Posted 15 December 2023

New funding to tackle Australia’s toughest health problems
Confocal microscope image of a network of human small blood vessels (red) formed in the laboratory, and transplanted into a mouse (blue small blood vessels). From Kong AM et al. Acta Biomaterialia, 2019 Aug; 94:281-294.

SVI researchers have been awarded more than $7.7 million for research into cancer, liver disease, heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

The NHMRC Ideas Grants are awarded to Australia’s most innovative research and six SVI researchers will apply cutting edge techniques and ground breaking approaches to target some of the most significant diseases affecting Australians today.

Potential new treatments fatty liver disease

Associate Professor Jon Oakhill has been awarded more than $1.16 million to test a potential new treatment for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Professor Oakhill’s research focuses of the activation of the protein AMPK in the liver without it activating in other organs thereby releasing a major block to progress AMPK drugs to clinical trials in humans.

A new approach to fighting drug resistance in ovarian cancer

Associate Professor Elaine Sanij has been awarded $761,355 to test new and emerging and emerging treatments for drug-resistant ovarian cancer. Her aim is to discover effective treatment options for the 1800 Australian women and 300,000 women worldwide diagnosed with ovarian cancer every year.

Targeting a potential cause of blood cell cancer

Professor Louise Purton has been awarded more than $1.66 million to unravel the cause of changes in the production of blood-forming cells which can lead to complications including blood cell cancers. Professor Purton will focus on the protein, Hoxa1 in order to better understand how this protein causes the blood cell cancer which could then lead to the identification of better therapies.

Improving the production of blood cells in bone marrow

Professor Purton has also been awarded more than $1.66 million to further her cutting-edge research into identifying the changes occurring in one of the non-blood cell types in the blood cell-forming process that results in reduced production of red cells and platelets. The next step in her research is to determine how this occurs and identify therapies to improve the production of these blood cell types in cancer patients and patients with blood cell diseases.

Next generation diagnostics and quality of life in chronic conditions

Associate Professor Wayne Crismani has been awarded $797,705 for a project that focuses on improving the diagnosis and management of chronic diseases, particularly Fanconi anaemia (FA), a rare genetic disorder that affects several body systems. Associate Professor Crismani is investigating the mechanism of androgen therapy in FA to find therapies that are more effective and affordable with fewer side effects for women.

Advancing new therapies for Friedreich ataxia heart disease

Dr Jarmon Lees has been awarded $788,041 to expand his ground breaking heart organoid research with a goal to identifying two new therapies for the devastating genetic condition, Friedreich ataxia. Heart disease is currently the most common cause of death in people with Friedreich ataxia and there are currently very few available treatment options and no cure.

A potential new treatment for type 2 diabetes

Dr Kim Loh has been awarded $922,820 to investigate whether the newly identified molecule, SIK3, which inhibits insulin release, can be targeted as a potential new treatment for type 2 diabetes.