Hudson Institute is delighted to announce the success of our researchers in the new NHMRC Investigator Grant round.
Our researchers have been awarded six grants totalling more than $9.5 million to improve the understanding, prevention and treatments for preterm and growth restricted babies, endometriosis, bacterial infection. In addition, two researchers have had their Fellowships extended.
NHMRC Investigator Grants
Towards precision microbiology: new strategies to combat bacterial infection
Professor Elizabeth Hartland
Bacterial infectious diseases remain a major threat to human health. The emergence of anti-microbial resistance is fast outpacing the development of effective new antibiotic drugs. This research will lay the groundwork for developing new precision approaches to control bacterial infections such as anti-infective agents or immune-enhancing therapies that target the infection process. To be effective this needs a full understanding of the host-pathogen interaction and immune response to infection.
Reducing the consequences of prematurity by improving the transition at birth
Associate Professor Graeme Polglase
The research focus will be on reducing brain injury in preterm and compromised newborn infants by improving the immediate care in the delivery room. This includes understanding the mechanisms underlying how interventions such as umbilical cord clamping and respiratory support can lead to brain injury and developing strategies to protect the newborn brain. I aim to develop and implement strategies to protect the newborn brain from injury at birth. It is critically important given that 15 million babies are born preterm each year, one million of those will die and those that survive are at a significant risk of developing brain injury.
Translating endometrial stem/progenitor cell discoveries to transform women’s and girls’ gynaecological health outcomes
Professor Caroline Gargett
The endometrial lining of the womb has amazing growth capacity and sheds each month in a woman’s period. Our discovery of adult stem cells in the womb lining has changed our understanding of how endometrium grows to support pregnancy and how abnormalities in this process lead to gynaecological disease. This project will reveal the role of endometrial stem cells in endometriosis and examines how endometrial mesenchymal stem cells can be used as a therapy for pelvic organ prolapse.
Interventional immunology in early life diseases
Associate Professor Claudia Nold
Modern intensive care has thankfully improved the survival of extremely premature infants. Unfortunately, the price has been a rise in the incidence of multiple life-threatening diseases of early life that affect the lungs, the heart and the gut via pathways involving runaway inflammation. This program will extend ongoing studies of several candidate drugs that show promise for developing anti-inflammatory therapies which are both safe and effective in our tiny patients.
Improved cardiovascular outcomes for growth-restricted infants
Dr Beth Allison
In Australia, one in every 14 babies is born smaller than they should, not because they are genetically small, but because they have not received enough oxygen and nutrients in the womb. These babies are termed growth-restricted and have an increased risk of death and cardiovascular disease after birth. There are currently no treatments available to them. The research aim to investigate potential treatments to reduce the risk factors of cardiovascular disease in growth restriction.
Life in transition: optimising early respiratory support in the preterm infant
Dr Calum Roberts (Hudson Institute and Department of Paediatrics, Monash University)
Worldwide, more than 15 million babies are born prematurely each year. Premature babies have underdeveloped lungs, and are at risk of death and life-long complications due to breathing problems. For many babies the breathing support we provide is not effective enough, or inadvertently harmful. My research will assess how we can provide more effective breathing support for these babies soon after birth, and improve their long-term outcomes.
NHMRC Research Fellowships
Professor Richard Ferrero
Dissecting the role of NOD-like receptors (NLRs) in Helicobacter pylori disease
The bacterium Helicobacter pylori is responsible for one of the most common infections in humans, affecting approximately half of the world’s population. H. pylori infection is a major cause of several diseases of the digestive tract, including stomach cancer. This research project will determine the role of a new form of “immune memory” in H. pylori infection. The work will provide new insights into how people resist infection and whether this immune memory can prevent severe disease.