By John Smith

Over the past four years a pretty unique feat of architecture has grown on the northern edge of Adelaide’s CBD.  Referred to as the cheese grater, the pineapple, the pine cone, the blue tongue, the mothership and even the air filter, its official name is the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute, or SAHMRI for short.

But as one of its soon-to-be occupants we’re confident that the research which will take place within its walls, or should we say its ‘transparent skin‘, will be just as interesting, if not more interesting, as the building’s external appearance. Research that will address the most important health issues facing Australia.

So while the building itself may not save lives, what goes on inside certainly will.

Today the Prime Minister and SA Premier opened the new purpose-built home, at an intimate gathering of around 1000 of SAHMRI’s closest friends from the research, health and wider community.

SAHMRI Building

Is it a blue tongue lizard? a mothership? a cheese grater? No it’s the new SAHMRI building.

Credit: CSIRO


While we’re not in there yet we’re getting excited as we count the months and weeks til moving day.

Our nutrition and health research clinic will take pride of place right on the ground-level public plaza. This is where many generous volunteers from the community will participate in our studies, testing the effectiveness of lifestyle interventions, such as diet and exercise.

Many of our volunteer studies have been integral to the scientifically supported lifestyle advice in our Total Wellbeing Diet, Healthy Heart Program, Wellbeing Plan for Kids and Diabetes, Diet and Lifestyle Plan books.

Not only will the research we conduct in this iconic building help Australians to make healthier food and lifestyle choices, it will also mean a stronger Australian food industry as we also test the validity of food health claims. These scientifically supported health claims are an opportunity for Australian food manufacturers to gain a competitive advantage in the increasingly health conscious and middle-class Asian market.

We’re always on the lookout for volunteers so if you live in Adelaide you can register your interest on our website. In fact we’re now recruiting for one of our first studies we’ll conduct at SAHMRI, on the effects of vitamin D on cognition.

Each study has different requirements for volunteers, such as age, health, medical conditions etc, so even if you don’t fit the bill on our current studies you might be able to help on future studies.

We’re looking forward to working in this exciting new hub of health research along with colleagues from the universities, hospitals and other health research organisations.

Along with the new Royal Adelaide Hospital currently being built next door and several other planned university and research buildings, our exciting new location promises to be the largest biomedical precinct in the southern hemisphere.

We think what will go on at SAHMRI is important, so forgive us if we be so bold to suggest that our new home should join the likes of the ‘coathanger’ in the club of iconic buildings with unique nicknames.