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Cardiologist receives top honours

Dr Sonali Gnanenthiran first cardiologist to receive THANZ Medal.

Woman in a lab with surgical mask on using science equipment
SydneyConnect Image: Dr Sonali Gnanenthiran

A cardiologist who works at Sydney Local Health District has become the first in her field to win a prestigious research medal awarded by the Thrombosis and Haemostasis Society of Australia and New Zealand.

Dr Sonali Gnanenthiran, who works at Concord and Canterbury hospitals, was awarded the THANZ Medal, the Society's highest honour, for her PhD research conducted at the vascular biology laboratory at the ANZAC Research Institute.

"It's a great honour to receive the THANZ Medal, especially as the first cardiologist to win the award," Dr Gnanenthiran said.

Her research, which was supported by the National Health and Medical Research Council, Heart Foundation and the District's Clinician Researcher Scholarship, focused on blood clotting and cardiovascular risks in older people.

Her findings could pave the way for age-specific treatments, with older people at greatest risk of heart attack and stroke.

"As a clinician, this has been the most challenging research project I've ever undertaken. Receiving recognition for my laboratory research is a highlight of my career," she said.

Her paper, "Identification of a distinct platelet phenotype in the elderly: ADP hypersensitivity co-exists with platelet protease-activated-receptor (PAR)-1 and PAR-4 mediated thrombin resistance", was presented at the Society's annual scientific meeting.

Dr Gnanenthiran said the team at the ANZAC Research Institute was integral to her success.

"My PhD supervisors Professor Len Kritharides and Associate Professor Vivien Chen and all of the scientists at the vascular biology laboratory supported me and my growth as a researcher throughout the project."

Professor Kritharides said Dr Gnanenthiran's win was well-deserved.

"It's a singular honour for Sonali to have been awarded the Medal for her research. It's also a testament to the excellent collaboration between the Haematology and Cardiology departments under the auspices of the ANZAC Research Institute at Concord Hospital," he said.

Dr Gnanenthiran received the THANZ Medal, a solid silver medallion, and a prize of $2,000 last month. The runners up were Jiayin Tian from Murdoch University and Silvia Zheng from the University of NSW.

Dr Gnanenthiran has received a $15,000 AHRA Women's Health Research and Translation Network Early and Mid‐Career Researcher award to further her work.

She has also been awarded a Heart Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship which begins in 2022 and is continuing her postdoctoral research at The George Institute for Global Health.