Around the universities

Cate Swannell
Med J Aust
Published online: 6 July 2015

The Clem Jones Research Centre for Stem Cells and Tissue Regenerative Therapies at Bond University will receive $395 000 per year for the next three years, for further research into acute macular degeneration (AMD). The Centre has developed a clinical grade transplantable disc comprising a synthetic mimic of the Bruch’s membrane coated with retinal pigment epithelial cells, with engraftment at the back of the eye expected to restore retina and photoreceptor function to AMD patients. The new infusion of funding from the Foundation will allow research to progress to the testing phase, with a view to clinical trials in the future.

Almost $5 million in grant funding — for three national palliative care projects — has been awarded to Flinders University from Australian Government funding of $52 million for palliative care projects in Australia. The grants have gone towards a range of palliative care projects which will benefit people nearing the end of their lives and their families, and support the medical, nursing and allied health staff who provide their care.

James Cook University’s Professor Sandra Harding has been re-appointed as Vice Chancellor and President, until the end of 2021. “I am so proud of the University and its talented students, researchers, teachers and professional staff. Building on the work of so many since the University began, the contemporary JCU has achieved much over the past few years, and there is much more work to be done”, she said.

Monash University has partnered with Nature Publishing Group to publish npj Regenerative Medicine, a new open access research journal that will explore the potential of organisms to restore and regenerate damaged cells, tissues and organs. Professor Nadia Rosenthal, Director of the Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute, based at Monash University, has been appointed Editor-in-Chief of the new journal.

Four early career researchers from the University of New South Wales have received funding from the Society for Mental Health Research (SMHR). A total of 13 grants of $100 000 each were awarded by the SMHR. The UNSW researchers are Dr Lexine Stapinski from the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC), for a project titled “Making INROADs: interrupting the cycle of anxiety and drinking”; Dr Nicola Newton from NDARC for “Getting it together: engaging parents to improve the prevention of substance use and mental disorders in young people”;
Dr Christina Marel from NDARC for “Roads less travelled: improving clinical pathways for people with heroin dependence”; and Dr Simon Rosenbaum from the School of Psychiatry and based at The Black Dog Institute for “Muscling up on mental illness (MuMi): investigating the role of strength training in the treatment of mental illness”. Postdoctoral researchers Dr Mark Larsen and Dr Bridianne O’Dea from the UNSW-affiliated Black Dog Institute also received grants.

The University of Queensland’s Professor Ian Frazer, co-creator of the cervical cancer vaccine, has won a 2015 European Inventor Award. Professor Frazer won the Popular Prize section, which was decided by public vote and announced at a ceremony in Paris on 11 June. The awards acknowledge inventions that have made major contributions towards social, technological and economic progress.

A University of Queensland clinical scientist has won a prestigious European award for potentially life-saving antibiotic drug therapy research. Professor Jason Roberts said the European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases Young Investigator Award was an important acknowledgement of the work created by a network of UQ researchers. It was awarded in recognition of Professor Roberts’ research into preventive treatments for dangerous multidrug-resistant bacteria, or superbugs, as part of his work on immunity and infectious diseases at UQ’s School of Medicine and the UQ Centre for Clinical Research.

The University of Sydney has established the Maurice Blackmore Chair in Integrative Medicine in order to facilitate better “understanding [of] complementary medicine’s role in healthcare, research and teaching”. Made possible through a $1.3 million donation by the Blackmores Institute, the new term Chair honours Maurice Blackmore, a pioneer of Australian naturopathy. “Over the next five years the Maurice Blackmore Chair in Integrative Medicine will undertake research into the impact of complementary medicines in health outcomes, including how complementary and alternative medicines interact with the current standard treatments prescribed by medical professionals”, the Dean of Sydney Medical School Professor Bruce Robinson said.

  • Cate Swannell



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