About Us

The Upper Gastrointestinal & Metabolic Research Foundation (UGIMRF) is a registered foundation with the Australian Charities Not-for-Profit Commission (ACNC). UGIMRF was first established in 2014 by a like-minded group of surgeons who specialise in the field of upper gastrointestinal and metabolic surgery. They recognised a significant gap in research and education in this area and consequently established UGIMRF.

Metabolic diseases such as type two diabetes and morbid obesity are incredibly common and lead to death and severe illness in tens of thousands of Australians every year. Unfortunately these conditions lack “ambassadors” in the community to champion a campaign to seek solutions. As a result, funding into prevention and management from Government and private sources remains far less than for many conditions that are significantly more rare but better promoted. The lack of research is compounded by a lack of training. Without training it’s impossible to provide patients with doctors skilled enough to offer successful treatments to patients. The aim of the UGIMRF is to stimulate an interest in research and treatment for these and other conditions so that the patients we treat will have better treatments and better choices tomorrow. While we have started small, with a focus on our local communities, we realise that if we grow a large enough network our effectiveness will grow.

Created by medical professionals, managed by medical professionals.

100% of funding is directed into research & education, not administrative fees.

Performing research into today’s more common, yet most neglected medical problems.

Training doctors to provide patients better care for a better future.


Also known as weight loss surgery, bariatric surgery alters the anatomy and function of the oesophagus, stomach and small bowel to drastically reduce hunger and eating capacity, leading patients to subsequently lose weight and attain a healthier lifestyle.


Research and education into treatment of several cancers within the upper gastrointestinal tract such as: oesophageal cancer, gastric cancer, pancreatic cancer and biliary cancer. This is an area with a high mortality rate yet lack of research and funding.


Reflux is a common condition caused by a “faulty” valve at the bottom of the oesophagus that allows stomach acid to escape into the “food pipe”. Acid reflux is a normal bodily function, however people who experience on-going problems with reflux despite adequate medical treatment may require surgery.


Hernias can develop very quickly or over time, usually caused by a combination of muscle weakness and strain. Hernias can affect people of both sexes and all ages, although other factors such as weight, pregnancy, constipation or straining through exercise can be causes.

When I was training as both a junior Doctor and junior Surgeon I was inspired by my mentors to look into the reasons why our treatments work, and to always look beyond the horizon to seek ways to individualise care for patients to improve their outcomes.

Associate Professor Michael Talbot
Founding Director

Medical research is a vital, integral part of our profession, ensuring patient care is based on scientific evidence, rather than myths. From very early stages of my career I have been involved in surgical research and believe that without it our health care system cannot progress further.

Dr Vytauras Kuzinkovas
Founding Director

Quality surgery for me is built on the foundations of good training and good research. The UGIMRF aims to provide opportunities for our junior Doctors to achieve both of these aims.

Dr David Yeo

Our Research & Education

Research is fundamental for the advancement in medical treatment for upper gastrointestinal conditions. Due to the nature of medical research our projects do take significant time to gather relevant data and statistics in order to draw conclusions from our work. Our current projects include:

  • Long term outcomes of weight loss surgery on type two diabetes.
  • Effect of yo-yo dieting on weight loss outcomes.
  • A randomised trial of banded sleeve gastrectomy.
  • Long term outcomes of sleeve gastrectomy.
  • Long term outcomes of revision bariatric surgery.

The upper gastrointestinal department at St George Private Hospital (where our founders each have their own private practice) also contributes to a trial in gastric cancer, the TOPGEAR trial. The preliminary results have recently been published for this trial – click here to view online.

Education is vital to ensure that doctors who are working within the upper gastrointestinal and metabolic field, as well as doctors working in related areas, are up to date with the latest research and techniques. An important part of the foundation is providing doctors and medical staff with sufficient training and on-going teaching in this area. We believe that by continuing to provide education in this underdeveloped area of treatment and research, that we will be able to provide better treatment for patients in the future.


of Australian adults are overweight or obese


OF PEOPLE diagnosed with pancreatic cancer live longer than 5 years


of adults will experience
some form of reflux


of the population will develop an abdominal hernia


An UGIMRF Grant aims to promote and encourage research and its presentation by medical students, surgical registrars, trainees and fellows working within or in collaboration with the UGIMRF; by offering assistance to attend conferences, workshops and/or mentor programs related to surgical and other treatments pertaining to the management of obesity, hernia, reflux and upper gastrointestinal disorders.

A Grant may be awarded upon completion of a research project to help financial arrangements related to presentation of the research paper or poster at either a local, regional or international level. There are currently two grants available for approved applicants.

More Information

For more information about our available grants please download and complete our application form and submit this to the email provided in Contact details.

Contact Us

If you would like more information about UGIMRF or have any questions then please contact us using the form below or send us an email. If you would like to make a donation to the foundation then please complete our contact form and we will be in touch to go through the process with you personally.