The Hunter Children’s Research Foundation (HCRF) has continued it’s 22-year tradition of supporting vital research into illnesses affecting babies, children and adolescents, with three new $25,000 grants announced at its annual Awards Night on October 18.
Respiratory scientist Dr Adam Collison received funding for his project title ‘Immunological mechanisms in the primary prevention of asthma’, which is exploring the link between immune cell function and lung function in the development of asthma in early life.
Members of Dr Collison’s research team have previously trialled a highly innovative approach to managing asthma during pregnancy using a biomarker known as FeNO for personalised asthma medication adjustments.
Now, for the first time, he will investigate if children born to mothers with FeNO-guided management have altered immune function at birth and/or at 4 years of age. It may lead to a major breakthrough towards a primary prevention strategy for asthma.
The second recipient was paediatric clinician Dr Aniruddh Deshpande, who’s pilot study is aiming to improve the management of bladder dysfunction and chronic recurrent urinary tract infections in children through manipulation of microbiota.
Urinary issues affect 5-10% of healthy, otherwise normal children and significantly disrupts their day-to-day life and learning.
This pioneering project will bring together the bladder clinic expertise at the John Hunter Children’s Hospital with the latest microbiome and immunology experts and analysis facilities available through HMRI.
Dr Alice Grady received the third grant for a pilot trial assessing the potential impact of an online intervention to improve child dietary intake in childcare.
In Australia, over 660,000 children attend childcare services where they consume up to two-thirds of their daily energy intake. As such, childcare services play a crucial role in supporting children to eat healthier foods, yet staff report they do have insufficients skills, knowledge and resources.
HCRF’S Community Awards of Research Excellence (CARE) recipients were also announced.
Professor Phil Morgan was nominated for his outstanding mentorship to a large number of physical activity PhD students, nutrition expert Associate Professor Luke Wolfenden received the award for Achievement in Research, while the Special Achievement in Quality Improvement award went to the Paediatric Paliative Care team at John Hunter Hospital.
Award sponsors include JSA Group, Newcastle Permanent, NIB and The Wests Group.