Flinders University has been awarded more than $9 million for “boundary-pushing” projects investigating better treatments for various health conditions, including two eye health studies.
The funding under the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Investigator Grants awarded to the Flinders researchers recognises the potential of their projects to improve millions of lives, the university said.
The NHMRC grants have been awarded to:
• Revolutionising early intervention outcomes for youth with emerging eating disorders ($2,953,040) led by Professor Wade, Flinders Institute for Mental Health and Wellbeing Director and Matthew Flinders fellow, College of Education, Psychology and Social Work
• Addressing the greatest unmet needs in uveitis ($2,953,040), led by Professor Justine Smith, Strategic Professor in Eye and Vision Health, Matthew Flinders Distinguished Professor, College of Medicine and Public Health
• Expanding the indications for polygenic risk testing in glaucoma ($2,476,520), led by Professor Jamie Craig, Matthew Flinders Distinguished Professor, College of Medicine and Public Health
• Redefining sleep disordered breathing diagnostics and management: A novel data-driven digital health approach ($662,040), led by Dr Bastien Lechat, research fellow, College of Medicine and Public Health.
Vice-Chancellor Professor Colin Stirling congratulated the recipients.
“At Flinders we are very proud of our outstanding researchers and their fearless pursuit of new knowledge that will help to provide more effective treatments and better outcomes for patients,” Stirling said.
“Each of these researchers is making an outstanding contribution in their field that is being recognised by the NHMRC Investigator spotlight now shining on them.
“The high impact solutions they are developing to real-world health challenges will make a positive difference to people’s wellbeing and will help deliver stronger, healthier communities into the future.”
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Robert Saint said these large grants recognised the quality, creativity and impact of the projects put forward by the researchers and their teams.
“We are proud of the success of our researchers in achieving these grant awards in an extremely competitive field,” Saint said.
“This funding will enable them to pursue important new research directions at the cutting edge of their disciplines. They will deliver new insights and improved outcomes for people on a global scale. With these grants, our researchers will have means to help people with eating disorders, chronic respiratory sleeping disorders, and eye diseases that can lead to blindness.”
The Investigator Grant scheme is NHMRC’s largest funding program and is a major investment in Australia’s health and medical research workforce. The grants support projects conducted by high-performing researchers for five-year periods.
Grant recipients from other institutions include:
• The role of RNA-mediated spatio-temporal transcriptome changes in age-related macular degeneration ($1,457,887), led by Associate Professor Jiayu Wen, Australian National University
• A vision to prevent vision loss: RNA base editing as a strategy to treat inherited retinal disease ($1,289,706), led by Associate Professor Guei-Sheung Liu, Centre for Eye Research Australia
• Next-generation gene editing strategies to treat autosomal dominant retinitis pigmentosa ($922,058), led by Professor Paul Thomas, The University of Adelaide
• Markers and mediators of retinopathy and response to fenofibrate in people with Type 1 diabetes ($866,385), led by Professor Alicia Jenkins, Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute
• Prevalence, risk factors and impact of visual impairment in Australia ($117, 302), led by Dr Richard Kha, University of Sydney
• Understanding the contribution of adaptive and innate immunity to RPE/choroidal dysfunction in diabetic retinopathy ($97 835), led by Dr Jason Ha, University of Melbourne.