$400,000 in funding to fuel new medical research

Mar 21 2013

Medical researchers from the University of Newcastle and Hunter New England Health received a $400,000 injection tonight when the Hunter Medical Research Institute (HMRI) announced its latest project grant recipients.

Asthma, cancer, diabetes, infertility, mental health, myopia, pregnancy and stroke were among a raft of conditions and diseases covered by the 20 research studies that were awarded seed funding.

HMRI Director Professor Michael Nilsson said the remarkable depth and breadth of research being conducted under HMRI’s umbrella was borne out by the wide variety of grant applications.

“Medical research is a fiercely competitive business because the funding pot can extend only so far, but competition brings out the absolute best in the brightest of people,” Professor Nilsson said.

“With HMRI’s strong focus on delivering patient-centric, translational research, I’m hopeful that the project results will soon flow through to tangible community health benefits.”

The new Chairman of the HMRI Board, Glenn Turner, noted that the net contribution from health research is valued at around $2.3 billion per year in Australia. By 2045, the annual economic gains in wellbeing are estimated to be over $100 billion for women and $270 billion for men.

“Research by our research community, within the community and for the community …That is what the Hunter Medical Research Institute is all about,” Mr Turner said. “HMRI is in great shape for future growth as we have the platform to become a genuine Tier 1 national institute with international recognition.”

Sporting events were prominent among the grants, with the Sparke Helmore/NBN Television Triathlon, Newcastle-Dungog Charity Bike Ride, Tainn Hunter softball classic and VBD Golf Day all providing funding.

The Pink Frangipani Ball afforded two grants for breast cancer researchers Professor Rob Sanson-Fisher and Professor John Forbes respectively.

Funding from the Newcastle Gastronomic Lunch grant went to a neonatal respiratory project led by Associate Professor Adam Buckmaster, while prostate cancer researcher Professor Jim Denham received support from the Keith Tulloch Wine Dinner.

“Most of us will know someone who is suffering one or more of these illnesses. Relief relies on results, and results rely on donor funding, so we thank all those who supported us,” Professor Nilsson said.