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November 2021

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Rinaldo Bellomo

Recognition for sepsis expert

Austin Health’s director of intensive care research Rinaldo Bellomo has again been recognised as a world expert in sepsis.

As part of events to mark the recent World Sepsis Day, Professor Bellomo was acknowledged by online referral engine Expertscape as one of the top three sepsis experts in the world from a field of international researchers.

Expertscape analyses experts’ published research of subject matter to assess how many articles they have published and which publication they appeared in to assign a score to each researcher from around the world.

This process saw Professor Bellomo ranked third among all sepsis experts globally.

Professor Bellomo said sepsis was a serious and potentially life-threatening medical condition that resulted from the body’s response to an infection.

‘Studies have shown that sepsis affects more than half of the patients who are hospitalised due to COVID-19 and more than three quarters of those in ICU,’ Professor Bellomo said.

‘As with everything in the rest of the world, COVID is dominating sepsis research, which is helping give us a better understanding of the biology of the disease.

‘However, patients continue to get sepsis from COVID as well as from other conditions in the same way they always have, including secondary infections in patients who are ventilated.

‘Austin Health is involved in an international pilot study looking to block one of the ways cells are injured by sepsis.

‘When injured cells break down, they release proteins known as histones – which are toxic positively-charged membranes that damage other healthy cells.

‘This study is looking at effectiveness of using medications that use safe, negatively-charged molecules to block the histones and their impact.

‘It is a privilege to work at Austin Health and be part of something that is bigger than just the buildings we work in.

‘We have world-class people doing world-class work and that is something we should all be very proud of.’