Adelaide Uni wins 78% of State health funding

Professor Maria Makrides

Professor Maria Makrides

Friday, 30 October 2009

An Adelaide researcher has been awarded $4.1 million in Federal Government funds to investigate food allergies among infants and also test the role of iodine on children's development.

Professor Maria Makrides from the Women's and Children's Health Research Institute (WCHRI) and University of Adelaide (Professor of Nutrition) has won two Project Grants, including the largest in South Australia, from the latest round of National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) projects announced this week.

Over the next four years Professor Makrides will test whether children exposed to specific foods in early infancy are more likely to develop a tolerance to those foods.

Her team will use eggs as a basis for the study, introducing them to infants from 4-6 months, contrary to the common practice of egg avoidance until 10 months of age.

Professor Makrides' team will also determine whether a daily iodine tablet taken during pregnancy will help improve children's development. Iodine deficiency is emerging as a major health concern in Australia, with the Federal Government implementing the mandatory fortification of bread with iodised salt in September 2009.

In the past five years, Professor Makrides has won more than $9 million for her research into the link between nutrition and early childhood development.

South Australia has been awarded $45.7 million for project grants from the NHMRC, with the University of Adelaide securing $35.8 million - or 78% - of the State's funding for 54 new research projects starting in 2010.

The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), Professor Mike Brooks, said the University ranked third in the country for 2010 Project Grants awarded.

The projects include research into early childhood development, nutrition, cancer and other diseases, men's health, obesity, Indigenous health, reproduction and heart disease.

Other significant projects include:

  • $1.76 million to Professor Gary Wittert (Medicine) to investigate how changes in sex hormones, together with inflammation and environmental factors can contribute to heart disease in men;
  • $1 million to Professor James Paton (Molecular and Biomedical Sciences) to identify factors contributing to pneumococcal, a major cause of bacterial pneumonia, sepsis and meningitis especially in children and the elderly;
  • $1 million to Professor Ian Chapman (Medicine) to research the impact of testosterone tablets and a nutritional supplement to help reduce hospital admissions in under-nourished, older people;
  • $398,000 to Professor Bob Vink (Medical Science) to evaluate new pharmacological therapies to treat shaken baby syndrome;
  • $973,000 to Dr Lisa Jamieson (Australian Research Centre for Population Oral Health) to study the association between periodontal disease and cardiovascular disease in the Indigenous population.

"This $36 million project funding has reinforced the University of Adelaide's reputation as one of the most research-intensive institutions in the country," Professor Brooks said.

"This is an outstanding result for us and demonstrates the depth and quality of health and medical research that is being undertaken by our researchers, many whom are world leaders in their fields."

"This week's funding announcement will help launch more than 50 new research projects which have the potential to save, prolong and significantly improve the quality of lives for all Australians," Professor Brooks said.

In addition, the University of Adelaide has been awarded six Career Development Awards to the following researchers:

  • Dr Michele Grimbaldeston ($377,000) for her research into skin pathology and inflammation;
  • Dr Quenten Schwartz ($377,000) for his work in neural crest stem cell development;
  • Dr Grant Buchanan ($377,000) for his research into prostate cancer;
  • Associate Professor Andreas Evdokiou ($417,000) for research into the treatment of skeletal malignancies;
  • Associate Professor Karen Jones ($417,000) for her research into postprandial hypotension in the elderly;
  • Associate Professor David Brennan ($417,000) for his research into the use of services and oral health outcomes

NHMRC Research Fellowships totalling $3.6 million have also been awarded to the following University of Adelaide people who are carrying out significant research that is of major importance in their field:

  • Dr Michael Beard (Molecular and Biomedical Sciences) - $560,000;
  • Associate Professor Christine Feinle-Bisset (Medicine) - $618,750;
  • Associate Professor Jeremy Thompson (Obstetrics and Gynaecology) - $693,750
  • Associate Professor Kenneth McLaughlin (Obstetrics and Gynaecology) - $560,000
  • Associate Professor Sarah Robertson (Obstetrics and Gynaecology) - $752,500
  • Dr Jodie Dodd (Obstetrics and Gynaecology) - $420,875


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