Investing in Health

Priority Research Theme: Obesity, Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease

Ground-Breaking Medical and Lifestyle Interventions

Theme Co-Leaders: Professor Louise, Professor Ian , Professor David Cook, Dr Andy Holmes, Dr Yan Lam

It is more than a decade since the World Health Organisation called the worldwide rise in obesity a global epidemic. With excess weight comes the risk of long-term health consequences, including Type-2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Cardiovascular disease kills more people than any other disease in Australia and the rising incidence of obesity and Type 2 diabetes compounds the risk for many individuals.

This theme is vital because a decade after the WHO pronouncement, obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease are still a major cause of death and disability in the Australian population.

Sydney Medical School has numerous world-leading programs, and there is a University-wide and supported research focus through the Centre for Obesity Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease. It is a major cross-faculty endeavour, which aims to improve the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases through the highest standard of research, and translating the knowledge developed into practial solutions. The academic program also supports the Centre's 'culture' across the University: a commitment to world-class, multidisciplinary teaching supported by the values of collaboration and innovation, with a strong focus on results.

This impressive work is enhanced by the dedication of a state-of-the-art building to support the Centre's research and education agenda, which will be completed in 2013. It will transform the way we deliver research and education. The $385 million building project will house around 1,000 scientific researchers and provide the latest imaging and flow cytometry facilities, excellent clinical research facilities to support clinical and translational research, a 'biobank', and a comprehensive animal holding and animal imaging facility. There will also be a range of inspiring new education spaces. This innovative approach will enable brilliant discoveries to feed quickly into clinical trials and new treatments, and exciting findings from clinical and population health studies to feed back into biomedical research.

Funding Opportunity: Fast Versus Slow Weight Loss: Which is Best?

Associate Professor Amanda Sainsbury-Salis and her team are conducting a world-first clinical trial using state-of-the-art techniques in the area of obesity and weight management. The trial will demonstrate whether or not there are any differences between Very Low Energy Diets and conventional diet with respect to effects on body fat content and distribution, muscle mass, muscle strength or bone density for up to 3 years after commencement of either diet.

This work will demonstrate the safety or otherwise of increasingly popular fast weight loss methods. The project has undergone rigorous peer review and is deemed to be of the highest quality.

Clinical Trial $75,000 per year
Over four years: $300,000