World-renowned scientist to head new Sydney University centre tackling obesity and diabetes

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 28th February 2012

A world-renowned scientist has been appointed Academic Director of the University of Sydney’s new multidisciplinary centre specialising in obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Professor Stephen Simpson is an Australian Research Council Laureate Fellow in the School of Biological Sciences and a scientific adviser to Obesity Australia.

The news of his appointment coincides with the naming of the new centre – to be known as the Charles Perkins Centre – in recognition of a visionary and outstanding graduate of the University. Charles Perkins was a well-known Indigenous activist who was said to be the first Aboriginal activist and graduate from an Australian University.  He became departmental head in the Australian civil service and permanent secretary of the Department of Aboriginal Affairs.

University of Sydney Vice-Chancellor, Dr Michael Spence, said the new Centre would make a major contribution to health globally by researching solutions to “alarming” levels of obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease in Australia and worldwide.

Professor Stephen Simpson said the Charles Perkins Centre would innovate and challenge existing approaches to obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

He said, “We are committed to improving health outcomes not just here in Australia, but around the world.”

To support the Centre’s academic program, the University is investing AU$385 million to build a state-of-the-art research and education facility behind the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital site in Sydney. It will serve as a central research and education hub supporting the broader university network.

Professor Stephen Simpson added, “In Australia, more than 60 percent of adults and 25 percent of children are overweight or obese. By 2025, 6.9 million Australians are expected to be obese. More than 220 million people worldwide have diabetes, and diabetes-related deaths are projected to double between 2005 and 2025. There is an urgent need to act, as these alarming statistics show.”