Flinders health researchers share in $7.6 million

NHMRC grant recipient Professor Justine Smith

Flinders University researchers will share in grants worth more than $7.6 million from the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) to pursue studies ranging from airway surgery in obstructive sleep apnea to the genetic risk factors of blinding eye disease.

A total of seven researchers received $5,826,600 in funding under the NHMRC’s Standard Project Grants, three researchers were awarded $1,159,407 in fellowships and Strategic Professor of Psychiatry Ma-Li Wong received $501,174 through the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute.

Professor Douglas McEvoy was among the award recipients, receiving $1,139,177 for the Sleep Apnea Cardiovascular Endpoints (SAVE) study, while Professor Fran Baum received $1,016,002 for regional population health planning, participation and equity.

Professor David Currow and Associate Professor Nicholas Spencer received two grants each for their respective research into lung and inflammatory bowel disease while Professor Wong will use her grant to study the long-term metabolic effects of stress and antidepressants.

In congratulating all recipients, Flinders University Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), Professor David Day, said the projects reflect the multidimensional and specialised nature of health and medical research at Flinders.

“The NHMRC supports the highest quality research, and Flinders University is proud to be part of this elite group of Australian researchers,” Professor Day said.

“Our researchers have a proven-track record of making meaningful contributions to research that translate to tangible health outcomes on a local, national and international scale,” he said.

The Flinders University NHMRC 2013 grant and fellowship recipients are:
•    Associate Professor Nick Antic: Clinical outcomes, safety and incremental cost effectiveness of multi-level airway surgery in patients with moderate-severe obstructive sleep apnea who have failed medical management ($630,911)
•    Professor Douglas McEvoy: The Sleep Apnea Cardiovascular Endpoints (SAVE) study ($1,139,177)
•    Professor Fran Baum: Regional Primary Health Care Organisations: population planning, participation, equity and the extent to which initiatives are comprehensive ($1,016,002)
•    Associate Professor Philip Dinning: Mechanical factors in normal human colonic motility ($629,286)
•    Professor David Currow: Improving the treatment of breathlessness – a phase III randomised, controlled trial of sustained release morphine for the symptomatic treatment of chronic refractory breathlessness. A Palliative Care Clinical Studies Collaborative study ($860,807)
•    Professor David Currow: Studies on the effects of endogenous and exogenous opioids in modulating exercise-induced dyspnoea in people with moderate to severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) ($192,243)
•    Professor Justine Smith: Toxoplasma gondii Infection of Human Retinal Pigment Epithelium ($445,505)
•    Associate Professor Nicholas Spencer: Use of a novel technique to identify the sensory nerve endings that respond to painful stimuli in the upper gastrointestinal tract and characterize their mechanisms of activation ($342,111)
•    Associate Professor Nicholas Spencer: Understanding how inflammatory bowel disease causes hypersensitivity of colonic sensory nerve endings and increased abdominal pain ($570,558)
•    Professor Bogda Koczwara: Improving management of bone health of cancer survivors ($170,689)
•    Dr Kathryn Burdon: Molecular genetic risk factors and mechanisms in blinding eye disease ($601,420)
•    Professor Jamie Craig: Disease Registry based approaches to determining molecular risk factors for glaucoma blindness, and applying them in clinical practice ($387,298)
•    Professor Ma-Li Wong: Long-term metabolic effects of stress and antidepressants: a novel translational animal paradigm of drug-induced obesity ($501,174).

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