Dr Behzad Hajarizadeh is a Senior Lecturer and NHMRC fellow in the Viral Hepatitis Clinical Research Program at the Kirby Institute. Behzad received Medicine's research excellence as an early career academic at last year's Research and Teaching Awards. Get to know a little bit more about him and his research at the Kirby Institute:
What is your role in the Faculty? Do you have any big research projects or key initiatives you are working on?
My main role is conducting medical research and supervising PhD and Honours students, but I am also teaching epidemiology to post-graduate students in the School of Public Health. My research has been focused on viral hepatitis, particularly hepatitis C. I can mention two main projects as the focus of my current research. The first one aims to monitor uptake of a new hepatitis C treatment in Australia. In March 2016, the Australian Government invested about one billion dollars, providing access to a new treatment for hepatitis C, called direct-acting antiviral treatment. This is a safe and highly effective treatment with more than 95% cure rate. I am leading a research project to monitor and evaluate uptake of this new treatment in various jurisdictions, and patient populations, and also the pattern of prescribing across different doctor specialities. The second project, which is called SToP-C study, is conducted in the prison system. Given the high burden and transmission of hepatitis C in the prisons, in SToP-C study we are conducting a field trial to evaluate if scale-up of this new hepatitis C treatment can control the transmission of the virus in prisons.
What is can you tell us about your success in research? What tips do you have for other early career academic researchers?
I am not sure if I can call it “tips”, but my philosophy in academic work is to consider learning as a life long journey, and to consider every experience as a learning opportunity. Even as a teacher or a supervisor, it is always satisfying when at the end of the class or the supervisory meeting I feel that I know a bit more than before. Most of the time, I am disappointed of how much I don’t know though, but it is still a part of the journey.
Tell us a little known fact about yourself?
I moved to Australia from Iran in about 10 years ago.
Behzad trained as a Medical Practitioner and has a Masters in Public Health (MPH) and PhD in Medicine (Clinical Epidemiology). His main area of expertise is viral hepatitis with more than 15 years experience as a clinician and researcher in the field of liver diseases. His employment history includes working as a Research Fellow in La Trobe University, Melbourne and as a Senior Research Officer and Project Coordinator in the Ministry of Health and UNAIDS country office in Iran.