On 17th November, 2022 we celebrated our 21st birthday at Rydges Hotel in Camperdown. It was a great night spent with our team and our many supporters, to mark 21 years of ground-breaking cardiothoracic surgical research. Although we usually get together annually with our supporters to provide an update on our work, this had not been possible for the past 3 years due to Covid-19. Our last event was held in December 2019 just as the first cases of Covid were evidenced overseas.
Our Patron, The Hon Michael Kirby AC CMG commenced the proceedings with a welcome to the Institute’s supporters that were present and described how much their support was appreciated over the past 21 years. Our Chair, Professor Paul Bannon followed with an explanation of the pivotal role The Baird Institute had played in cardiothoracic surgical research and training since our inception. In addition, he explained how The Baird Institute had developed from a typical surgical research group in 2001 focusing on surgical outcomes to undertaking translational research today.
Board member, Associate Professor Sean Lal, talked about the newly established Centre for Heart Failure & Diseases of The Aorta and its focus on three major areas; innovative heart valve design, heart failure and the biomechanics of the human aorta.
Prof. Bannon introduced Dr Robert Hume, our post-doctoral fellow who will lead a team in the Centre for Heart Failure & Diseases of The Aorta. This team will utilise human and model system heart failure so as to understand key disease processes in heart failure and aortic disease.
Prof Bannon led a Q&A with two of his patients – twin brothers Paul & Simon Molino – who both had open heart surgery in 2022, a few weeks apart from each other. They were just 39 years of age. They generously shared with the group their experience pre and post-surgery and the benefit that our research could have on their families. It was very moving hearing of their experience – both quite different – in addition to the impact on them and their families
Finally, generous Baird Institute supporter, Will Bird talked briefly on behalf of his family about their decision to support The Baird Institute’s Aortic Research program. The Bird family are greatly assisting us in the funding of Dr Hume’s fellowship over the next 3 years and for this we are most grateful. Will’s father, Rob Bird, died of an Aortic Dissection in 2010 and his family have made a commitment to funding aortic disease research at The Baird Institute. As a result, we have named the aortic research program after Rob Bird. Prof Bannon presented Will and his family with a plaque in recognition of their support for The Baird Institute over several years.
Following the presentations, we were served with some excellent canapes and refreshments. Everybody sang Happy Birthday to The Baird Institute and cut a very large cake in memory of its 21 years. We are very appreciative to Rydges Hotel and Mr Jack Tolani for their generosity in funding a large part of the birthday celebrations.