’s scientists are also making a major contribution to the understanding of the genetics which drive cancers with a view to discovering new targets for treatment or prevention.
QUT-IHBI has proven expertise in wound healing, medical and radiation physics, and molecular imaging.
The institute also incorporates the Australian Prostate Cancer Research Centre with its strong focus on the development of therapies and bio-markers for the genetic predisposition, detection and
treatment of prostate cancer. This focus and expertise aligns closely with the research objectives of the HIRF.
The QUT-IHBI and HIRF collaboration will provide opportunities for the development and evaluation of novel bio-markers for the diagnosis and treatment of cancer and other metabolic conditions.
It will also enable patient profiling and individualised treatment.
The RBWH is Australia’s largest teaching and research-based hospital with extensive expertise in patient care, clinical trials, care pathways and advanced radiation therapy.
The hospital is part of the MNHHS which has provided land to construct the HIRF imaging annexe and funding for the acquisition of the PET/CT scanner.
THE RBWH is co-located at Herston with the UQ School of Medicine, QIMR and the UQ Centre for Clinical Research.
This location provides unique opportunities to transfer HIRF diagnostic imaging and research breakthroughs to patients in a tertiary healthcare environment.
The HIRF partnership also increases clinical capacity by offering collaborative research opportunities for clinicians and scientists.
Siemans Australia have supplied the cutting-edge imaging equipment for the HIRF including the world’s first fully integrated, whole-body MRI scanner, the PET/MRI.
The company has contributed superior engineering applications and technical expertise to ensure high-quality scanner performance and strong clinical outcomes for patients.
Siemans Australia shares the HIRF vision of a world-class imaging facility and has also provided training for the production of imaging biomarkers and funded a medical fellow.
Siemans Australia scanners will play a vital role in assisting the HIRF to identify and develop new diagnosis and treatment pathways.
HIRF’s establishment was funded by the contributions from the HIRF partners and the from the Queensland Government, Commonwealth Government, Australian Cancer Research Foundation and the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital Private Practice Trust Fund.
HIRF would like to take this opportunity to highlight the importance of those who have contributed to the facility and would also like to express a great appreciation for their generosity and continued support.