Brain and Mental Health Research
Brain and Mental Health Research
Brain & Mental Health

HMRI Early Career Research Fellowship in Stroke, supported by Dalara Foundation
Fellowship
Researchers:
Description:

To support an Early Career Research Fellowship for 5 years, inclusive of a Research Support Grant, for an affiliated researcher of HMRI in the research area of stroke and intracranial pressure within the HMRI Research Program "Brain & Mental Health".

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NSW Health Early-Mid Career Fellowship
Fellowship
Researchers:

Dr Heidi Janssen

Stroke Finder Helmet - saving time, saving brain!
Equipment Grant
Description:

Stroke can be devastating - often leaving a person disabled or deceased. This Stroke Finder Helmet is an innovative tool which could have enormous impact for survival and disability rates for stroke victims.

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Towards the development of new therapeutic interventions for Alzheimer’s disease
Project Grant
PhD Top-Up Scholarship - Rutger de Zoete
Scholarship
Researchers:

A/Prof Suzanne Snodgrass, Mr Rutger de Zoete

Using New Light-Based Approaches to Study Chronic Pain
Project Grant
Researchers:

A/Prof Brett Graham, Dr Phil Jobling, Ms Kelly Smith

Description:

Changes to the nervous system during chronic pain remain poorly understood.

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Novel Mechanisms of ‘Stroke-in-Progression’: Intracranial pressure elevation and collateral blood vessel failure after minor stroke
Project Grant
Researchers:

A/Prof Neil Spratt, Dr Damian McLeod

Description:

Ischaemic stroke, caused by blood clot blocking an artery to the brain, is a leading cause of death and disability. In around 10% of patients the stroke enlarges in the first 24-48 h (stroke-in-progression). Typically, these are people who arrive with mild or rapidly improving stroke symptoms, but most end up with long-term disability. There is no effective treatment, in part because for the last few decades we have been wrong about the cause for stroke progression, so have been trying to treat the wrong mechanism.

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How transient is a transient ischemic attack (TIA)? Frontal-network profiles as indices of sustained cognitive impairment post-TIA
Project Grant
Researchers:

A/Prof Frini Karayanidis, Dr Patrick Cooper, Dr Aaron Wong, Dr Andrew Bivard, Prof Chris Levi

Description:

Transient ischemic attack (TIA) is clinically defined as a self-limiting neurological event with full functional recovery within 24 hours. However, new evidence indicates that as many as 68% of TIA sufferers show subtle, sustained cognitive impairment that can have direct consequences for daily living. Patient-reported symptoms, such as mental fatigue, anxiety/depression, and difficulty returning to work, point to specific impairment of cognitive control. 

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Equal Futures Award
Project Grant
Researchers:
Description:

Personalised Professional Mentoring

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A new treatment to help recovery from stroke, including fatigue and quality of life
Project Grant
Description:

Funding for clinical trial coordinator for MIDAS2

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Improving Dementia Care
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr Michelle Kelly

Description:

Family carers of people with dementia take on many complex, often physically and emotionally challenging tasks to support their family member with dementia. These can lead to significant levels of anxiety, depression and stress.

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Infant Equipment
Equipment Grant
Description:

These items will be used jointly by the named investigators to expand current collaborative work in the areas of early child development, impact of maternal chronic illness on early child outcomes and neurodevelopmental disability.

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Assessment for Stroke Recovery
Equipment Grant
Researchers:

Dr Lin Kooi Ong, Gary Crowfoot, Heidi Janssen, Di Marsden, Jodie Marquez, Coralie English, Rohan Walker

Description:

Stroke patients often find it difficult to do basic thinking, recall memories and solve life’s daily problem. The Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery (CANTAB) is a touchscreen based assessment to objectively measure cognitive function.

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The role of brain water channels in modulating cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) production
Equipment Grant
Researchers:

Dr Adjanie Patabendige, Neil Sprat

Description:

SomnoSuite Automatic Ventilator (Kent Scientific Corporation, USA): to artificially ventilate models during surgery under anaesthesia.

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Do sensory symptoms impact outcomes of the Alert Program for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder?
Project Grant
Researchers:
Description:

"Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) affects learning, social participation and daily function across the lifespan. Approximately 35,000 school-aged Australian children live with ASD; 95% of these experience educational restrictions. ASD has no known cure, and its causes are poorly understood due to the variability in how the disorder emerges and presents. Further, available treatments are only moderately successful and are not effective for all children with ASD. Knowledge about what (intervention) is likely to work for whom is missing from the field.

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Jennie Thomas Medical Research Travel Grant
Travel Grant
Researchers:

Dr Patrick Cooper

Clinical Outcomes & Quality Indicators (COQI) Framework Study
Project Grant
Researchers:

Conjoint Professor Adrian Dunlop

Tour Des Femmes Project
Project Grant
Stroke Helmet
Equipment Grant

Cancer Research
Cancer Research
Cancer

Matt Callander Beanie for Brain Cancer HMRI Fellowship Funded by the Mark Hughes Foundation
Fellowship
Researchers:

Dr Kelly McKelvey, Dr Viive Howell, Dr Connie Diakos, A/Prof Helen Wheeler, Dr Amanda Hudson

Description:

A good quality of life and long survival are standard societal expectations of health care, but sadly this is not the norm for patients with brain cancer (glioma). Surgery, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy are current therapies which target cancer cells directly but have shown limited benefit to patients long-term.

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Honorariums
Project Grant
Researchers:
Description:

Honorariums for speaking at conferences and meetings.

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Receptor tyrosine kinase mutations in acute myeloid leukaemia promote PP2A and p53 inhibition through the phosphorylation of SBDS
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr Matt Dun, Nicole M Verrills

Description:

AML (acute myeloid leukemia) is a very aggressive form of leukemia. Tumour suppressor proteins are critically important for normal healthy cells to be protected from genetic mutations. However in AML mutations occur in the genes responsible for stem growth and cell differentiation. The growth of the blood stem cells is accelerated but their differentiation into other cells is inhibited.

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MHF Brain Cancer Care Coordinator
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr Anthony Proietto

Description:

The CN2 will provide expert clinical consultancy to support high level care coordination for brain cancer patients requiring complex management.

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JAK3 Signalling in T-cell ALL: KU Leuven - VIB, COOLS - UoN-HCRA, DUN collaboration
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr Matt Dun, Nikki Verrills

Description:

To aid international collaboration with KU Leuven - VIB in Belgium.

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Too Much of a Good Thing: Application for a triple-gas incubator to allow cell culture under normal conditions
Equipment Grant
Description:

A very useful and convenient method used in many fields of medical research involves growing cells in the laboratory. Cells are ""cultured"" in plastic dishes in incubators that provide an environment warmed to body temperature, 37 degrees Celsius. Human cells also require carbon dioxide to grow and this is added to the ambient air in the incubator. This kind of cell culture has been used for over a century and has been accepted as the standard way of growing cells in the laboratory. This method is very important and useful in cancer research.

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Tetraspanin CD9; more than just an exosome marker - A novel biomarker to target for prostate cancer
Project Grant
Description:

Currently the major hurdle facing the successful treatment of solid cancers is the development of metastases (tumour spread), and our lack of understanding of what controls this process.

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Award for Early Career Research - Gillian Gould
HMRI Award for Early Career Research
VIdentifying the genetic basis of childhood brain tumours by exome sequencing
Project Grant
Researchers:
Description:

Childhood brain tumours (CBTs) are the second most common paediatric malignancy after leukaemia and the leading cause of cancer-related death in children under the age of 19 years. CBTs can be classified into several distinct groups based on their cell morphology and malignant potential. All CBTs have a neuroepithelial origin and are thought to be derived from neural stem cells that can differentiate into a variety of different tumour types such as astrocytic tumours, oligodendroglial tumours, mixed gliomas, ependymal tumours, neuronal and mixed tumours, neuronal and glial tumours, embryonal tumours and primitive neuroectodermal tumours. By far the most frequent are gliomas, followed by embryonal tumours. 

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Genome wide approach to risk assess Multiple Myeloma and precursor plasma cell disorders
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr Anoop Enjeti, Ms Nadine Berry, Dr Wojt Janowski, L/Prof Rodney Scott, Prof Philip Rowlings

Description:

Multiple myeloma (MM) is a cancer of plasma cells, which are mature white blood cells within the bone marrow. The disease causes bone pain and weakening which often leads to fractures. It typically affects people over the age of 60, with about 1700 new diagnoses each year in Australia. It is incurable and carries a life expectancy of 2-7 years depending on the aggressiveness of the tumour cells. Although the actual cause of MM is unknown, it is often preceded by less severe forms of the disease called monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS), and smouldering multiple myeloma (SMM). However, not everyone with these early stages will develop MM, and it is not clear what drives progression of the disease. 

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Determining the mechanisms underpinning leukaemic transformation for children suffering from Shwachman-Diamond Syndrome (SDS)
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr Matt Dun, Dr Nikki Verrills, Dr Jeremy Robertson

Description:

Shwachman-Diamond-Syndrome (SDS) is an inherited disease that affects 1 in every 76,000 children. Dysfunction of the child’s blood and circulatory system occurs in nearly all patients, causing increased rates of infection and decreased capacity to transport oxygen. Unfortunately, the overall survival of a young person with SDS is only 35 years, and this is attributed to sepsis, organ failure and most frequently the development of leukaemia. 

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Single-cell analysis of circulating tumour cells from newly diagnosed and metastatic breast cancer patients.
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr Heather Lee, A/Prof Therese Becker, Prof Paul de Souza, Dr Patsy Soon

Description:

Breast cancer can spread to other organs in the body including the lungs, liver and bones. Unfortunately, this type of ‘metastatic’ breast cancer is difficult to treat, and the majority of patients die within 5 years of diagnosis. We urgently need new ways to prevent, detect and treat metastatic breast cancer, in order to save the lives of breast cancer patients.

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A therapy against pancreatic cancer and associated pain
Project Grant
Researchers:

Prof Hubert Hondermarck, Prof Marjorie Walker, Dr Phillip Jobling, Dr Rick Thorne

Description:

Recent discoveries, including from our laboratory, have revealed the important role played by nerves in cancer progression, and targeting nerve outgrowth in the tumour microenvironment is an emerging innovative strategy in oncology. In pancreatic cancer, it has been shown that the outgrowth of sensory nerves in the microenvironment is necessary to cancer progression and stimulates pain.

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A simple fingerprick and blood test to optimise chemotherapy dosing in oesophageal cancer
Project Grant
Researchers:

A/Prof Jennifer Schneider, Prof Stephen Ackland, Prof Jennifer Martin, Dr Peter Galettis, Dr Catherine Lucas, Ms Madhu Garg

Description:

The chemotherapy drug, 5-fluorouracil (5-FU), or its oral pro-drug capecitabine, are commonly used in treating oesophageal and gastric cancer. The dose a patient receives is currently determined using body surface area. This approach, however, produces outcomes ranging from poor efficacy to toxicity including mouth ulcers, diarrhoea or life threatening febrile neutropenia.

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A novel minimally invasive assay to identify patients with bowel cancer
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr Peter Pockney, Laureate Prof Rodney Scott

Description:

Faecal occult blood testing (FOBT) is used as a population based method to identify people over the age of 50 years with colorectal cancer.   Fortunately, the majority of patients with a positive FOBT do not have colorectal cancer and only about 5% are diagnosed with CRC and 30% with polyps after colonoscopy.  Colonoscopy is not without risk and even in the most experienced hands there is a morbidity associated with this procedure.

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Oncogenic upregulation of the long noncoding RNA MAFG-AS1
Project Grant
Description:

It has become apparent over the last decade that a class of molecules called long noncoding RNAs (lncRNA), which were originally thought to be ‘junk’ in mammalian cells, play a major role in controlling gene expression and disease. 

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Re-purposing PARP inhibitors to treat childhood leukaemias
Project Grant
Description:

Cancer is the most common cause of childhood disease-related deaths, with leukaemia the most common childhood cancer in Australia. The two most common forms of leukaemia in children are acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) and acute myeloid leukaemia (AML). Whilst remission is achievable in over 95% of ALL cases, 1/3 of patients will relapse within 5 to 10 years, and these children will not be long-term survivors. AML accounts for 20% of all childhood leukaemias, and the outlook for children diagnosed with AML is much worse, with only approximately half of children surviving for 5 years post-diagnosis.

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Developing new treatments for resistance in acute myeloid leukaemia
Project Grant
Researchers:
Description:

Treatment for the most common and deadly form of blood cancer (acute myeloid leukaemia) hasn’t changed in over 40 years. New treatments fail because leukaemia’s genes have a high propensity to mutate, causing rapid resistance to therapies. We have discovered that these gene mutations cause chemical-modifications to the cells defence systems. Unrestrained growth of these cancerous cells results in the production of excess reactive by-products that progressively change the cancer, making long-term treatment response and patient survival unlikely. This project will test whether targeting these chemical-modifications will be a more effective new treatment strategy.

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MRSP Equipment Grant
Equipment Grant
Researchers:

Dr Matt Dun, Prof Hubert Hondermarck, Prof Murray Cairns, Prof Brett Nixon, Phillip Dickson, Dr Nikki Verrills

Description:

ChemiDoc MP System - this equipment will help directly facilitate the advanced research needs of >20 different groups of HMRI: Cancer (Dun, Hondermarck,  Verrills, Skelding, Tanwar, Weidenhofer, Scarlet, Bowden, Thorne etc), Brain and Mental Health  (Cairns, Dickson, Dayas, Jobling, Smith, Brichta, Lim etc) Pregnancy and Reproduction (Nixon,  Aitken, De Iuliis, Roman, Bromfield, Pringle) Information Based Medicine (Scott, Milward, Kiejda), VIVA (Hansbro, Starkey) and therefore an estimated >80 HDR students, ECRs and research assistants. 

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QIAxpert
Equipment Grant
Researchers:

Dr Pradeep Tanwar, Manish Kumar, Muhammad Fairuz Jamaluddin

Description:

This is a versatile, automated platform for quantification and quality control of DNA, RNA and proteins. It can process up to 16 samples in less than two minutes. This instrument does not require cleaning action so there are no chances of contamination from remnants of RNA from the previous sample. Once loaded the sample remains saved up to two hours as there is no evaporation loss. This machine provides the option for flexible input & multi-sample read. The analysis is automatic and a digital report is generated which can be exported to a USB. 

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Vanessa McGuigan HMRI Research Fellowship in Ovarian Cancer supported by the McGuigan Family
Fellowship
Researchers:
Description:

Ovarian cancer is most commonly treated with a chemotherapy drug called cisplatin. Cisplatin works by damaging DNA so much that the tumour cells die. It forms the basis of most combined treatment regimes (where two or more drugs are used in combination). The downside to cisplatin is that it is extremely toxic and although some patients benefit substantially from treatment, a large proportion suffer the toxic side effects without any therapeutic benefit.

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Emlyn and Jennie Thomas Postgraduate Medical Research Scholarship
Scholarship
Researchers:

Ms Yazmin Brown, Dr Pradeep Tanwar, Dr Susan Hua

Repurposing traditional chemotherapy to prime advanced melanoma for immune therapy
Project Grant
Researchers:
HMRI Mid-Career Clinical Research Fellowship in Brain Cancer supported by Mark Hughes Foundation
Fellowship
Researchers:

Dr Mike Fay

Mark Hughes Foundation Research Travel Grant
Travel Grant
Researchers:

Sandy Nixon

Description:

Funding request attendance to present poster at 5th Quadrennial Meeting of the World Federation of Neuro-Oncology Societies in Zurich, Switzerland from 4th-7th May 2017.

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Underpinning Australian brain cancer research: creating the resources essential to accelerate access and sharing of biospecimens and associated clinical data vital to advancing research in brain cancer.
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr Raymond Cook, A/Prof Jennifer Byrne

Description:

Brain cancer is one of the most under researched of all cancers, little is known about its cause or how to treat it, resulting in very low survival rates. Brain cancer research increasingly relies on collections of tumour samples and associated data (biobanks). Due to the location of brain cancer, and its rare nature, obtaining sufficient clinical samples is difficult. Furthermore, brain cancer biobanks across Australia are geographically and operationally disparate, and to date there has been no effort to coordinate them.

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Cardiovascular Research
Cardiovascular Research
Cardiovascular

SHED-IT Recharge: Development and evaluation of a gender-tailored program designed to improve men's physical and mental health
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr Myles Young, Prof Phil Morgan, A/Prof Frances Kay-Lambkin, Prof Clare Collins, Prof Robin Callister, Prof Brian Kelly

Description:

Phase I of this study will investigate feasibility and efficacy of a self-help, gender-tailored weight loss program for male workers with or without the provision of additional program components targeting stress and mental health  (SHED-IT only vs. SHED-IT plus SHED-IT: Recharge).

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Nutrition Connect: Online platform to link rural families to health professionals for healthy eating
Project Grant
Researchers:

Professor Clare Collins, Tracy Burrows

Description:

This project will focus on providing telehealth nutrition intervention for rural parents who are concerned about their child’s weight or eating habits.

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Characterising the role of Fibulin-3 in health and disease
Project Grant
Description:

Cardiovascular Disease is the leading cause of death worldwide and the Hunter Region has one of the highest rates of heart disease in Australia.

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Nutrition and Dietetics Research
Project Grant
Researchers:

Prof Clare Collins, Dr Lee Ashton

The effects of dexmedetomidine on the cardiorespiratory responses to severe hypoxaemia
Project Grant
Researchers:

Prof Anthony Quail, A/Prof David Cottee

Description:

Dexmedetomidine is an intravenous sedative drug with increasing clinical use anaesthesia and intensive care. The drug acts within the central nervous system (CNS) and has potential adverse effects on the control of breathing and the circulation. It is important to understand how the drug alters the body’s response to low oxygen levels (hypoxia) which may be encountered in the acute care setting

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Fibulin-3 and Cardiac Fibrosis
Project Grant
Researchers:
Description:

Heart failure is one of the most costly health problems worldwide. A hallmark of heart failure is cardiac fibrosis, an abnormal and persistent accumulation of scar tissue (mainly the extracellular matrix protein, collagen) that significantly impairs heart function.

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The feasibility and preliminary efficacy of referral to exercise physiologists, psychologists, and supplementary physical behaviour change strategies for school teachers 'at risk' for Type 2 Diabetes, with pre diabetes or with Type 2 Diabetes
Project Grant
Researchers:

Prof Ronald Plotnikoff, Wendy Brown, Kerry Courneya, Ronald Sigal, Erica James, David Lubans, Kristen Cohen

Award for Research Excellence - Clare Collins
HMRI Award for Research Excellence
Award for Mid Career Research - David Lubans
HMRI Award for Mid Career Research
Researchers:
Resveratrol – a cause or cure for migraine? A pilot study in premenopausal women.
Project Grant
Researchers:

Prof Peter Howe, Dr Rachel Wong, Prof Lyn Griffiths

Description:

Migraines are headaches so severe that the World Health Organisation regards them as a form of temporary disability. A throbbing, often unilateral headache lasts from several hours to days and may be accompanied by nausea or a combination of photophobia and phonophobia. In ~20% of cases it is preceded by an aura. Estimated to afflict 15% of Australians, migraines vary considerably in characteristics but are identifiable by internationally classified criteria. The causes of migraine are thought to include both cerebrovascular and neuronal mechanisms to which individuals are genetically or hormonally predisposed. Women are 2-3 times as susceptible as men, particularly during menstruation and perimenopausally, when migraine without aura may result from sudden changes in circulating estrogen, other hormones or prostaglandins. Hormone replacement therapy or phytoestrogen supplementation may help in some cases, although the evidence is weak and mechanisms are unclear. 

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Feasibility and acceptability of a personalised healthy diet versus a ketogenic diet in reducing migraine frequency and severity
Project Grant
Researchers:

Prof Clare Collins, Neil Spratt, Rebecca Williams, Megan Rollo

Description:

Migraine is common with 1 in 5 Australian women and 1 in 10 men regularly experiencing migraine at same stage in their lifetime. Migraines can start in childhood or adolescence but have a peak prevalence around the age of 35 to 45 years. It can be severely debilitating, often requiring time off school and work, and adversely impacting on daily activities and quality of life.

Currently, despite individuals commonly reporting dietary triggers for migraine (e.g. cheese, chocolate, alcohol or other specific foods), no dietary advice is given to those with migraine as part of usual treatment. Our review of research evidence suggests specific nutritional approaches could help manage headaches and indicates this warrants careful evaluation in a randomised controlled trial. 

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Prevention of type-1 diabetes induced neurocognitive deficits by modulating the plasticity of cerebrovascular function: a pilot
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr Rachel Wong, Dr Ryu Takechi, Prof Peter Howe, Dr Matthew Albrecht

Description:

Owing to better therapies, patients with type 1 diabetes (T1D) are living longer and are now a unique population that has been little studied. Differing from type 2 diabetes (T2D), the onset of T1D is usually juvenile, but it is increasingly diagnosed in adulthood, requiring immediate insulin therapy. Regardless, T1D and T2D share a common sequelae of blood vessel damage and accelerated cognitive decline. Even children and adolescents with T1D display early declines in executive function and short-term working memory and impaired growth and plasticity of brain tissues, thereby compromising learning in school.

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Novel risk markers to improve risk profiling for diabetic foot complications
Project Grant
Researchers:

A/Prof Vivienne Chuter, Dr Peta Tehan, Dr Martin Spink, Dr Fiona Hawke

Description:

Diabetes is the leading cause of non-traumatic lower limb amputation and is associated with a life-time incidence of foot ulcer of up to 25%. In Australia approximately 56 000 people are affected by diabetic foot ulcers every year. Foot ulcer development precedes amputation in 85% of all lower limb amputation cases and amputation itself is associated with a 50%, five year mortality rate. Seventy Australians undergo a diabetes-related lower limb or foot amputation every week. Recent estimates suggest that diabetic foot ulcers and amputations cost the Australian healthcare system over $600 million annually.

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Left atrium volume and deformation in preterm infants
Project Grant
Researchers:
Description:

The left atrium (LA) is one of the four chambers of the heart. Its primary roles are to act as a holding chamber for blood returning from the lungs and to act as a pump to transport blood to the left ventricle of the heart, after which the blood flows to the body.

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EMCR MRSP Equipment: Physical Activity monitoring equipment
Equipment Grant
Researchers:

Dr Narelle Eather, Dr Jordan Smith, Dr Nick Riley, Dr Drew Miller

Description:

15 x ActiGraphTM GT9X Bluetooth enabled Link accelerometers - research grade monitors used for assessing free-living physical activity.

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Gene Pulser Xcell Total System
Equipment Grant
Researchers:
Description:

The Gene Pulser Xcell system is a modular electroporation system for transfecting every cell type.

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Emlyn and Jennie Thomas Postgraduate Medical Research Scholarship
Scholarship
Researchers:
Global SYMPLICITY Registry
Project Grant
Researchers:
Embedding the DADEE Program in local communities: Sustainability through innovative partnerships
Project Grant
Researchers:

Prof Phil MorganProf David Lubans, Dr Myles Young, Dr Alyce Barnes, Dr Narelle Eather, Ms Emma Pollock

Information Based Medicine
Information Based Medicine
Information Based Medicine

Development of a chemotherapy response/resistance test for ovarian cancer
Project Grant
Researchers:
Description:

Ovarian cancer is usually treated with a chemotherapy drug called cisplatin which works by damaging DNA so much that the tumour cells die. Cisplatin is used to treat a wide variety of tumours in addition to ovarian cancer including, testicular, head and neck and non-small cell lung cancer. In addition, it forms the basis of most combined treatment regimes (where 2 or more drugs are used in combination). The downside to cisplatin is that it is extremely toxic and although some patients benefit substantially from treatment, a large proportion suffer the toxic side effects without any therapeutic benefit. We are aiming to develop a personal test to determine if cisplatin is likely to be effective for an individual’s ovarian cancer, so that the toxic side effects can be avoided if the drug is not going to work.

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The effect of common Multiple Sclerosis treatments on Epigenetic markers in patients
Project Grant
Researchers:
Description:

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is the most common non-traumatic neurological disorder that affects young adults.  MS is a chronic, life-long, disease which has no cure. A recent study from Newcastle describes a doubling of the incidence and prevalence of MS in the last 15 years. In patients with MS, the protective layer that coats the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord (called myelin) is damaged by the body’s own immune system. This damage hinders the ability of the nerve cells to transmit signals. MS is progressive, unpredictable and varies extensively between individuals, resulting in a broad spectrum of symptoms including physical, mental, and psychiatric problems depending on which areas of the brain or spinal cord are affected.

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Pregnancy & Reproduction Research
Pregnancy & Reproduction Research
Pregnancy & Reproduction

Haggarty Foundation HMRI Research Fellowship in Stillbirth
Fellowship
Gomeroi gaaynggal - Safety and Wellbeing
Project Grant
Researchers:
Description:

The Provider will implement the ‘Gomeroi Gayaanggal’ Project to provide a holistic approach to social and emotional wellbeing within the Indigenous communities of Tamworth and Walgett, and will add Taree and Forster in Stage 2. 

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Gomeroi gaaynggal Community ArtsHealth
Project Grant
Researchers:
Description:

Funding to support the Gomeroi gaaynggal Community ArtsHealth running in Tamworth - covers art consumables which brings participants into the centre to participate in health screening and research being conducted.

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Is placental aging the key to understanding, predicting and preventing stillbirth?
Fellowship
Researchers:
Description:

Globally, nearly 1% of all pregnancies end in stillbirth (3 million each year). The magnitude and gravity of stillbirth is such that in 2011 an entire Lancet series was devoted to it and urged a strong call to action, concluding that greater knowledge of causes is a key health priority. In Australia, stillbirth accounts for around 70% of all perinatal deaths (7 deaths per day) and is nearly 40 times more common than Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Existing knowledge has had no impact on reducing the stillbirth rate, and a 2013 BMJ review of the UK data on stillbirth concluded ""preventive strategies need to focus on improving antenatal detection."

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The prediction and prevention of hypoglycaemia using insulin suspension in a randomised controlled trial (PLGM study)
Project Grant
Researchers:

A/Prof Bruce King

Preventing oxidative stress-mediated infertility through the targeted disruption of lipoxygenase enzymes
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr Elizabeth Bromfield, Prof Brett Nixon

Description:

Infertility has become a critical worldwide health burden, with 1 in 6 couples currently seeking the help of assisted reproductive technology (ART) in Australia. However, the consequences of infertility go beyond childlessness with the failure to conceive now documented as a leading cause of marital violence, psychological abuse, and economic instability. With an estimated 80 million individuals experiencing the weight of this problem globally there is an overwhelming need for novel preventative strategies that will safeguard the fertility of current and future generations.

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Creating positive changes in mental health of Indigenous women through a pilot ArtsHealth program
Project Grant
Researchers:
Description:

The Problem: In a recent study by CI Rae and Mah, the mental health of a cohort of Indigenous women during pregnancy showed extremely high rates of depression and anxiety in participants, with 31% of the cohort reporting evidence of these symptoms at least one visit during their pregnancy. Factors that enhance susceptibility to stress include personality traits, early life experiences and resilience.

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Jennie Thomas Medical Research Travel Grant
Travel Grant
Researchers:

Ms Jacinta Martin

Description:

The purpose of my proposed travel is primarily to attend the international conference and early career seminar series entitled ‘The Gordon Research Conference of Mammalian Fertilisation’ to be held on the 28th July to the 3rd of August 2018 in Tuscany, Italy.

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Jennie Thomas Travel Award
Travel Grant
Researchers:

Ms Bettina Mihalas

Description:

The primary purpose for which the funds would be used is to attend a developmental biology technical course and seminar series at the Cold Spring Harbour Laboratory (CSHL) held each June at Cold Spring Harbour, New York in the United States.

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Establishing a nanoparticle development facility at HMRI
Fellowship
Researchers:
Description:

This proposal seeks funding to establish a Targeted Nanoparticle Development Facility within the Hunter Medical Research Institute. We also seek funding for a post-doctoral scientist who will use the technology to develop novel diagnostics that will identify cancer metastases from thyroid and ovarian cancers, locate other endocrine cancers and importantly develop new ways of treating ovarian and thyroid cancer through improved delivery of existing chemotherapy drugs.

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Improving glucose control and health outcomes for people with diabetes
Project Grant
Researchers:

Conjoint A/Prof Bruce King, Dr Carmel Smart

Description:

Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is the fastest growing chronic disease affecting Australian children. T1D is a lifelong condition where the body is not able to produce insulin which controls blood glucose. People with T1D must follow a strict daily regime of blood glucose testing, insulin administration and careful dietary management to control their blood glucose levels. Good blood glucose control is critically important in preventing life- threatening complications of diabetes.

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Stillbirth biobank freezer
Equipment Grant
Researchers:
Testing Kidney Health in Gomeroi Gaaynggal Indigenous Mothers & Babies
Project Grant
Researchers:
Description:

Gomeroi gaaynggal (GG) a research and ArtsHealth program based in Tamworth & Walgett, is working to improve the health outcomes for Aboriginal women and their children. In particular, 26% of their clients have evidence of underlying kidney disease.

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Bioline Platform Rocker, Pipettes and PC
Equipment Grant
Researchers:
Description:

Equipment for use in the lab

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Clinical Testing in Pregnancy - Gomeroi gaaynggal Program
Project Grant
Researchers:

Public Health Research
Public Health Research
Public Health

Reducing the impact of back pain in miners
Project Grant
Description:

Can miners at risk of long-term low back pain be identified and provided with a low back pain prevention intervention to prevent the development of persistant pain co-existing lifestyle health risks?

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MM Sawyer Postgraduate Scholarship in Cancer Research
Scholarship
Researchers:

Ms Natalie Dodd, L/Prof Rob Sanson-Fisher, Dr Mariko Carey, Dr Elise Mansfield, Dr Chris Oldmeadow

Description:

Improving uptake of colorectal cancer screening among primary care attendees

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Greaves Family Top Up Scholarship
Scholarship
Researchers:

Ms Jacklyn Jackson, A/Prof Mark McEvoy, Dr Amanda Patterson

Description:

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) claims the life of one Australian every 12 minutes and is the leading cause of death worldwide. Statistics from the Hunter New England Local Health District show that this region very much follows this alarming trend.

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Greaves Family Top Up Scholarship
Scholarship
Researchers:

Ms Jessica Ferguson, Professor Manohar Garg

Description:

Heart disease is highly prevalent worldwide and remains the leading cause of death. It is well established that high cholesterol is a major modifiable risk factor for heart disease because left unmanaged it contributes to blocking of arteries causing stroke, heart attacks and haemorrhages, however, this is only one side of the story. Chronic low-grade inflammation goes hand-in-hand with high cholesterol as a silent, but major contributor to the development of heart disease by means of fatty plaque formation in the arteries.

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Greaves Family Top Up Scholarship
Scholarship
Researchers:

Mr Tesfay Feyissa, Dr Melissa Harris, Professor Deborah Loxton

Description:

In the last decade, there has been improvement in life expectancy of people living with HIV due to improved drug therapy and care and support programs. However, along with better prospects for a healthy life, comes the desire to have children. Women living with HIV who intend to have children need information and services focused on safe conception strategies while those who do not desire a child need access to effective family planning methods. 

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A randomised controlled trial to assess the impact of a uniform intervention on girl’s physical activity at school.
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr Nicole Nathan, A/Prof Luke Wolfenden, Dr Rachel Sutherland, Dr Sze Lin Yoong, Prof John Wiggers

Description:

Children’s participation in at least 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) per day is essential for their healthy growth and development[ and the prevention of future chronic disease. Despite this, international research indicates that many school-aged children, in particularly girls, are not sufficiently active. It is estimated that girls are between 17-19% less active than boys with differences beginning from as young as 8 years. Improving physical activity during childhood, particularly among girls, has been identified as a public health priority.

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Jennie Thomas Medical Research Travel Grant
Travel Grant
Researchers:

Viruses, Infections / Immunity, Vaccines & Asthma
Viruses, Infections / Immunity, Vaccines & Asthma
Viruses, Infections / Immunity, Vaccines & Asthma

Mary Sawyer PostGraduate Scholarship in Cancer Research
Scholarship
Researchers:

Ms Georgia Carroll, Dr Simon Keely, Dr Peter Pockney

Description:

Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the commonest cancer that affects both men and women in Australia. Approximately one third of patients diagnosed with the disease die from it within five years of diagnosis. Most of these deaths occur from metastatic disease. Many of these cancers develop in patients who had no apparent metastatic disease when they were first treated with what is intended to be curative resection.

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Does bronchoconstriction in asthma impair anti-viral immunity and promote airway inflammation
Fellowship
Description:

My research examines the causes and consequences of asthma attacks. As recent events in Melbourne have shown, severe attacks of asthma still kill in Australia and my aim is to understand what happens during these attacks, and treat them better. We will investigate how airway narrowing that happens during an asthma attack not only leads to worse asthma symptoms and in some circumstances death, but also has other effects.

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Emlyn and Jennie Thomas Postgraduate Medical Research Scholarship
Scholarship
Researchers:

Ms Bridie Goggins, Dr Simon Keely, Prof Darryl Knight, Dr Jay Horvat

Investigation of the role of mechanical forces in respiratory disease
Project Grant
Investigating the role of microbiomes in COPD
Project Grant
Researchers:
Description:

Smoking leads to lung inflammation that causes emphysema - a major health problem in Australia. Emphysema progressively declines even if smoking stops and there are no treatments. Recently changes in gut microbes have been linked to inducing or protecting against inflammation in the gut and lung. Thus we may be able to control inflammation by modifying these gut microbiomes. We may be able to ingest specific microbes or use specific antibiotics or other factors as new treatments for emphysema.

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Fellowship - Inflammatory Mechanisms of Airways disease
Fellowship
Description:

Post Doctoral Fellow (1.0FTE) + Research Assistant (0.5FTE)

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Equal Futures Award
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr Kavita Prabeja

Description:

If successful, the funds will partly cover up for my enrolment in advanced or accelerated leadership program offered through The National Excellence in Educational Leadership Initiative (NEELI), Women & Leadership Australia (WLA). The program elements emphasizes on leadership foundation, interpersonal skills, leadership challenges and peer coaching through self-directed learning and online sessions, including an interactive online community portal to engage in effective discussions and feedback.

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Equal Futures Award
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr Emma Beckett

Description:

Oceanic Leadership in Nutrition Platform training program for ECRs

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Plasma Torque Teno Virus load as a novel tool to monitor intensity of immunosuppression in renal transplant recipients
Project Grant
Researchers:
Description:

A key problem with kidney transplantation is the potential for the patient’s immune system to reject the kidney. Hence all transplant patients are given medications to suppress their immune systems. If their immune system is too suppressed, patients are at risk of severe infection; if it is not suppressed enough, they are at risk of rejecting the kidney. Our current methods for monitoring the degree of immune suppression are crude and episodes of both severe infection and organ rejection are common. There is currently no simple and practical blood test which quantifies how suppressed the immune system is. Such a blood test would allow us to get the doses of immunosuppressive drugs just right in each patient, using an individually tailored approach. 

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Understanding how diet modulates the gut microbiome in asthmatic children
Project Grant
Researchers:
Description:

The burden of asthma in children is unacceptably high. Asthma is the most common chronic childhood disease, affecting more than 10% of Australian children. Inhaled steroids are the most effective therapy for controlling asthma day to day, however, they do not prevent many acute attacks of asthma and many patients and carers are concerned about unwanted side effects, which reduces adherence to prescribed medications. Therefore, alternative strategies for managing asthma in children are urgently needed.

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Precision medicine in Cystic Fibrosis: A personalised test to target individual mutations to specific CFTR modulators
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr Gerard Kaiko, Peter Wark

Description:

Cystic Fibrosis (CF) is the most common life threatening genetic condition in Australia and affects many organs, including the lungs, pancreas, and the gastrointestinal tract. Although improved treatments have seen life expectancy significantly extended, the average life expectancy of a CF patient in Australia is still only 38. Therefore, there is an urgent need for new therapies tailored to individual CF patient mutations.

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Analysis of luminal bacteria at the site of colorectal anastomoses and their association with anastomotic leaks
Project Grant
Researchers:

A/Prof Simon Keely, Dr Peter Pockney, A/Prof Stephen Smith, A/Prof Ian Grainge, Dr Andrea Mathe

Description:

Anastomotic leak (AL), which is when the join between two segments of bowel fails in the immediate post­operative period, is the most feared major complication of colorectal surgery. This surgery is performed as a primary treatment for colorectal cancer and in 70% of patients with inflammatory bowel disease. AL rates are between 3% and 10% of surgeries, and mortality rates up to 39%. Few improvements have been made in the rate of leak in the past 20 years, despite the best efforts of surgeons around the globe.

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Jennie Thomas Medical Research Travel Grant
Travel Grant
Researchers:

Ms Nikita Panicker

Description:

My proposed travel will all be occurring in Europe. First I would first be visiting Heidelberg, Germany, where the European Molecular Biology Laboratory is holding a 6 day course on ‘ Techniques for Mammary Gland Research’, from 4-9 March 2018.

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Mechanisms of inflammatory airways disease
Project Grant
Researchers:
MRSP Equipment Grant
Equipment Grant
Researchers:
Description:

Ussing chamber apparatus to measure barrier ion flux/permeability across multiple tissues in vitro. This includes 4xUSS5SD and USS4SD USSING SYSTEM W/DRAIN, with the EVC4000-4 PRECISION V/I CLAMP 4 CHANNEL voltage/current clamp, 505063 Circulating Water Bath 13L 230V 50HZ, and LAB-TRAX-4 DATA ACQUISITION SYS 4 CHANNEL.

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Nutrition & Asthma
Project Grant
Researchers:
Freezer Racks, pipette, freezer and PC
Equipment Grant
Researchers:

Prof Zsolt Balogh, Dr Gabrielle Briggs, Dr Stephen Smith

Description:

Partial funding for 15x Racks for -80 freezer, multichannel pipette, conventional freezer.

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Software DEXA scanner
Equipment Grant
Researchers:
Description:

The CoreScan application is a software upgrade for the existing Lunar Prodigy Dual Energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) machine located within the clinical trials pod at HMRI.

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Flexivent FX base unit controller and software
Equipment Grant
Researchers:

Dr Jay Horvat, Dr Chantal Donovan, Dr Richard Kim, Dr Shakti Shulka, Dr Prema Nair, Dr Md Atiqur Rahman

Description:

The Baseunit controller extension is required to ventilate the models whilst on the machine and run the new lung function ""maneuvers"" that are required to gather the PFT/FEV data.

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Countess II FL
Equipment Grant
Researchers:

Dr Malcolm Starkey, Dr Adam Collison, Dr Hock Tay, Dr Aniruddh Deshpande, Dr Gang Liu & Dr Jemma Mayall

Description:

The countess II FL is the major component of this equipment and is the core module that enables highly accurate, reproducible and high throughput cell counting. The Countess II reuse slide enables the same slide to be used for an infinite number of experiments and reduces consumable costs associated with individual slides. However, this equipment allows options for users who need individual slides at their own expense. The two EVOS LED Cubes are removable components that allow quantification of fluorescent cells. We have chosen green fluorescent protein and red fluorescent protein as these are the major fluorophores used. However, these can be switched out for other detectors in the future, making it future proof and adaptable to future research needs.

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Jennie Thomas Medical Research Travel Grant
Travel Grant
Researchers:

 David Skerrett-Byrne, Prof Phil Hansbro, Dr Matt Dun