NHMRC grants total more than $61 million
30 October 2009
University of Sydney medical research projects have received $61,922,193 in the National Health and Medical Research (NHMRC) Project Grants for 2010, more than any other Australian university.
A total of 104 NHMRC Project Grants have been awarded to the University of Sydney out of a total of 675 worth $380 million nationally. The University of Sydney was also successful in securing more than half of the total allocated to New South Wales projects ($107.3 million).
Successful University of Sydney projects include an investigation of sudden cardiac death in the young and a project looking at methamphetamine-induced habits and the re-establishment of behavioural control in addicts. Specific projects include:
- Methamphetamine-induced Habits and the Re-establishment of Behavioural Control, led by Professor Bernard Balleine from the University's Brain and Mind Research Institute ($556,500).
The aim of this project is to understand the neural bases of drug addiction, specifically methamphetamine addiction, particularly the changes in neural processes that render drug seeking compulsive. We aim to establish the physical and chemical changes in the brain that cause the changes in decision making induced by exposure to drugs of abuse, most notably the changes that result in a loss of behavioural control;
- Unlocking Genetic Factors Predicting Type 2 Diabetes Complications for Clinical Practice: The Field Study, led by Professor Anthony Keech from the University's NHMRC Clinical Trials Centre ($2,428,500).
Heart disease, stroke, eye and kidney diseases in diabetes have both environmental and genetic predispositions. With over 5000 Australians with diabetes, this research in the FIELD study is to identify the important genetic contributors to these complications. It will explore how the genetic features cause disease and whether the most important ones can be screened for in simple blood tests. It will also examine whether the genetic damage of ageing is accelerated in diabetes;
- Investigating Sudden Cardiac Death in the Young, led by Professor Christopher Semsarian from the University's Centenary Institute of Cancer Medicine and Cell Biology ($658,500). Sudden cardiac death is a major tragedy in young people. In approximately one third of such cases, no cause of death is found at autopsy. This study will investigate the causes of sudden cardiac death in the young, with a specific emphasis on the underlying genetic causes of sudden unexplained death. This information will be used for screening surviving family relatives, thereby improving both diagnostic and treatment/prevention opportunities and reducing sudden cardiac death in our community;
- Polypill Versus Usual Care Among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People with High Cardiovascular Risk, led by Professor Alan Cass from the University's Poche Centre for Indigenous Health ($1,812,175).
Cardiovascular disease is a major contributor to the lower life expectancy of Aboriginal compared to non Aboriginal people. Guidelines recommend people at high risk of cardiovascular disease should be on a combination of blood thinning, blood pressure lowering and cholesterol lowering medications. There is a large gap between actual practice and these guidelines. We will test a combined polypill strategy aiming to simplify treatment and reduce costs to close this gap.
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