Sydney Medical School success in program grants
Sydney Medical School researchers have capped an excellent year in competitive grants with $26 million awarded in NHMRC program grants, development grants and fellowships
SMS accounted for all the University’s program and development grants ($24.4 million) and the vast majority of the 25 postgraduate scholarships. The grants were announced on December 15.
This follows the School’s significant success in NHMRC project grants, announced in October, where the School won 80 of the University’s 99 grants (worth $49), 34 out of the University’s 41 fellowships, and two new Centres of Research Excellence ($27 million).
Program and development grant successes were:
Professor John Simes will lead a multi-disciplinary research team that has received $10.6 million to improve the evidence base that informs care and policy in priority health areas. His team will tackle areas such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity and neonatal diseases. The team includes clinicians, epidemiologists, trialists, biostatisticians, health economists and collaborative networks of clinical investigators in each disease area.
Professor Philip Barter, who leads a research team based at the University-affiliated Heart Research Institute, has been awarded $7 million to develop novel strategies for the early detection and prevention of atherosclerosis and heart disease. Atherosclerosis, an accumulation of cholesterol in the artery wall, is a major cause of illness and premature death worldwide. It is caused by factors such as low levels of the protective high density lipoproteins (HDLs), diabetes, smoking and abnormal function of arteries.
Professor Paul Keall, director of the Sydney Medical School's Radiation Physics Laboratory, and his team received $5.7 million to improve cancer treatment through capturing real-time images of cancer tumours while they are receiving radiotherapy. Forty percent of cancer patients in Australia receive radiation treatment, but the problem with current therapy is that tumours move during treatment. Professor Keall and colleagues are developing an MRI-linear accelerator in which the cancer will be imaged - and treated - as it is moving.
Professor Des Richardson will be able to continue his work developing iron chelators that are effective anti-cancer drugs. His $570,000 development grant will allow him to perform toxicological studies in preparation for clinical trials.
Associate Professor Martin Ng has also received a development grant of $417,550 to continue his work on endovascular stents used to treat heart disease. His team has developed a unique method of binding bioactive protein layers to the surface of metallic implants such as stents. They hope to solve problems associated with metallic stents, such as incompatibility with blood, inflammation and blood clots.