Two Hunter Medical Research Institute (HMRI) researchers have been named as one of 39 AMP Tomorrow Makers from across Australia for 2021.
HMRI and University of Newcastle researcher Dr Myles Young and HMRI researcher and University of Newcastle PhD student Dr Joel Petit have received grants of $55,000 and $57,000 respectively to further their research.
Dr Young will use the funds to help him to make a suite of men’s physical and mental health programs available to more men, particularly those in regional and remote areas.
He is creating fully online versions of several interlinking men’s health programs he has developed with colleagues* at the University of Newcastle and HMRI. These programs include the Self-Help Exercise and Diet using Information Technology (SHED-IT) program, Workplace POWER, and SHED-IT Recharge, which specifically targets men with low mood.
He said the programs give men tools to feel mentally well, lose weight, become more active and improve their diet without having to eat like a rabbit or completely overhaul their lifestyle.
Dr Petit will use his funding for his research on a test to pick up early indications of bowel cancer and minimise recurrence.
Having lost two young friends to the disease he has a strong personal motivation to develop a blood test for colorectal cancer.
He believes his blood test could also reduce the number of time-consuming and often cost-prohibitive colonoscopies. That’s because the test has the potential to be a less off-putting and be a more effective alternative to current screening tests.
Dr Young is a Lecturer in the University of Newcastle’s School of Psychology and Priority Research Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition. In 2019, he was named Bupa Health Foundation’s national emerging health researcher of the year.
Dr Petit is health practitioner currently completing his PhD in Medical Genetics at the University of Newcastle as well as undertaking general surgical training with the Hunter New England Local Health District. In 2016 he also completed his Master’s in Medicine (Paediatrics/Pain Medicine). His research, based at HMRI focuses on novel circulating tumour DNA biomarkers for the detection of early-stage colorectal cancer.**
Both men thanked AMP and the AMP Foundation for their support. AMP’s Tomorrow Fund offers $1 million in grants annually to Australians who are doing great things.
* The broader research team who have supported the development of these programs include Prof Philip Morgan, Prof Robin Callister, Prof Clare Collins, Prof Frances Kay-Lambkin, Prof Brian Kelly and Mr Ryan Drew from the University of Newcastle.
** Dr Petit has received support from his supervisors Laureate Professor Rodney Scott and Dr Peter Pockney from the University of Newcastle.
HMRI is a partnership between the University of Newcastle, Hunter New England Health and the community.