World-leading Australian heads Oxford’s The George Institute

Preeminent global medical researcher Terry Dwyer revolutionised the world’s approach to SIDS. Now, he is bringing the world’s largest childhood cancer research project to an Australian-based medical research institute in Britain.

One of Australia’s best-known research leaders, Professor Dwyer will head The George Institute for Global Health, United Kingdom, where he will expand The George’s research with a new medical research effort centred on a childhood cancer study involving one million mothers and babies.

The George Institute for Global Health, United Kingdom, is affiliated with The University of Oxford.

Professor Dwyer said: “This really is a first for The George and Oxford University – while both have driven critically important medical research across the globe, starting today, we will expand that global research to children’s cancer.

“By pooling data on one million mothers and babies, we hope to be able to see connections that have not been evident before and find a way to prevent cancer in children – something that has not been possible to this point.”

“I’m very excited to join The George and the larger Oxford community. The opportunity to draw upon top notch UK researchers as well as the work of colleagues in Australia, India and China and at Oxford means we can really advance solutions to key health dilemmas like childhood cancer,” said Dwyer.

Dwyer noted that research into globally significant diseases like high blood pressure and cholesterol was bolstered by The George’s approach - moving away from the usual, traditional nationally-based research pools in favour of broader international studies whose broader reach drove clearer insights.

Another major study Dwyer is bringing to The George involves pooling data on 40,000 individuals, from whom measurements were taken as children, and who have now been followed for up to 40 years. This research focuses on providing evidence on how childhood exposures might independently affect risk of Cardiovascular disease and cancer in adulthood.

Dwyer joins The George from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) - a WHO division  - in France, where he has been based for the past two years. He was previously Director of the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne – one of the largest medical research institutes in Australia.

Earlier in his career, Dwyer lead ground breaking research into Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) supported by the NHMRC (Australia) and the National Institutes of Health (US). Dwyer and his team contributed important evidence confirming that sleeping position was a major cause of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), which led to a vast reduction in SIDS deaths in Australia and around the world. This work was conducted from the Menzies Institute in Hobart, which he founded and led for 17 years.

In addition to his role as Executive Director, Dwyer will have a professorial appointment with the Nuffield Department of Population Health and the Oxford Martin School and will be working to enhance the relationships between The George and these partners.