Queensland highlights

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01 October 2005
Media Release
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Total funding $43.2 million

The successful grants detailed below are just a sample of the grants awarded to Queensland researchers in the latest round of National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) funding schemes.

Professor Lyn Griffiths: Genetic analysis of Norfolk Island population
Amount awarded - $978,500
Migraine and cardiovascular disease are both known to result from a complex mix of genetic and environmental components. In the quest to detect 'culprit' genes, the small Norfolk Island gene pool and self-contained environment enable easier elimination of irrelevant variables.

Professor Lyn Griffiths from Griffith University will undertake a study that will use part of the Norfolk Island population to identify genes that play a role in migraine headaches, and cardiovascular disease.

Around 80% of the permanent Norfolk Island population of 1,200 can be traced back through 12 generations to six Bounty mutineers and 10 Polynesian women, whose descendants came to Norfolk Island from Pitcairn Island in 1850. The results of this study could ultimately have significant benefits to diagnosis and treatment of these common diseases.

A/Professor Jennifer Stow : Protein activation in tumour cells
Total amount awarded - $980,250
Associate Professor Stow from the University of Queensland will investigate how proteins reach their proper location in the cell and the implications of these processes for cancer and inflammatory diseases.

In particular, her current research looks at the protein known as E-cadherin which prevents tumour cells from multiplying, but in malignant tumours, this protein malfunctions allowing cancerous tumour cells to spread. This research will help better understand why this protein fails to activate in malignant tumour cells.

Dr Georgia Chenevix-Trench: Genes involved in ovarian cancer
Amount awarded - $601,250
Each year in Australia , over 1200 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer and more than 800 women die of ovarian cancer. This cancer is difficult to diagnose at an early stage because there may not be any obvious symptoms and when symptoms do occur they are often vague.

Dr Georgia Chenevix-Trench from the Queensland Institute of Medical Research will investigate the genes that affect a woman's risk of contracting ovarian cancer. Identification of the genes that increase the risk of ovarian cancer will lead to targeted screening and intervention programs.