Hunter researchers awarded $6 Million in funding towards Indigenous health, stroke, genetics and fatherhood research

Jul 9 2021

Pictured: The team leading Yarning Up After Stroke project, aiming to reduce to inequality in healthcare for Indigenous Australians living with stroke.

Four Hunter research teams have secured more than $6 million in funding through the Australian Government's Medical Research Future Fund, bolstering HMRI and the University of Newcastle's commitment to better, healthier living within our regions and beyond.

  • $1.6 million awarded to a research team led by Associate Professor Tracy Dudding-Byth to identify genetic modifiers in sufferers of Neurofibromatosis type 1 – a common neurogenetic condition causing potentially disfiguring skin tumours in adults. There is currently no way to predict tumour severity. There is currently no way of predicting whether a person with NF1 will have <100 or thousands of cutaneous neurofibromas. This international three-year research project will include a large genome-wide association study to identify genetic modifiers to help understand disease variability and characterise potential treatment pathways.


  • $1.52 million awarded to a research team led by Professor Chris Levi to evaluate ischemic stroke interventions. Ischemic stroke (also referred to as brain ischemia or cerebral ischemia) is caused by a blockage in an artery that supplies blood to the brain.  Endovascular thrombectomy (EVT) is routinely used for ischemic stroke patients and provides one of the largest treatment effects in medicine, however has only ever been only offered to a third of stroke patients via foundational trials. Through this four-year program, researchers will carry out trials to address large knowledge gaps and deliver practice-changing data.


  • $485,000 awarded to a research team led by Professor Chris Levi to improve the long-term recovery and survivorship of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait people living with stroke. The two-year Yarning Up After Stroke project aims to reduce the inequity in healthcare by identifying the needs and wants of Indigenous people, producing a co-designed, evidence and strengths-based conversation tool to support stroke recovery and determining the effect this tool has on disability and quality of life of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait people living with stroke.


SMS4dads support service secures regional rollout 

Building on an impressive trajectory of parental intervention, the unique SMS4dads service has been successful in securing more than $2.5 million to support new fathers in rural and remote areas of Australia. 

SMS4dads engages and connects with men as they transition to fatherhood, delivering texts linked to online resources addressing father-infant and father-partner relationships and regularly checking on their wellbeing and mental health. SMS4dads addresses the lack of information for new fathers in rural areas and the difficulty accessing parenting and mental health services outside of the major cities. 

The project will target all fathers living outside the capital cities but will provide additional resources for three underserviced population groups: partners of new mothers with mental illness; young Indigenous fathers; and fathers whose partners have miscarried or where the infant has died.