Record-breaking boost for children’s research projects

Oct 24 2013

The Hunter Children’s Research Foundation (HCRF) awarded a record-breaking $100,000 in grants and prizes at its annual awards presentation at the HMRI Building tonight.

Marking HCRF’s 18th year, their overall fundraising is now approaching $1.2m supporting children’s research through the HMRI.

“2013 has been a record year for HCRF with $50,000 in grants funded in May and another $100,000 at our awards night,” HCRF Chairperson Janelle Shakespeare said.

“It was great to see a variety of grants being funded in important areas including nutrition and obesity, respiratory infection, thyroid childhood physical education and growth.”

The awards funded four $25,000 youth project grants covering a wide range of children’s disease areas.

Dr Vicki Maltby, Dr Patricia Crock and Professor Rodney Scott will be investigating the development of a diagnostic test to help diagnose and treat thyroid disease by characterising serum miRNAs. This will be the first study of miRNAs in children and the first study of serum miRNAs in thyroid disease.

Associate Professor David Lubans received a grant for his study in the evaluation of a multi-component intervention to reduce screen-time and sedentary lifestyles in adolescents. The study will examine the impact that excessive use of televisions and computers have on adolescents’ psychological and physical development.

Elizabeth Kepreotes will use her grant to explore how warm humidified oxygen delivered via a high-flow nasal-prong will improve bronchiolitis in infants. Elizabeth hopes this oxygen delivery system will reduce time on oxygen, treatment failures and hospitalisations.

Finally, Professor Phil Morgan was awarded a grant for his project in engaging fathers to improve physical activity levels and social-emotional well-being with their daughters. By the age of 13, around 95 per cent of girls throughout the world do not meet the physical activity recommendations. Professor’s Morgan’s study will look at developing a community-based intervention that will engage girls and their fathers in physical activity and develop the knowledge and movement skills for lifelong participation.

Media contact: Ellie McNamara, (02) 4042 0588.

HMRI is a partnership between the University of Newcastle, Hunter New England Health and the community.