Latest news and stories


Older editions of Tracker, Media releases and RAOs are available on the National Library's Australian Government Web Archive.

Motivated to repair insulating system of the brain

Dr David Gonsalvez heads up a laboratory focused on how glia, the non-neuronal cells in the brain and spinal cord, develop, contribute to neuronal plasticity and respond following injury. David’s lab also focuses on identifying therapeutic targets that may promote the repair of the nervous system in autoimmune diseases such as Multiple Sclerosis (MS).

  • Video
  • 8 June 2020
Professor Sudha Rao

Talented women can keep pursuing their research

'What I really like about the NHMRC system is that it is a fantastic scheme for women in science.' Professor Sudha Rao discusses her research into how T cells (or immune cells) regulate themselves when looking at breast cancer. 

  • Video
  • 1 June 2020
Associate Professor Leonie Quinn

Using a fly to understand cancer genetics and biology

In 2016 Associate Professor Leonie Quinn relocated to The John Curtin School of Medical Research (ANU, Canberra) to establish the Quinn Group - Cancer Models in the ACRF Department of Cancer Biology and Therapeutics. Associate Professor Quinn is trying to understand how brain cancer develops by using a genetic model through a fly. She hopes to use this information to develop new treatments.   

  • Video
  • 1 June 2020

$3.65 million for international research collaborations to improve public health in built environments

The Australian Government is investing $3.65 million in five ground-breaking public health research projects.

  • Media release
  • 25 May 2020

Game changer through a new vaccine for Rotavirus

Professor Julie Bines from Murdoch Children's Research Institute is doing some inspiring work, developing the RV3-BB rotavirus vaccine. 'Funding for this research from the very early days has become very critical and NHMRC has provided much of that critical funding through the course of this project'. Listen to Professor Bines' story below.

  • Video
  • 24 May 2020

Professor Ross Hannan: Detective in cancer research

Professor Hannan from the John Curtin School of Medical Research is an internationally recognised laboratory scientist, whose work on ribosome biogenesis has led to new treatment paradigms in cancer, centred on drugs that activate nucleolar stress. Professor Ross Hannan is a great detective of cancer research—finding and developing new cancer treatments for patients. Watch his story in the video below.

  • Video
  • 30 April 2020
Professor Emily Banks

Difference in research through prevention with Professor Emily Banks

Professor Emily Banks is focused on those unanswered questions around prevention to really make a difference.

  • Video
  • 27 April 2020

Leveraging gluten challenge in coeliac disease to improve its diagnosis

Coeliac disease is a common autoimmune-like illness caused by gluten. The condition affects over 350,000 Australians, causing substantial morbidity, impaired quality of life and increased health care costs.

  • InFocus
  • 25 October 2019

Research aims to make glaucoma treatment easier and more effective

Glaucoma is a leading cause of irreversible blindness worldwide, with an estimated 80 million people predicted to be affected by 2020.

  • InFocus
  • 24 October 2019

Delivering safe and effective medication management technology

Medication errors are widely recognised as a major cause of preventable harm and death worldwide, annually costing some $42B globally and $1.28B in Australia.

  • InFocus
  • 4 October 2019
Car driving on outback road

Improving stroke care in regional and rural Australia

In Australia, there is an excess burden of stroke in regional and rural areas and patients do not have the same access to specialised care as in metropolitan areas.

  • InFocus
  • 26 September 2019

Healthcare key to bridging determinants of health

'Capacity development is something I’m really passionate about and there is definitely a need for it' - Dr Odette Pearson.

  • News
  • 3 June 2019

Joint guideline update ensures best available evidence for the prevention and control of infection in healthcare

The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), in partnership with the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (the Commission), today released the Australian Guidelines for the Prevention and Control of Infection in Healthcare (2019).

  • Media release
  • 30 May 2019

Kidney disease - reporting the right outcomes

An estimated 1 in 10 Australian adults (10%) - about 1.7 million people in 2011 - 12 - had biomedical signs of chronic kidney disease1

  • InFocus
  • 17 January 2019
Dr Yasmine Probst looking at food jar

What is actually contained in our foods?

Dietary change is a significant lifestyle factor in managing the epidemics of obesity and diabetes. Uncovering the details of effective dietary change requires accurate user friendly dietary assessment and advice tools.

  • Video
  • 15 October 2018

Music provides strong connections for people with dementia

Doctor Tamplim is using therapeutic singing groups to support people living with dementia. Music is the glue that brings people together and it’s cementing and supporting existing relationships.

  • Video
  • 11 September 2018

Supporting women to breastfeed

Breastfeeding infants exclusively to around six months, and continuing up to 12 months and beyond as solids foods are introduced, provides clear benefits for both the infant and the mother. Supporting women to continue to breastfeed is key to improving rates of breastfeeding.

  • InFocus
  • 3 August 2018

New technology to spot skin cancer sooner

‘Melanoma is the most common cancer for 15-39 year old Australians—with the highest ‘years of life lost’ of any cancer’1

  • InFocus
  • 30 January 2018

Reducing trips and slips: healthy exercises to prevent falls as we age

Professor Anne Tiedemann’s research aims to develop and evaluate exercise-based programs for preventing falls to promote healthy ageing in older people. Her research aims to determine the barriers, enablers and preferences of older people, so that exercise programs can be implemented more effectively.

  • InFocus
  • 29 January 2018

10 of the best, 10 years on: Reversing the effects of diabetes

Since 2008 NHMRC has funded over $680 million in diabetes research1.

  • InFocus
  • 22 January 2018

Blending disability and Indigenous research

‘The rate of disability among Indigenous Australians is almost twice as high as that among non-Indigenous people'1

  • InFocus
  • 13 December 2017

Bringing innovative research into clinical practice

Now an ear, nose and throat surgeon, Associate Professor Kelvin Kong was destined for health care. Growing up Kelvin and his sisters were always keen to help his mother, a Registered Nurse, whenever she had a one of their mob come around to remove a suture, tend to a cut or get a vaccination.

  • InFocus
  • 13 December 2017
Professor Wayne Tilley

Unlocking the secrets of sex hormones in breast cancer

One in eight Australian women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime and seven women die from the disease each day in Australia1

  • InFocus
  • 31 October 2017

Drilling down: discovering the origins of dental anxiety

Associate Professor Jason Armfield set out to explain the origins of dental fear and to understand why fear of the dentist is a serious psychological problem for many Australians. He developed a ‘dental anxiety scale’ that will help to identify and treat the condition across the world, leading to more people visiting the dentist and better population level oral health.

  • InFocus
  • 24 October 2017

Starving bacteria—beating antibiotic resistance

Motivated by a desire to understand the molecular basis of key biological processes, Professor Abell saw an opportunity to use small molecules that selectively bind to bacterial proteins, as a potential mechanism for limiting bacterial survival.

  • InFocus
  • 29 September 2017

Uncovering salt’s addictive nature

Dr Craig Smith and a team of scientists at the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health’s Addiction Neuroscience Laboratory are investigating one of the receptors in the brain they think are responsible for those seriously rewarding feelings.  Not only does this have the potential to help with obesity but it is closely linked with addictions to opioids such as heroin and could lead to a new group of targeted drugs.

  • InFocus
  • 26 September 2017
Paul Adlard, Dr Victoria Perreau, Dr Feng Chen, Ms Krista Dent, Ms Amelia Sedjahtera, Ms Lydia Gunawan, Ms Lisa Bray and Mrs Kali Perronnes.

Zinc on the brain for healthy aging

‘In Australia, 15 per cent of the population are aged 65+, estimated to grow to 21 per cent (8.4 million) by 20501.’

  • InFocus
  • 20 September 2017

Australia leading the way on Alzheimer’s treatment

By 2036, the total cost of dementia is predicted to increase by 81 per cent to $25.8 billion in Australia1

  • InFocus
  • 15 September 2017
Mary Jane Black and Associate Professor Gurmeet Singh, Professor Wendy Hoy

Protecting premature babies from kidney disease

‘18 per cent of all Indigenous Australian adults have chronic kidney disease—two times as likely as non-Indigenous Australians.’

  • InFocus
  • 7 September 2017
Professor Jackob Najman and his team

Forty years of mental health research

‘One in every ten mothers experience repeated episodes of major depression over their life course—on average, experiencing depression one in every six days of their lives.'

  • InFocus
  • 6 September 2017
Professor Marshall and her team

Saving lives—one vaccine at a time

‘There has been a 73 per cent reduction in children hospitalised from severe chicken pox infection since the introduction of the (varicella) vaccine to the National Immunisation Program in Australia in 2005.'1

  • InFocus
  • 31 August 2017
female speech therapist with a girl

Guiding children through traumatic brain injuries

Professor Morgan is Lead of the Neuroscience of Speech research group at Murdoch Childrens Research Institute (MCRI) and Head of Speech Pathology at the University of Melbourne. She is also one of the guideline developers for MCRI’s first Clinical practice guideline for the management of communication and swallowing disorders following paediatric traumatic brain injury for children 0 to 18 years of age (communication and swallowing guideline).

  • InFocus
  • 27 April 2017

Extraordinary life of an Indigenous medical researcher

‘I have just felt really privileged for most of my life, I love my work, I love what I do, and I really enjoy the people I work with, and it comes from spending part of my career in medical research. It just gives you a lot of flexibility and opportunities that you don’t get with standard clinical hospital jobs or general practice.’

  • InFocus
  • 16 March 2017

Excellence in mental health research for men

Suicide is the most common cause of death in Australians aged 15-44 years old—accounting for 35% of deaths in 15-24 year olds and 28.6% of deaths in 25-44 year olds (ABS, 2016)

  • InFocus
  • 24 January 2017

Associate Professor Julian Elliott recognised for outstanding achievement

Associate Professor Julian Elliott is taking research beyond the clinic with ‘citizen science’ and subsequently scoops this year’s Commonwealth Health Minister’s Award for Excellence in Health and Medical Research.

  • InFocus
  • 24 January 2017

Ectopic Pregnancy Treatment: A Safer Way

Professor Stephen Tong and the team of investigators are revolutionising the treatment of ectopic pregnancy, meaning most women presenting with the condition could be treated medically, rather than surgically. Not only will this make treating ectopic pregnancies safer, easier and more effective, but it may save many lives across the developing world where surgery is not possible.

  • InFocus
  • 24 January 2017

Gluten for punishment: challenging non-coeliac gluten sensitivity

Professor Peter Gibson and his team set out to determine whether gluten causes problems in people who do not suffer from coeliac disease. The team found that short-chain carbohydrates called FODMAPs, not gluten, might be triggering symptoms such as bloating and stomach pain. The results have put some scientifically valid findings in this controversial area.

  • InFocus
  • 24 January 2017
Adult holding a baby hand

Revolutionary breakthrough to ease discomfort and cost of fertility treatment

Led by UNSW’s School of Women’s and Children’s Health Associate Professor Robert Gilchrist, an international team of researchers have improved an existing treatment known as in-vitro maturation (IVM).

  • InFocus
  • 24 January 2017

Diet matters for mental and brain health

Diets around the world have significantly shifted for the worse since the 20th century and this has had a highly negative impact on the health of the global population. At the same time, the burden of mental disorders, particularly depression, has increased significantly. Associate Professor Felice Jacka and her team have established new approaches to the prevention and treatment of mental disorders by looking at what we eat.

  • InFocus
  • 24 January 2017

Sanguine advances In detecting colorectal cancer

Associate Professor Leah Cosgrove and her team have developed a simple blood test to diagnose colorectal cancer. A reliable, non-invasive blood test could augment the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program, either as an adjunct primary screen for those unable to do the stool test, or in triaging positive subjects to colonoscopy. This could help drive a significant reduction in colorectal cancer deaths in Australia.

  • InFocus
  • 24 January 2017