Sydney awarded $61 million for health research

14 September 2021
38 research projects receive NHMRC funding
University of Sydney researchers have received $61 million from the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) to improve the health of Australians.

The Minister for Health and Aged Care, the Hon. Greg Hunt MP,  has announced the successful NHMRC grants today. The University of Sydney was awarded $61 million for 34 Investigator Grant projects and four Centres of Research Excellence (CRE) schemes.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Duncan Ivison welcomed the announcement.

“This outstanding result is testament to the calibre of our researchers, the important areas of research they are pursuing, and the University’s position as a leader in health and medical research more generally. I was delighted to see such a strong performance from both the Faculty of Medicine and Health and the Faculty of Science, which demonstrates the breadth and quality of our research in these areas," Professor Ivison said.  

“This round we received the largest number of CREs ever led by the University of Sydney. Our sustained grant success reflects the outward focus of our academic community and our commitment to shaping the future of health in Australia.”

The University will lead four new CREs to improve outcomes for people with chronic kidney disease, childhood obesity prevention, reduce medical overuse, and find treatments for inflammatory arthritis.

Highlights of grants awarded to Sydney researchers in this round include:

  • Professor Georgina Long received an Investigator Grant to focus on lowering the death rate for melanoma - a cancer in which Australia has the highest incidence of in the world. The project will develop novel drug therapies using innovative clinical trial designs, collecting unique samples to understand the causes, and conquer drug resistance.
  • Professor Julie Leask’s Investigator Grant project aims to close gaps in vaccination coverage. It will identify behavioural and social drivers of low vaccination, generate new knowledge on interventions to improve coverage, and provide innovative solutions to the problem of vaccine hesitancy.
  • Professor Gregory Fox received an Investigator Grant to address the major gaps in prevention, detection and treatment of tuberculosis – a disease still affecting 10 million people each year. A series of trials will help to reduce the spread of infection and improve treatment outcomes globally and in Australia.
  • Professor Olivier Piguet’s Investigator Grant project aims to improve diagnosis and understanding of disease progression in frontotemporal dementia, a progressive and fatal neurodegenerative brain disorder. It will develop relevant therapeutic interventions that will maximise the quality of life of patients and their families.
  • Professor Lyn March will lead a CRE working to find the right treatment for inflammatory arthritis and provide the best path to symptom relief with the least risk of side effects. The CRE will build a resource and workforce to continue to look for cures to deliver the best outcomes for patients and society.
  • Professor Louise Baur’s CRE aims to identify and deliver the most effective, cost-effective, scalable and sustainable approaches to preventing obesity, and reducing obesity-related behaviours, in children aged 0-5 years.

NHMRC grant recipients

  • Professor Louise Baur will lead a CRE that aims to identify and deliver the most effective, cost-effective, scalable and sustainable approaches to preventing obesity, and reducing obesity-related behaviours, in children aged 0-5 years.
  • Professor Lyn March’s CRE will work to find the right treatment for inflammatory arthritis, and provide the best path to symptom relief with the least risk of side effects.
  • Professor Kirsten McCaffery will lead a CRE that will develop "a new solutions-based approach" to overuse of unnecessary, ineffective healthcare.
  • Professor Allison Tong’s CRE will partner with patients to generate and translate new evidence to improve outcomes for people living with chronic kidney disease.
  • Professor Louise Baur awarded $1.7 million for Transforming the prevention and treatment of child and adolescent obesity
  • Professor Nicholas Buckley awarded $1.5 million for Applied research to tackle the Australian poisoning epidemic
  • Dr Qi Cao awarded $650,740 for Developing novel therapeutic approaches by using innate lymphoid cells in chronic kidney disease
  • Professor Peter Cistulli awarded $2.4 million for A deadly duo: Defining the link between Obstructive Sleep Apnoea and Cardiovascular Disease
  • Dr Tessa Copp awarded $650,740 for Reducing the harms of inappropriate medicalisation of women's reproductive health
  • Dr Jacob Crouse awarded $650,740 for Investigating body clock dysfunction in mood disorders using wearable sensors
  • Professor Anne Cust awarded $2 million for Tailored approaches to improve prevention and early detection of melanoma and other skin cancers 
  • Dr Jonathan Danon awarded $650,740 for Molecular innovations for imaging microglial contributions to brain disorders
  • Associate Professor Melody Ding awarded $1.5 million for Creating an active Australia through active systems: Co-production of multi-sectoral population physical activity strategies 
  • Dr Angela D'Rozario awarded $1.5 million for Investigating sleep biomarkers of cognitive impairment and improving cognitive outcomes through targeted sleep interventions in adults at risk for dementia
  • Associate Professor Mohammed Eslam awarded $1.2 million for Leveraging human genetics to inform treatment in fatty liver disease
  • Dr Giovanni Ferreira awarded $650,740 for Improving back pain care in Australia
  • Professor Manuela Ferreira awarded $2.5 million for Less pain in the back: how new approaches can improve care for low back pain 
  • Professor Gregory Fox awarded $3.1 million for New directions in global tuberculosis control
  • Professor Ollie Jay awarded $2.1 million for Heat and Health: Building resilience to a warming planet across the human lifespan
  • Dr Ameneh Khatami awarded $570,592 for Phage Therapy - a novel solution for difficult-to-treat infections in children
  • Dr Ramon Landin-Romero awarded $1.5 million for Bridging the clinico-pathological divide: improving neuroimaging analysis and applications in dementia
  • Professor Julie Leask awarded $2.3 million for Behavioural and social science to close gaps in vaccination coverage
  • Associate Professor Chee Khoon Lee awarded $1.8 million for Improving outcomes in advanced lung and gynaecological cancers through innovations in clinical trials
  • Briana Lees awarded $650,740 for Alcohol use during pregnancy: Understanding and improving health outcomes in offspring
  • Professor Georgina Long awarded $3.9 million for Towards Zero Deaths from Melanoma: Innovative Clinical Trials with Multi-omics Analyses
  • Karine Manera awarded $650,740 for Partnering with patients to assess and address loneliness in chronic kidney disease
  • Elie Matar awarded $250,000 for From dreams to delirium and dementia: Cognitive fluctuations as a window into novel biomarkers and therapeutic targets for neurodegeneration
  • Associate Professor Alexander Menzies awarded $1.3 million for Predictive biomarkers of response, resistance and toxicity with immunotherapy in melanoma
  • Professor Sharon Naismith awarded $2.1 million for Improving dementia outcomes with new targets, trials and national standards 
  • Professor Olivier Piguet awarded $2 million for Maximising quality of life in frontotemporal dementia
  • Professor Julie Redfern awarded $2.8 million for Modernising cardiac rehabilitation and secondary prevention of heart disease
  • Dr Sudarshini Ramanathan awarded $1.5 million for Defining pathogenic mechanisms to improve diagnosis and treatment of antibody-associated neurological disorders
  • Associate Professor Natasha Rogers awarded $1.1 million for Improving translational pathways in kidney injury: from discovery to clinical practice
  • Dr Anna Seidler awarded $600,740 for NextGen evidence synthesis to maximise data utility and improve health outcomes
  • Professor Robert Simes awarded $2.7 million for Innovations in Clinical Trials Research: from personalised medicine to population health
  • Dr Sanjay Wadanambi Arachchige awarded $450,370 for Research generating evidence to optimise pneumococcal disease prevention
  • Dr Kerrie Wiley awarded $650,740 for Integrating social science evidence into the fight against vaccine-preventable and vector-borne diseases in the Australasian, South East Asian and Pacific regions
  • Dr Mark White awarded $624,390 for Novel oxygen sensing pathways in hypoxic disease

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