Latest news and stories
Further to my message to the health and medical research sector on 19 March, NHMRC has been working hard and consulting with Research Committee and a number of peak stakeholder groups to develop a way forward in these very uncertain and challenging times.
‘Melanoma is the most common cancer for 15-39 year old Australians—with the highest ‘years of life lost’ of any cancer’1
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.
Since 2008 NHMRC has funded over $680 million in diabetes research1
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.
‘The rate of disability among Indigenous Australians is almost twice as high as that among non-Indigenous people'1
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.
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.
‘For nurses, working with an Indigenous health worker can bring great opportunities for professional collaboration and improved community health care’1
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.
'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
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
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.
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
Breast cancer is the second most common cause of cancer death in Australian women.1
Indigenous Australians are three to four times more likely to develop dementia. That is higher than any other population in the world.1
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.
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.
‘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’
‘In Australia, 15 per cent of the population are aged 65+, estimated to grow to 21 per cent (8.4 million) by 20501.’
'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
“Chronic diseases account for 70 per cent of the life expectancy gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.1”
By 2036, the total cost of dementia is predicted to increase by 81 per cent to $25.8 billion in Australia1
‘More than 90 per cent of children six to seven years of age with reading difficulties have low working memory.'1
‘18 per cent of all Indigenous Australian adults have chronic kidney disease—two times as likely as non-Indigenous Australians.’
‘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.'
‘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
‘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’
It is estimated 384,000 Australians are blind or have low vision1
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.
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.
Wounds Australia has released the draft Pan-Pacific Clinical Practice Guideline for Prevention and Management of Venous Leg Ulcers 2ndEdition for public consultation (open from 16 March to 21 April 2017).
It will be seeking NHMRC approval of this guideline under section 14A of the National Health and Medical Research Council Act 1992.
19 separate influenza strains have emerged in humans during the past century, including seven in the past five years alone1
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).
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.
As expected, and not surprisingly, the sector is keen to hear the outcome of the review that has been undertaken on the structure of our grant program. While a final decision has not yet been reached, I can advise that the review is in its final stages. I thank all of you who have contributed to our consultations, for your interest, constructive advice and patience throughout.
‘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’
‘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.’
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.
‘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.’
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.
Mark is a microbiologist, whose love of science and fascination with how the world works led to a life-long passion in medical research.
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)
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.
Associate Professor Helen Cooper’s research aims is to understand the molecular mechanisms controlling the birth of new neurons in the adult brain. In the long-term, it is hoped that these insights will help to design therapeutic approaches to treat neurodegenative diseases.
Professor Pillow and her team discovered that the preterm diaphragm is weaker than the diaphragm of babies born after a normal and complete gestation. This may be due to increased breakdown of the muscle protein and increased susceptibility to damage from oxygen free radicals.
The outstanding achievements of 17 of Australia’s most talented health and medical researchers were celebrated at our annual Research Excellence Awards in Canberra.
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.
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.
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.
Dr Joseph Powell and his team are investigating how differences in your DNA sequence impact on how disease starts and develops in the body. This NHMRC-funded research is important because it could lead to new approaches to prevent or to treat disease.