Foundation funds 35 life-changing projects

Thirty-five exciting health and medical research projects across the Flinders medical precinct have received a boost with the announcement of Flinders Foundation’s Health Seed Grant Round recipients.

$821,000 in research seed grants to help researchers kick-start discoveries across a variety of illnesses, diseases and social issues has been provided by a partnership between Flinders Foundation and Flinders University.

The funding of up to $25,000 per project will help get the research projects up and running and give researchers the time and resources they need to prove their concepts and test data to then apply for larger sums from national and international funding bodies.

Research projects include:

  • Developing a biomarker for the earliest detection of Glioblastoma – the most common form of brain cancer
  • Analysing perspectives on a ‘sugar tax’ as a response to obesity in Australia
  • Assessment of a falls risk in untreated and treated obstructive sleep apnoea
  • Improving management of childhood glaucoma
  • Exploring resistance to ibrutinib – a common and effective therapy used to treat chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL)
  • Defining how serotonin regulates the gut

(For full list of 35 grant recipients, see below)

Flinders Foundation Executive Director Ross Verschoor said Flinders Foundation was proud to support the abundant research talent across the Flinders medical precinct.

“The dedicated researchers at Flinders work tirelessly to improve the lives of people and their families affected by a wide range of illnesses and diseases,” Ross said.

“From past experiences we know these health seed grants are vital in kick-starting research discoveries which not only benefit our local community, but also advance research knowledge around the world.”

Grant funding was made possible thanks to donations from generous individuals, fundraisers and South Australian organisations including Mr Riggs Wine Company, Drakes Supermarkets and Foodland, and events such as the Pink Yellow Blue Ball, Bay to Birdwood and SA Police’s Ride Like Crazy.

“The researchers at Flinders possess the most incredible ideas which could be the catalyst for the next big breakthrough,” Ross said.

“Often all they need to get these ideas off the ground is funding, and we’re grateful to the South Australian community for joining with us to make this happen.”

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Robert Saint said the seed funding grants can be the catalyst for life-changing breakthroughs.

“The support of the foundation and its generous donors and supporters, is vital in supporting our talented researchers to explore and prove new treatments, or get revolutionary research projects off the ground.

“There is no doubt as to the effectiveness of this funding, with around 40 per cent of recipients going on to win grants of a much larger scale, facilitating substantial projects and results that make a difference to people’s health and lives” Professor Saint said

Flinders Foundation 2018 Health Seed Grant Round recipients:

Dr Cedric Bardy – A new brain cancer model to study patient-derived glioblastoma cells in a human neuronal microenvironment.

Prof Fran Baum – Understanding how the early childhood education policies of Australian governments promote health and equity through action on the social determinants.

Dr Shailesh Bihari – The effect of passive leg raise performed during cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) on cerebral blood flow.

A/Prof Jill Carr – Establishment of a laboratory culture system for human norovirus and adaptation for a high-throughput screening technique.

Dr Monica Cations – Developing safe and inclusive models of aged care practice for survivors of psychological trauma: Learning from the Forgotten Australians.

Prof Robyn Clark – Development of a patient-centred clinical pathway and modes of delivery for prevention, detection and monitoring of cardiotoxicity during cancer treatment.

A/Prof Simon Conn – Developing a biomarker for the earliest detection of Glioblastoma – the most common form of brain cancer.

Prof John Coveney – The health implications of distrust in the food system.

Prof Jamie Craig – A novel hypothesis that the ocular microbiome contributes to the pathogenesis of pseudoexfoliative glaucoma hypothesis.

Dr Clemence Due – Maternal health for pregnant and post-natal women from refugee backgrounds: What are their needs and what models of care will improve outcomes.

Dr Matthew Fisher – Analysing perspectives on a ‘sugar tax’ as a response to obesity in Australia.

Dr Toby Freeman – Investigating access to, use of and benefits from digital health services amongst health care service users in socioeconomically disadvantaged areas.

Dr Jonathan Gleadle – using novel genetic tools to identify key components that lead to healthy kidney growth.

A/Prof Rebecca Golley – Mobile apps to support healthy evening meal provision in working families.

Dr Stephen Gregory – Identifying novel targets for metabolic therapy to kill cancer cells with chromosomal instability.

Dr Julie-Ann Hulin – Advancing understanding of, and treatment responses for, prostate and breast cancer by unlocking the mysteries of UDP-glucuronosyltransferase enzymes (UGTs).

Dr Damian Hussey – Evaluation of IKZF1/BCAT1 promoter methylation in blood plasma and exosomes for potential use in clinical management of oesophageal neoplasia.

Prof Damien Keating – Defining how serotonin regulates gut motility.

A/Prof David Lynn – The role of gut microbiota in the efficacy and toxicity of agonistic antibody cancer immunotherapies.

Prof Doug McEvoy – Evaluating long-term clinical effectiveness of multi-level upper airway surgery for obstructive sleep apnoea.

Dr Robyn Meech – Breast and prostate cancer research investigating pathways that control levels of steroid hormones – in particular the UGT family of proteins.

A/Prof Karin Nordström – Development of a virtual reality arena for hoverflies for motion vision research.

A/Prof Taher Omari – The investigation of dysphagia following oropharyngeal surgery for obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA).

Dr Yoichiro Otsuka – Advancing knowledge of brain fear circuitry to contribute to our understanding of higher brain functions relevant to mind and brain disorders.

A/Prof Janni Petersen – Understanding the cell’s main energy sensor – AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) – to optimise treatments for several diseases, including cancer, Type 2 Diabetes and insulin resistance.

Prof Justine Smith – Dengue Virus Infection of Human Retinal Endothelium.

Dr Emmanuelle Souzeau – Improving management of childhood glaucoma using precision medicine and translational approaches. 

Prof Nick Spencer – Using wireless optogenetics to improve our understanding of how the gut works.

Dr David Stevens – Assessment of a falls risk in untreated and treated obstructive sleep apneoa.

Prof Mark Taylor – Towards the protection of femoral fracture risk in patients with bone metastases using computational tools.

Dr Lauren Thurgood – Exploring why some patients develop resistance to ibrutinib – a common and effective therapy used to treat chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL).

Dr Ruth Walker – End-of-life care needs of adults with long-standing physical disability.

Dr Annabelle Wilson – Assessing the roles that health professionals play in rebuilding consumers’ trust in the food system after they have been involved in a food incident.

Dr Amy Wyatt – Protein homeostasis in pregnancy and beyond: Advancing understanding of preeclampsia as well as more than 40 other human disorders including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, macular degeneration and arthritis.

A/Prof Anna Ziersch – Integration and social inclusion in public spaces: impacts on health and wellbeing for young people from refugee backgrounds.

Further information can be found at the Flinders Foundation website.

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