Category Archives: General

Remembering Prisoners of War 2023

A service to Remember Prisoners of War was held at the Shrine of Remembrance in 2023 was a very meaningful event for those who were in attendance.

The Service was held indoors in the Sanctuary at the Shrine of Remembrance. It was a lovely setting and we are grateful and appreciative of the support of Kristen Fletcher and Dean Lee. Wreaths were transported to and laid on Weary’s Statue in St Kilda.



2023 Dunlop Grant Winners Announced

On 23 May 2023, the Foundation Board was pleased to present this year’s Weary Dunlop grants in what was a very competitive field of applications. The 2023 grant recipients are:

Dr Laura Vella, Research Fellow, Florey Department of Neuroscience and Mental Health, The University of Melbourne – Grant Application: Identifying and targeting drivers of exosome mediated spread of glioblastoma

Glioblastoma is an aggressive brain cancer that can be related to relevant service by veterans. No significant treatment advances have been made in the last 25 years, and prognosis remains very poor (median survival of less than 15 months). This project aims to improve prognosis with a personalized therapeutic approach.

Dr Jarmon Lees, Senior Research Officer (Postdoc), O’Brien Institute Department, St Vincent’s Institute of Medical Research – Grant Application: Testing new treatments for heart attack using human cardiac organoids

Ischemic heart disease, or a heart attack, is the leading cause of death worldwide, for veterans, their families, the military, and the general population. This project will identify new treatments for ischemic heart disease using a sophisticated model of human heart tissue in a dish.

Dr Varun Venkatesh, Research Fellow, Department of Medicine, University of Melbourne, Austin Health – Grant Application: Determining the importance of aromatase activity in bone: a new potential target for osteoporosis therapy.

1-in-3 women and 1-in-5 men aged >50 will suffer a fracture due to osteoporosis and this risk is higher in female veterans compared to non-veterans. We will determine the effects of sex hormones in controlling bone strength at the microscopic level to help develop new treatments to prevent fractures and improve quality of life.

Dr Katrina Binger, Senior Lecturer / Lab Head (Teaching & Research), Department of Biochemistry and Chemistry, La Trobe Institute for Molecular Science (LIMS) – Grant Application: Targeting the vitronectin-CD38 axis to treat high blood pressure.

“Macrophages” are the key immune cell that causes blood vessels to stiffen and increase blood pressure, leading to cardiovascular disease. In this research proposal we will test if drugs that block the activity of a newly identified protein (CD38) are effective at reducing macrophage dysfunction and blood pressure.

Dr Monica Langiu, Research Fellow, Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Science, Monash University (MENTAL HEALTH GRANT) – Grant Application: Investigation of sex-dependent signaling of novel cognition-enhancers

Memory and cognitive impairments heavily affect veterans. New drugs are needed to treat cognitive deficits. This project aims to understand the sex-specific molecular properties of different cognition-enhancers modulating glutamate receptor. This project is the first step to a better understanding of how best to target glutamate receptors for therapeutic effect.


Dr Barbara Fam White, Senior Research Fellow, Department of Medicine, University of Melbourne, Austin Health (DIABETES GRANT) – Grant Application: The adaptive immune system and diabetic kidney disease – what role does it play?

Diabetes and its complications (DKD) do not discriminate and affects everyone from the general-public to our veteran communities and their families. Inflammation plays a significant role in the development of DKD. We propose that the adaptive immune system is a key driver and using pre-clinical mouse models, we will identify the specific cell types involved and the sequence of when these changes occur. These findings will provide information on potential druggable targets has the potential to reverse or stem DKD development.

Jeffrey D. Zajac

Chairman, Medical & Scientific Research Committee

“Weary” Dunlop Medical Research Foundation

Back (L-R) Prof. Jeffrey Zajac, Dr Varun Venkatesh, Dr Laura Vella, Dr Jarmon Lees, Prof Elif Ekinci, Robert Winther
Front (L-R) Dr Monica Langiu, Dr Katrina Binger, Dr Barbara Fam White


A Changing of the Guard at the Foundation

At the Foundation’s AGM in November, members welcomed the appointment of a new Chair and Deputy Chair.

dunlop_26Incoming Chair is Robert Winther OAM. Robert is Veteran Liaison Officer at Austin Health and is very well known for his work with the ex-service community over some 55 years. He expressed his enthusiasm at the appointment and is looking forward to working with the Board for a cause that deeply interests him.

Robert being welcomed by Mike O’MearaLAUREEN GRIMES#1

Joining Robert at the helm will be Laureen Grimes. Laureen has been a Dunlop director for two  years. She is past Chair of the Victorian Veterans Council and in 2020 was inducted into the Victorian Honour Roll of Women.

Board-Member-Michael-FidlerThe new appointments follow the retirement from the Board of two long-serving directors, Chair Mike O’Meara OAM and Deputy Chair Michael Fidler, who together have logged some 30 years of service as Dunlop directors. They cited their reason for stepping down as providing an opportunity for renewal to carry the Foundation forward. Both affirmed their ongoing support for medical research that benefits those who have served, and their commitment to the legacy of Sir Edward Dunlop.

Another Accolade for Dunlop Director

The Foundation is pleased to add our congratulations to Associate Professor Elif Ekinci, Board Member and Dunlop Principal Research Fellow in Metabolic Medicine at The University of Melbourne, Department of Medicine, Austin Health

Elif has been awarded the 2021 Ranji and Amara Wikramanayake Clinical Diabetes Award, recognising her work to translate research into improved outcomes for people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes.                                                                                                    ELIF EKINCI        Congratulations Elif!


The Weary Dunlop Commemorative Service will be held at The Shrine of Remembrance on Wednesday 12th July 2023 at 2pm.

Incorporated in the service will be the launch of the 2023 Dunlop Appeal, and presentation of Swinburne University’s Weary Dunlop Scholarship.


Governor-General’s Medallion Awarded

At the end of last year, the Foundation received the following message from the office of our Patron-in-Chief, His Excellency General the Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (Retd), Governor-General of Australia:

“This year has been unique and brought many challenges. Importantly though, for organisations like yours that do so much in our community, while the how may have changed, the ‘why’ and the ‘who’ have not. You have continued to help people, uplift those around you and made our community better.
 In the normal course of events the Governor-General and Mrs Hurley would be looking forward to welcoming you to Government House to say thank you in person. That is not possible in 2020 because of COVID-19 restrictions.
Their Excellencies would still like to acknowledge and thank your organisation for all of the incredible and tireless efforts across 2020.
One way that they would like to do that is to provide your organisation with a Governor-General’s medallion for presentation to a member of your team (staff, volunteer or supporter) who has contributed in some significant way to your efforts in 2020. The medallion is a gift and it is up to each organisation to determine who to present it to (and why).”

Of course, we welcomed this opportunity to recognise service to the Weary Dunlop legacy, and after due consideration the Foundation Board decided to award the Governor-General’s medallion to our Treasurer of five years Mr Dennis Payne.

Since joining the Board, Mr Payne, a National Serviceman, has gone well above and beyond the call of duty in attending to the financial management of the organisation. In spite of leading a busy professional life, he has been very generous with his time, and his meticulous attention to detail and keeping Directors informed is greatly appreciated. His contribution to developing new fundraising ideas is driven by a deep commitment to benefitting ex-serving men and women through medical research in the name of Sir Edward Dunlop.IMG_3554#1



The medallion was presented at our 2021 research grant presentations in May. Congratulations Dennis, on this well-deserved acknowledgement of your contribution.

Benalla P-12 College Announces Dunlop Award Winner

Weary Dunlop Foundation Award #1In 2020 the Foundation was pleased to initiate a $500 award to a selected Year 9 student at Benalla P-12 College.

Titled the “Weary Dunlop Foundation Award”, it recognises a student with high achievement in maths/science and aspirations of entering one of the health disciplines.

The winner requires a good understanding of Sir Edward Dunlop’s story and legacy.

We are pleased to congratulate the inaugural winner of the award, Ms Nicole Patterson, pictured here with Benalla College Executive Principal Mr Tony Clark.

We send our best wishes to Nicole in her chosen career.

Excellence Award for Dunlop Senior Researcher

The Foundation is pleased to learn that our Director and Principal Research Fellow, Associate Professor Elif Ekinci MBBS FRACP PhD, has been awarded a Dame Kate Campbell Fellowship by the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences at the University of Melbourne. The award is in recognition of Elif’s outstanding research in metabolic medicine.

Recognition for Dunlop Grant Researcher

In 1999 then Associate Professor Graeme Jackson was awarded a Dunlop grant for his project titled ‘Non-invasive studies of temporal lobe abnormalities in intractable partial epilepsy, using Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy.’

Graham Jackson (002)

This year, now Professor Graeme Jackson has been presented with the Austin Medical Research Foundation’s Distinguished Scientist Award for his “significant contribution to research at Austin Health.”

As an internationally renowned epilepsy clinician-researcher, Prof Jackson’s work has focused on innovations in MRI technology to understand brain structure and function and applying that to the understanding of epilepsy. He has also been an enthusiastic mentor to a number of early career and post graduate researchers.

Prof Jackson acknowledged that the award was not only recognition for his work, but for the efforts of his team, colleagues and his international collaborators.

“We’ve done a lot of good work, and I think we’ve made an impact and it’s a credit to all those people.

To learn more about Prof Jackson’s work please visit

The Weary Dunlop Foundation is pleased and proud to see another of our grant recipients making such a meaningful contribution in his field.

Fred and the President

Dunlop director and World War 2 veteran Fred Cullen OAM was thrilled to meet then US Vice President Joe Biden at  a ceremony at the MCG during Mr Biden’s visit to Australia in 2016.

The future President of the United States presented Fred with a restored US flag that Ivanhoe RSL, where Fred had been long term president, had held in its keeping since 1957. It was the first flag to go ashore at Guadalcanal and was presented to Ivanhoe by the 1st Marine Division. The flag had fallen into disrepair and the US Government agreed to have it restored and presented back to Ivanhoe in recognition of their concern for their national emblem.


Fred took the opportunity to resent Mr Biden with a Weary Dunlop badge and a copy of the book, Weary: an Australian Hero.