$15 million in funding to support health and medical research

Eleven University of Western Australia research projects have received a combined $15 million in funding, including a project aimed at enhancing the wellbeing of Aboriginal young people through activities with horses.

The National Health and Medical Research Council Ideas Grants were announced today by Minister for Health, the Hon. Greg Hunt MP.

UWA Professor Juli Coffin (who is also a researcher with Telethon Kids Institute) will lead a $2.5 million project working with horses and using Equine Assisted Learning (EAL) to promote the social, emotional and spiritual wellbeing of Aboriginal young people.

Through EAL, participants will learn important life skills such as building relationships, problem solving, communication, self-awareness, and regulation of emotions.

The program is already under way in Broome following a successful pilot in Geraldton, with the team planning to implement and evaluate it in multiple sites across the Kimberley.

“Our intervention delivery approach has been co-developed alongside Aboriginal communities and is underpinned by Aboriginal leadership, cultural governance, and the use of trauma-sensitive and culturally secure research methods,” Professor Coffin said.

“Findings will build an evidence base that informs policy and practice, by gaining a comprehensive understanding of key intervention elements of social and emotional wellbeing support for Aboriginal youth, how to incorporate Aboriginal worldviews across different stages of interventions, and how to best capture impact using culturally secure methodology.”

Full list of grant recipients

Recipient: Professor Juli Coffin (UWA/Telethon Kids Institute)

Professor Donna Cross, Professor Helen Milroy, Professor Cheryl Kickett-Tucker, Mr Rob McPhee, Ms Lesley Nelson, Mr John Jacky, Ms Abby-Rose Cox

Project: Working with horses to promote the wellbeing of Aboriginal youth: an experiential learning approach for the Kimberley

Funding: $2.5 million

Recipient: Professor Daniel Fatovich (UWA/Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research)

Doctor Jessamine Soderstrom, Professor Andrew Dawson, Associate Professor Sam Alfred, Associate Professor Shaun Greene, Doctor Katherine Isoardi, Doctor Laura Pulbrook, Doctor David McCutcheon, Doctor Francois Oosthuizen, Professor Nadine Ezard

Project: Drugs Network of Australia: a coordinated toxico-surveillance system of illicit drug use in Australia to enable rapid detection and harm reduction responses via an early warning system

Funding: $3.7 million.

Recipient: Professor Ruth Ganss (UWA/Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research)

Doctor Anna Johansson-Percival, Doctor Louise Winteringham, Doctor Jiulia Satiaputra

Project: Therapeutic induction of tertiary lymph nodes in cancer

Funding: $995 000.

Recipient: Winthrop Professor Karol Miller (UWA)

Professor Toby Richards, Professor Paul Maria Parizel, Professor Adam Wittek, Doctor Nicola Gray, Doctor Luke Whiley, Associate Professor Jens Ritter

Project: Biomechanics meets Phenomics: towards understanding and predicting abdominal aortic aneurysm disease progression

Funding: $1.3 million.

Recipient: Dr Gianina Ravenscroft (UWA/Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research)

Associate Professor Robert Bryson-Richardson, Professor Nigel Laing, Professor Sandra Cooper, Doctor Mark Davis, Professor Monique Ryan, Professor Phillipa Lamont, Doctor Macarena Cabrera-Serrano

Project: Novel genomic approaches to identify the missing genetics underlying skeletal muscle disease

Funding: $1.9 million.

Recipient: Professor Daniel Green (UWA)

Doctor Andrew Haynes, Associate Professor Joanne McVeigh, Doctor Louise Naylor, Professor Graham Hillis, Professor Keith George

Project: Identifying the optimal age to apply physical activity interventions to improve heart health

Funding: $852,000.

Recipient: Dr Benjamin Mullin (UWA)

Associate Professor Elin Grundberg, Associate Professor Kun Zhu, Doctor Jordana Bell, Associate Professor Brent Richards

Project: Analysis of the osteoclast methylome for characterisation of epigenetic mechanisms underlying metabolic bone disease

Funding: $299,000.

Recipient: Dr Lea-Ann Kirkham (UWA/Telethon Kids Institute)

Associate Professor Peter Richmond, Doctor Alma Fulurija

Project: First-in-human evaluation of a novel immunobiotic to prevent respiratory infection

Funding: $1.1 million.

Recipient: Professor Livia Hool (UWA)

Project: Integrating biology and medicine to develop 3D-structure guided drug design for treatment of cardiovascular disease

Funding: $978,000.

Recipient: Dr Aron Chakera

Professor Filip Van Petegem, Doctor Evan Ingley, Doctor Helena Viola

Project: Culture-independent microbiology: reducing delays in the diagnosis of severe infections and detection of antimicrobial resistance from days to hours

Funding: $949,000.

Recipient: Associate Professor Kathy Fuller (UWA)

Professor Wendy Erber, Doctor Henry Hui, Professor Jan Dickinson

Project: Precision molecular diagnostics of single cells by imaging flow cytometry

Funding: $875,000.

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