New funding to support innovative medical research

The Raine Medical Research Foundation has awarded more than $800,000 in grants to 11 researchers at The University of Western Australia, who are investigating projects including how to predict self-injurious behaviour in young people, improving the diagnosis of neuromuscular disorders and sleep apnoea in adults.

UWA Vice-Chancellor Professor Amit Chakma, Chair of the Raine Medical Research Foundation, was MC at the foundation’s 2021 research grants, fellowships, awards and prizes announcement ceremony held yesterday.

Award recipients from The University of Western Australia include:

  • Dr Julie Ji, from UWA’s School of Psychological Science has been awarded a $227,542 Raine Priming Grant for her project, Predicting self-injurious behaviour in young people – a novel cognitive science approach.
  • Dr Christian Pflueger, from UWA’s Centre for Medical Research has been awarded a $234,288 Raine Priming Grant for his project, Advancing epigenome editing to understand hepatocellular carcinoma progression.
  • Dr Rhonda Taylor, from UWA’s Centre for Medical Research has been awarded a $224,806 Raine Priming Grant for her project, Mapping muscle gene enhancers: An approach to improving genetic diagnosis for neuromuscular disorders.
  • Dr Alexander Tang, from UWA’s School of Biological Sciences has been awarded a $22,987 Healy Research Collaboration Award for his project, Developing novel treatments for stroke.
  • Dr Zachary Howard, from UWA’s School of Psychological Science has been awarded a $16,500 Healy Research Collaboration Award for his project, Uncovering the causes of perceptual inference deficits in patients with schizophrenia.
  • Dr Cele Richardson, from UWA’s Centre for Sleep Science and School of Psychological Science has been awarded a $20,600 Charter Hall/Cockell Research Collaboration Award for her project, Bright light therapy to improve sleep and mental health outcomes for young people with depression.
  • Dr Jess Reynolds, from UWA and Telethon Kids Institute has been awarded a $30,000 Charter Hall/Cockell Research Collaboration Award for her project, Challenging the core autism phenotype – investigating motor impairments in children on the autism spectrum using whole genome sequencing.
  • Dr Lieke van den Elsen, from UWA’s School of Molecular Sciences has been awarded a $29,296 Charter Hall/Cockell Research Collaboration Award for her project, Does lack of colostrum feeding in neonates lead to impaired growth and immune development, and enhanced disease susceptibility in later life.
  • Dr Samantha Lee, from UWA and the Lions Eye Institute was awarded a $5,000 Strachan Memorial Prize for her project, Associations between optic disc measures and obstructive sleep apnea in young adults.
  • Dr Akila Rekima, from UWA’s School of Molecular Sciences was awarded a $5,000 BrightSpark Research Prize for her publication, A role for early exposure to house dust mite allergens through breast milk in lgE-mediated food allergy susceptibility.
  • Dr Lee Nedkoff from UWA’s School of Population and Global Health was awarded the $1,650 runner-up KY Wong Memorial Prize for her publication, Differences in stroke risk and cardiovascular mortality for Aboriginal and other Australian patients with atrial fibrillation.

The Raine Medical Research Foundation has made a distinguished contribution to medical research since it was established in 1957 and has distributed more than $50 million to around 500 Western Australian researchers.

It has supported scores of major research projects, funded two Centres of Excellence, established fellowships and scholarships, sponsored the visits of numerous international scholars, participated in major joint ventures, and fostered medical research at undergraduate level.

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