UniSA’s brightest minds awarded $10.7 million for medical research

Cancer researchers have today won the lion’s share of $10.7 million awarded to the University of South Australia for health and medical research. 

Of the 15 National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) project grants, 10 are for research into leukaemia, lymphoedema and breast cancers. 

Associate Professor Natasha Harvey has received the biggest windfall, securing $2.37 million for three separate projects to investigate lymphatic disorders. 

Her fellow colleagues in UniSA and SA Health’s Centre for Cancer Biology (CCB), Associate Professor Simon Conn and Dr Loretta Dorstyn, will use their respective $748,094 and $871,162 project grants to target molecules which drive cancer mutations, as well as investigating the role that specific proteins play in suppressing tumours. 

Three other CCB researchers, Professor Richard D’Andrea, Professor Stuart Pitson and Professor Hamish Scott have collectively won $2.3 million to further their research into myeloid leukaemia, a type of cancer which affects the blood and bone marrow. 

Associate Professor Michael Samuel will use his $636,776 grant to explore how to halt the spread of cancer from one part of the body to another (metastasis) and Associate Professor Yeesim Khew-Goodall has won $526,978 to look at cell signalling and how it drives cancer. 

The remainder of the NHMRC funding will go towards: 

  • an $880,685 study which tracks the diet and fitness of children in and out of school (Professor Timothy Olds);
  • two research projects by neuroscientist Dr Quenten Schwarz into congenital cardiac malformations ($553,848) and the treatment of children born with small jaws ($573,848); 
  • exploring how to make antibiotic drugs more effective (Dr Rietie Venter $487,351); and 
  • a $765,349 research project by Professor Stephen Graves to help reduce complications after hip, knee and shoulder surgery. 

The latest round of NHMRC grants brings the University’s total 2018 medical and health research funding from the Federal Government body to almost $16 million. 

“In the past two years our annual NHMRC funding has increased by $6M – across project, fellowship and development grants – which represents a 61 per cent increase since 2016,” says Professor Tanya Monro, UniSA Deputy Vice Chancellor: Research. 

“This is an exceptional result and reflects the world-class research being undertaken at UniSA and also the rise in our rankings to sit within the top 10 universities in the country.” 

For full results of the NHMRC funding announcement, visit the NHMRC website

Media contact: Candy Gibson mobile 0434 605 142 email mailto:candy.gibson@unisa.edu.au