Latest news and stories


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

Excellence in ear and hearing health for Indigenous children

Less than ten per cent of Indigenous children have normal healthy ears 1 2 3

  • InFocus
  • 25 May 2018

Leading the way for female researchers

Professor Sharon Lewin is a clinician researcher working to find a cure for HIV. Having women in leadership roles is really important—it brings diversity to leadership teams for better outcomes, and encourages young women through aspiring role models.

  • InFocus
  • 11 May 2018

Clinician researcher key to cure for HIV

"In Australia, life expectancy is returned by using life-long drugs but there is still no cure."

  • InFocus
  • 8 May 2018

Life's work lead to new vaccine

'Pneumococcus is the biggest bacterial killer on the planet. It’s the most common cause of pneumonia, which is responsible for about 20 per cent of deaths from all causes in children under 5 years. Globally, pneumococcus accounts for about 2 million deaths a year.'

  • InFocus
  • 27 April 2018

Understanding the complexity of cancer

Each year, more than 1,000 Australians are diagnosed with the blood cancer acute myeloid leukaemia and more than 70 per cent will die within five years.

  • InFocus
  • 6 April 2018

Uncovering the secrets of Endometriosis

Endometriosis affects one in ten women worldwide. 

  • InFocus
  • 26 March 2018
Dan McAullay

Grand designs make way for career in health research

Nursing and research wasn’t what Associate Professor Dan McAullay had in mind when he first began university but it was exactly where he was meant to end up.

  • InFocus
  • 30 January 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
two people in a yoga pose

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

Research facilities and biobanks

NHMRC recognises that national research facilities, networks and biobanks are valuable for the conduct of health and medical research. In 2012, NHMRC held a biobanking roundtable to consider how national research infrastructure might be prioritised and co-ordinated. 

  • InFocus
  • 18 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

Pinpointing where HIV hides in the body is a big step towards a cure

Professor Sarah Palmer along with researchers at Westmead Institute for Medical Research and the University of Sydney have discovered where the tiny remaining amounts of HIV virus are hiding, leading to new hopes of a cure.

  • InFocus
  • 1 December 2017

Knowledge in closing the gap

‘For nurses, working with an Indigenous health worker can bring great opportunities for professional collaboration and improved community health care’1

  • InFocus
  • 20 November 2017

Neurodegenerative disease and contact sports—Gandy offers better diagnosis

Long-time Alzheimer’s researcher, Sam Gandy (Mt Sinai Hospital, NY) is combining new diagnostic criteria, higher-resolution brain scanning and a new method to determine what’s going on in people’s brains who have had multiple concussions and are experiencing difficulties with cognition.

  • InFocus
  • 9 November 2017

Research Excellence in Epidemic Control

'Travel and globalisation mean that infections spread rapidly around the world, so that global solutions are required for epidemic control'

NHMRC Centre for Research Excellence, Integrated Systems for Epidemic Response

  • InFocus
  • 6 November 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

Simple stroke care protocols now going international

Stroke, caused by a clot or bleed in the brain, is Australia’s second biggest cause of death and the leading cause of disability.1

  • InFocus
  • 23 October 2017

Genetics behind breast cancer for personalised care

Breast cancer is the second most common cause of cancer death in Australian women.1

  • InFocus
  • 19 October 2017

Helping the minds of Indigenous Australians age well

Indigenous Australians are three to four times more likely to develop dementia. That is higher than any other population in the world.1

  • InFocus
  • 5 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
Professor John Pimanda and his team at the Lowy Cancer Research Centre

Precision medicine for blood cancer

‘On average eight people per 100,000 a year develop Myelodysplasia—a disorder affecting the development of blood cells that can lead to leukaemia.1’

  • InFocus
  • 26 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
Dr Vanessa Lee

As black women do research

'Still, we rise… as black women do 

Culturally bonded, spiritually empowered, strength and resilience valuable tools,

with integrity and generational humbleness, we are the drivers, backbone, visionaries,

feelers, healers, leaders, prophetic with degrees in silence-ness.

Excerpt from poem As Black Women Do: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women’s resilience by Vanessa Lee. 

Published in Us Women, Our Ways, Our World

  • InFocus
  • 18 September 2017
Doctor Judith Katzenellenbogen and her team

Linking the data to close the gap in heart health

“Chronic diseases account for 70 per cent of the life expectancy gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.1”

  • InFocus
  • 18 September 2017
Elderly man with a young woman and child

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
Professor Melissa Wake and her team

Achieving in the classroom

‘More than 90 per cent of children six to seven years of age with reading difficulties have low working memory.'1

  • InFocus
  • 11 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

Adding immune T cells to the mix—giving bone marrow transplant patients a fighting chance

‘Over 2,000 stem cell transplants are performed in Australia each year. For many patients, infections after transplant result in suffering and poor quality of life even if their original disease is cure1’

  • InFocus
  • 25 August 2017
bionic eye

Vision of the future

It is estimated 384,000 Australians are blind or have low vision1

  • InFocus
  • 18 August 2017
Minister Hunt

New funding investment in dementia research

A brief summary of a federal government grant announcement, with the health minister pledging over $40 million for medical research into dementia. Forty-five projects will receive funding to prevent, diagnose, treat and manage dementia, including its most common form, Alzheimer’s disease. 

  • InFocus
  • 31 July 2017
Associate Professor Sarah-Jane Dawson and Professor Mark Dawson

Blood testing to monitor cancer

Associate Professor Sarah-Jane Dawson, her husband Professor Mark Dawson and a team of clinicians are working together to develop a liquid biopsy—a simple blood test—as an alternative to invasive bone marrow or lymph node tissue biopsies to monitor blood cancers.

  • InFocus
  • 11 July 2017

No-needle flu vaccine on the way

19 separate influenza strains have emerged in humans during the past century, including seven in the past five years alone1

  • InFocus
  • 18 May 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

Two leading dementia experts headline NNIDR Public lecture tour

The NHMRC National Institute of Dementia Research commences its Public Lecture Tour 2017 during Brain Awareness Week with stops around the country throughout March and April 2017.

  • InFocus
  • 18 April 2017
Photo of Professor Sandra Eades, Ali Drummond, Yvonne Cadet-James, Professor Kelvin Kong, and Dr Yvette Roe holding RAP report.

Chance leads an Indigenous woman into a health and medical research career

‘I always wanted to become a nurse, so I used to practice on dolls and teddy bears, and sometimes younger siblings, who drew the line at some procedures-like operations’.

  • InFocus
  • 31 March 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
Dr Wyatt

Getting to the molecular level of science to inspire other women

Dr Wyatt, from the Illawarra Health and Medical Research Institute at the University of Wollongong, is investigating how the body functions at the molecular level. Her current Project Grant explores the relationship between proteins that become toxic when they are damaged (referred to as ‘misfolded’ by researchers), and chemicals such as hypochlorite that are produced by the body during inflammation.

  • InFocus
  • 8 March 2017

Taking a leap into the research world

‘It is important to me to be a role model, an example of a strong resilient Aboriginal woman who can achieve anything she sets her mind to.’

  • InFocus
  • 17 February 2017
fibre-optic ‘smart needle’ camera

Seeing ahead for safer brain surgery

Professor McLaughlin, now working with the ARC Centre of Excellence for Nanoscale BioPhotonics, developed this world-first tiny imaging tool to fit inside a surgical needle probe used in brain biopsies.

  • InFocus
  • 25 January 2017

Combatting tropical disease

Mark is a microbiologist, whose love of science and fascination with how the world works led to a life-long passion in medical research.

  • InFocus
  • 24 January 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

Mending a broken heart: repairing injured heart cells

Professor Graham and his team embarked on their research to understand how the heart develops after birth and why heart muscle cells lose their ability to divide and make new cells. Their research markedly shifted the goal posts and showed that heart muscle cells actually retain an ability to divide until adolescence. This discovery holds great promise for new approaches to managing a range of heart conditions.

  • 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