VALE PROFESSOR STEPHEN HUNYOR Professor Stephen Hunyor was an
internationally acclaimed and recognised cardiologist at Royal North Shore Hospital, where he worked for more than 30 years. Sadly, Stephen recently passed away. Hungarian-born, Stephen was instrumental to the establishment and growth of clinical research endeavours at the hospital – his academic interests ranging from hypertension to stem cell research – and was renowned for his leadership in the field. Beyond the walls of the hospital, Stephen was the Professor of Medicine and Director of the Cardiac Technology Centre in the Kolling Institute. He had a particular interest in translational research, studying heart damage and repair with a focus on heart failure and its treatment with devices. In his later years, he turned his attention towards research in stem cell biology and how it could be applied to treat heart conditions. Chief Executive Deb Wilcox said Stephen will be remembered for his significant contribution to both clinical care and research. “Stephen was part of the visionary group of cardiologists who established the North Shore Heart Research Foundation, now known as Heart Research Australia,” she said. “This was a major milestone in the development of Academic Cardiology at Royal North Shore Hospital.” As well as his achievements at the hospital, Stephen published more than 180 papers, edited four books and co-invented four patents. In the late 1980s, he won international praise for his innovative work on pacemaker technology and was invited to speak at universities across the United States, Europe, Asia and South America. In the 1990s, Stephen was the Director of the Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) for Cardiac Technology which had a major program in Polymer research and involved highly effective collaboration between
Professor Stephen Hunyor
hospitals, Universities, CSIRO and industry.
In 2005 he founded Heart Assist Technologies, a ‘start-up’ company that developed a unique implantable heart assist device, and was the Chairman until 2009. In 2006 Stephen became a member of the National Health and Medical Research Council’s Project Grants Review Panel. He advised government on R&D policy; was Chair of Australia’s first ‘Commercializing Health Innovations Forum’, and established the Intellectual Property Unit within the NSW State Health Department. Long-term colleague, Professor Greg Nelson, Head of Department of Cardiology at Royal North Shore Hospital, remembers Stephen’s advice and guidance at the start of his career. “Stephen was one of my early mentors in cardiology and stimulated my interest in cardiac haemodynamics,” he said. “In the latter years I have taken over management of many of his former patients. Uniformly they were appreciative of the personalised care he gave them and never failed to ask of his wellbeing.” A funeral service was held for Stephen on Thursday 13 February at St Francis Xavier Church, Lavender Bay.
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