Health grants a big lift for researchers

New Flinders Foundation seed funding grants will support important research at the Flinders medical precinct, from common back injuries to glaucoma and gonorrhoea studies, along with pioneering cancer and osteoarthritis interventions.

The next health or medical discovery is a step closer, with 31 research project grants totalling $750,000 from the charitable foundation.

The annual Health Seed Grant Round has been awarded to help researchers advance their knowledge of a variety of illnesses, diseases and social issues, in a successful 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.

The latest research projects include:

• Treating painful knee osteoarthritis with a simple injection
• Using cutting edge robotic testing to understand what causes lower back lifting injuries
• Investigating whether Tinder is driving increasing incidence of gonorrhoea in young heterosexual South Australians
• Developing methods for detecting and genotyping Toxoplasma gondii, a disease resulting from infection after eating undercooked Australian meat
• Protecting single middle-aged women – an emerging group experiencing homelessness
• Improving support for men from refugee backgrounds during and after pregnancy
• Exploring if biomarkers in the blood or stool can reduce unnecessary colonoscopies
• Using machines to predict glaucoma

Flinders Foundation Executive Director Ross Verschoor said Flinders Foundation is proud to support the talented researchers working across Flinders University and the Southern Adelaide Local Health Network.

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

“It’s inspiring to look through the successful research projects and see bold ideas to improve care and treatment for cancer, pain, eye health and rare diseases, as well as targeted ways to address social issues and health inequalities in some of our most vulnerable groups.”

Dr Emma Miller, from the College of Medicine and Public Health Southgate Institute for Health, Society and Equity, joins other Southgate colleagues Professor Fran Baum, Dr Toby Freeman, Dr Joanne Flavel, Dr Kathryn Browne-Yung, Dr Clemence Due, Dr Annabelle Wilson, Associate Professor Anna Ziersch, Dr Matt Fisher and others in the latest Flinders Foundation Health Seed Grant Round of funding.

Grant funding was made possible thanks to donations from generous individuals, and funds raised by supporters and organisations.

“We’re grateful to our supporters and the South Australian community for helping to fund research which will not only benefit our local population, but also advance research knowledge around the world,” Mr Verschoor says.

Flinders University Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Robert Saint says the seed funding grants can be the catalyst for life-changing knowledge and 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,” Professor Saint says.

“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.”

Flinders University researchers will receive Flinders Foundation seed grant funding totalling $750,000 to expand important health and medical research.

The Flinders Foundation 2019 Health Seed Grant Round recipients:

Professor Fran Baum – Methods to assess the health impact of Australian alcohol companies: a pilot study of corporate health impact

Dr Kathryn Browne-Yung – Single middle-aged women in private rental housing: preventing homelessness and promoting ageing well in place

Professor Peter Catcheside – Translating a new method of inspiratory effort measurement into improved monitoring and outcomes for mechanically-ventilated patients in intensive care

Dr Justin Chalker – New tools for understanding protein sulfenylation during oxidative stress

Associate Professor John Costi – Robotic testing into what causes spinal disc injuries during lifting after prolonged periods of sitting and standing

Dr Kelsi Dodds – Uncovering the mechanisms that generate pelvic pain

Dr Clemence Due – Supporting men from refugee backgrounds during and after pregnancy

Dr Matt Fisher – Understanding Indigenous and non-Indigenous theories of wellbeing and assessing their suitability for public policy to promote wellbeing

Dr Joanne Flavel – Examining increasing health inequities in Australia: the contribution of employment, income and wealth

Dr Toby Freeman – What is the relationship between a nation’s wealth and health inequities?

Professor Briony Forbes – Targeting IGF-II: A growth factor in breast, prostate, colorectal and brain cancers

Dr Luke Grundy – Identifying the contribution of urinary tract infection (UTI) to the development of lower urinary tract symptoms

Dr Julie-Ann Hulin – UGT8 enzyme and colorectal cancer

Professor Jonathan Karnon – Estimating the economic burden of frailty in Australia to inform policy and practice

Dr Joel Castro Kraftchenko – Developing an in vivo technique to investigate endometriosis-related chronic pelvic pain

Associate Professor Robyn Meech – Identifying biomarkers in breast and prostate cancers

Dr Emma Miller – Is Tinder driving increasing incidence of gonorrhoea in young heterosexual South Australians?

Associate Professor Lillian Mwanri – Improving access to mental health services among African refugees in Australia

Professor Michael Shanahan from the College of Medicine and Public Health at Flinders University.

Professor Michael Shanahan – Genicular nerve block from the management of knee osteoarthritis

Dr Owen Siggs – Machine learning-based prediction of glaucoma conversion using optical coherence tomography

Professor Justine Smith – Sensitive methods for detecting and genotyping Toxoplasma gondii in Australian meat

Professor Nick Spencer – Improving gut function in Hirschsprung’s Disease

Associate Professor Erin Symonds – Reducing the need for colonoscopy using biomarkers in symptomatic patients

Dr Steven Taylor – Antibiotics during labour: The long-term effects

Dr George Tsourtos – Increasing resilience, via promoting mindfulness and social support, and reducing smoking in lower socio-economic groups

Professor Paul Ward – Improving the mental health of doctors working in hospitals

Dr Annabelle Wilson – Peer mentoring for dietitians working in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health

Associate Professor Vladimir Zagorodnyuk  – Relieving painful bladder syndrome

Associate Professor Anna Ziersch – Supporting resettlement and health and wellbeing for people from refugee and asylum-seeking backgrounds: Developing and piloting a measure of integration.

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