Medicine

National funding for medical research

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The University of Tasmania has been awarded almost $5 million in competitive medical research funding from the Federal Government.

Outcomes from the National Health and Medical Research Council’s (NHMRC) 2016 grant round were announced.

NHMRC grants are the largest component of Australia’s competitive medical research funding.

The $5 million will go to four major research projects and two Fellowships at the University’s Menzies Institute for Medical Research. The grants bring with them additional block funding, which takes the total value to the University and the State to just over $6.5 million.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Brigid Heywood said the projects would build on the University’s considerable body of work in medical research and add to a reputation for research excellence.

“In a very real sense, the University’s medical research has had a significant, positive impact on the community and this new funding will help us continue our efforts,” Professor Heywood said.

The Menzies Director, Professor Alison Venn, said the new funding underlined the success of some of the Institute’s most established research areas, such as multiple sclerosis, longitudinal work on the impacts of childhood lifestyle and overweight on adult heart disease and diabetes, and the factors underlying neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

Health economics is a growing field of research for Menzies and the funding for modelling the economic cost of osteoporosis showed the importance and relevance of this work, Professor Venn said.

“We are focussed on the diseases which are having an impact in Tasmania and this funding is most welcome to help us continue that work,” Professor Venn said.

“It is also very pleasing for Menzies to have success across the spectrum of population health, clinical research and laboratory research.”

Projects to receive new funding:

  • Professor Bruce Taylor: What predicts the progressive phase of multiple sclerosis? $1,791,342.60
  • Professor Andrew Palmer: AusGo-SHEMO..Let’s Go! Australian Gold Standard Health Economics Model of Osteoporosis, $378,958.90
  • Professor Alison Venn: Cardiometabolic risk trajectories from childhood to midlife: finding pathways to better health, $1,531,987.29
  • Dr Owen Marshall: A genome-wide analysis of the epigenetic control of learning and memory, $547,857

Fellowship grants were awarded to two arthritis researchers:

  • Professor Graeme Jones, a clinician/researcher in arthritis, has received a five-year Practitioner Fellowship ($406,585)
  • Dr Benny Antony, a researcher in arthritis and osteoporosis, has received a four-year Early Career Fellowship ($318,768).

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