More than $6 million for new health discoveries

Monday, 13 August 2018

University of Adelaide researchers have been awarded more than $6 million in the latest round of National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) grants.

Announced today, the funding will support 13 University research projects that are searching for solutions to health issues of community concern.

Professor Jozef Gecz, Head of Neurogenetics at the University's Robinson Research Institute, has received the largest grant of more than $960,000 to continue research into the way genes influence neurodevelopmental disabilities.

Professor Gecz says the funding will help to advance discoveries in the underlying genetics of epilepsies, intellectual disabilities and cerebral palsies.

"These neurological disorders share common genetic characteristics,” says Professor Gecz.

“My priority will be to unravel new and unusual disease mechanisms and to translate this knowledge into better care for patients, through precise and personalised diagnosis of neurodevelopmental disabilities. Ultimately, this work aims to make a difference to people living with these disorders and their families,” he says.

The University's Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), Professor Mike Brooks, says the new research funding will lead to new discoveries by some of the University's most respected scientists, and support early career researchers.

“The NHMRC grants underline the depth of health and medical research being carried out at the University of Adelaide. The outcomes of this research will improve lives of people everywhere, not just in Australia,” says Professor Brooks.

Other research funded at the University of Adelaide by today's announcement includes:

Professor Maria Makrides (Adelaide Medical School and South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute). A project that evaluates nutrition as a way of improving the perinatal and longer-term health of mothers and their babies. $860,385.

Dr Michelle Sun (Ophthalmology, Adelaide Medical School). Applying bioengineering techniques to eye tissue in ground-breaking and vision-changing ophthalmology research. $271,034.

Dr Katharina Richter (Adelaide Medical School, Basil Hetzel Institute for Translational Health Research). Clinical trials of a new way to fight drug-resistant bacteria that starves them of their food by applying a wound healing gel at the site of the infection. $417,192.

Dr Cher-Rin Chong (Adelaide Medical School, Basil Hetzel Institute for Translational Health Research). Research into understanding the potential applicability of a new drug that prevents free radicals damage, to prevent heart disease in people with diabetes, the mechanisms involved and the potential to culminate in a clinical trial. $327,192.

Dr Amy Keir (Adelaide Medical School, Women’s and Children’s Hospital). A project to improve the quality, consistency and delivery of evidence-based care for preterm babies by improving knowledge translation for neonatal care which will improve life-expectancy and decrease healthcare costs for preterm babies and their families. $195,596.

Dr Vasilios Panagopoulos (Adelaide Medical School). Improving the survival rates of women whose breast cancer has spread to other areas. $327,192

Dr Merryn Netting (Adelaide Medical School, SAHMRI). A translational research program using evidence to prevent the development of food allergies in children and to optimise early childhood nutrition. $261,753.

Dr Lee-anne Chapple (Adelaide Medical School, Royal Adelaide Hospital). A program to find out how protein is metabolised and can be utilised in critical illness and determine how protein can best be delivered to optimise recovery. $327,192.

Dr Peter Psaltis (Adelaide Medical School, SAHMRI). Repurposing of an anti-gout drug to treat coronary artery disease and gain new insight into how particular molecules may combat atherosclerosis. $386,724.

Professor Helen Marshall (Adelaide Medical School, Robinson Research Institute) Develop targeted immunisation programs with the potential to substantially reduce disease and long-term health consequences, thereby reducing inequity in child health. $487,893.

Professor Peter-John Wormald (Adelaide Medical School) Develop a wound healing gel with anti-scarring and anti-bleeding properties, which is derived from squid, and which will be used to reduce complications after spinal surgery. $522,606.

Professor Lisa Jamieson (Director, Indigenous Oral Health, Adelaide Dental School). A program to improve the social and emotional wellbeing of Aboriginal children. $898,097.


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