Photo Gallery: Gillard does the honours at Ingham Institute's big day

THE Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, has officially opened the Ingham Institute.

The PM did the honours yesterday before a large audience of health professionals and local, state and federal dignitaries from across Sydney's south-west.

A $46.9 million federal grant enabled the completion of the new, world-class research centre based at Liverpool Hospital.

Chairman, Terry Goldacre, said the Ingham Institute of Applied Medical Research — which was launched in 1997 — was conceived through the foresight and generosity of the former head of the Ingham Chicken empire, Bob Ingham.

The benefactor and namesake of the institute has donated more than $8 million over the past 16 years.

"Bob Ingham recognised the unique demographics of Sydney's south-west, and wanted to address the health challenges faced in the area," Mr Goldacre said.

"The institute has been fortunate to receive his long standing support."

The institute, which houses state-of-the-art equipment, highlights a unique collaboration between the South Western Sydney Local Health District, the University of Western Sydney and the University of NSW.

Institute researchers focus on seven key areas of health in the south-west: cancer, cardiovascular disease, community and population health, infectious and inflammatory disease, injury and mental health.

Institute research director, Professor Michael Barton, said his team was committed to providing practical results from research that will benefit the health of the local community.

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