Western Australian Researchers Secure $15m in Gov. Grants as Life Sciences Sector Grows in Perth Area

Western Australian Researchers Secure $15m in Gov. Grants as Life Sciences Sector Grows in Perth Area TrialsiteN

Western Australian life sciences researchers are on the move having just received $15 million in funding via the National Health and Medical Research Council Ideas Grants. Recently announced by Minister for Health, the Hon. Greg Hunt, MP, a number of studies commence including UWA Professor Juli Coffin, also an investigator with Telethon Kids Institute, leading a $2.5 million effort to work with local Aboriginal youth. Other researchers cover a range of topics from the coordination of a toxico-surveillance system of illicit drug use in Australia to a study predicting abdominal aortic aneurysm disease progression.

Western Australia on the Move

An incredibly vast area, this state includes the entire western third of the country. Consisting of primarily arid outback (spectacular scenery and nature), the population centers in the fertile southwest corner, home to the Margaret River wine region and the riverside capital Perth. Internationally recognized for its high quality of living, Perth is consistently ranked in the top 20 cities of the world for livability. 

The Government of Western Australia has ambitious plans to transform the life sciences sector in this region into a world leader. With burgeoning activity in health and medical innovation in this vast state, growth in medical research, genetic research, phenomics and medical technology as well as digital health continues, leading to what has been the fastest sector growth in the country. From 2017 to 2019, Western Australia experienced life sciences sector growth of 50 percent represented by the total number of organizations operating in the region.

A new “Industry Reference Group” formed will support growth initiatives; they are chaired by Chief Scientist of WA Peter Klinken and includes other experts such as Dr. Michael Winlo of Emerald Clinics, Dr. Katharine Giles of OncoRes Medical, Ms. Liddy McCall of Yuuwa Capital and Mr. Abdul Ekram of Austrade.

The Research Grants

TrialSite includes the list of grants recently published by the University of Western Australia in Perth.

Chief investigator: Professor Julianne Coffin (UWA/Telethon Kids Institute)
Professor Donna Cross, Professor Helen Milroy, Professor Cheryl Kickett-Tucker, Mr Rob McPhee, Ms Lesley Nelson, Mr John Jacky, Ms Abby-Rose Cox
Project:  Working with horses to promote the wellbeing of Aboriginal youth: an experiential learning approach for the Kimberley
Funding: $2,516,797

Chief investigator: Professor Daniel Fatovich (UWA/Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research)
Doctor Jessamine Soderstrom, Professor Andrew Dawson, Associate Professor Sam Alfred, Associate Professor Shaun Greene, Doctor Katherine Isoardi, Doctor Laura Pulbrook, Doctor David McCutcheon, Doctor Francois Oosthuizen, Professor Nadine Ezard
Project: Drugs Network of Australia: a coordinated toxico-surveillance system of illicit drug use in Australia to enable rapid detection and harm reduction responses via an early warning system
Funding: $3,722,730

Chief investigator: Professor Ruth Ganss  (UWA/Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research)
Doctor Anna Johansson-Percival, Doctor Louise Winteringham, Doctor Jiulia Satiaputra
Project: Therapeutic induction of tertiary lymph nodes in cancer
Funding: $995 010

Chief investigator: Winthrop Professor Karol Miller (UWA)
Professor Toby Richards, Professor Paul Maria Parizel, Professor Adam Wittek, Doctor Nicola Gray, Doctor Luke Whiley, Associate Professor Jens Ritter
Project: Biomechanics meets Phenomics: towards understanding and predicting abdominal aortic aneurysm disease progression
Funding: $1,324,897

Chief investigator: Dr Gianina Ravenscroft (UWA/Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research)
Associate Professor Robert Bryson-Richardson, Professor Nigel Laing, Professor Sandra Cooper, Doctor Mark Davis,  Professor Monique Ryan, Professor Phillipa Lamont, Doctor Macarena Cabrera-Serrano
Project: Novel genomic approaches to identify the missing genetics underlying skeletal muscle disease
Funding: $1,935,964

Chief investigator: Professor Daniel Green (UWA)
Doctor Andrew Haynes, Associate Professor Joanne McVeigh, Doctor Louise Naylor, Professor Graham Hillis, Professor Keith George
Project: Identifying the optimal age to apply physical activity interventions to improve heart health
Funding: $852,000

Chief investigator: Dr Benjamin Mullin (UWA)
Associate Professor Elin Grundberg, Associate Professor Kun Zhu, Doctor Jordana Bell, Associate Professor Brent Richards
Project: Analysis of the osteoclast methylome for characterisation of epigenetic mechanisms underlying metabolic bone disease
Funding: $299,018

Chief investigator: Dr Lea-Ann Kirkham (UWA/Telethon Kids Institute)
Associate Professor Peter Richmond, Doctor Alma Fulurija
Project: First-in-human evaluation of a novel immunobiotic to prevent respiratory infection
Funding: $1,180,080

Chief investigator: Professor Livia Hool (UWA)
Professor Filip Van Petegem, Doctor Evan Ingley, Doctor Helena Viola
Project: Integrating biology and medicine to develop 3D-structure guided drug design for treatment of cardiovascular disease 
Funding: $978,832

Chief investigator: Dr. Aron Chakera (UWA/Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research)
Associate Professor Timothy Inglis, Dr Kieran Mulroney, Ms Angela Jacques, Professor Suzanne Robinson
Project: Culture-independent microbiology: reducing delays in the diagnosis of severe infections and detection of antimicrobial resistance from days to hours
Funding: $949,589

Chief investigator: Associate Professor Kathy Fuller (UWA)
Professor Wendy Erber, Doctor Henry Hui, Professor Jan Dickinson
Project: Precision molecular diagnostics of single cells by imaging flow cytometry
Funding: $875,110