The award is named in honour of RPH Research Foundation’s immediate past Board Chair Professor Lyn Beazley AO, in recognition of her leadership, advocacy of research and commitment to supporting the next generation of researchers.
The inaugural winner of the Professor Lyn Beazley AO Emerging Leader Award is Dr Lakshini Herat.
Dr Herat is a passionate medical researcher striving to develop effective treatments for the management of hypertension, diabetes, and its complications. Her research focuses on understanding how Sodium Glucose Co-transporter (SGLT) family members, known as “gliflozins”, protect organs such as the heart, kidneys and eyes in diabetes and hypertension.
Dr Herat’s research has revealed that “gliflozins” lower blood pressure by reducing the activity of the sympathetic nervous system and thereby protects the heart and kidneys in diabetes and hypertension, a completely new finding identifying the sympathetic nervous system as an important mediator of “gliflozins” beneficial effects. She has also discovered that these medications protect the eyes during diabetes, by lowering the harmful proteins that cause the uncontrolled growth of weak blood vessels in the retina.
Working with the Dobney Hypertension Centre as one of the RPH Research Foundation’s Career Advancement Fellows, Dr Herat has received multiple prizes and more than $530,000 in grant funding. She has been recognised for her work inspiring the next generation of researchers by encouraging young women to pursue STEM.
Dr Herat has also shared her research findings at local, national, and international conferences. She is a passionate advocate for sharing research with those living with diabetes, and the community, to empower individuals with knowledge, promote proactive healthcare behaviours, and contribute to better diabetes management and eye health outcomes within our community.