QIMR Berghofer’s world leading research recognised with record federal funding

QIMR Berghofer scientists have been awarded almost $16 million in the latest round of federal grant funding to progress their vital research into improving the health of Australians.

The Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt has today announced the recipients of Investigator Grants from the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC).

QIMR Berghofer scientists secured nine Investigator Grants to explore a diverse range of research, including genetic risk factors of diseases and disorders, improving cancer outcomes, and the study of infectious diseases.

Professor Nick Martin has been awarded more than $3 million to find the genetic causes of mental health problems and translate those findings to preventative measures, with the hope it will ease the burden on Medicare and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

Professor Sarah Medland has received $1.6 million to advance our understanding of psychiatric disorders by studying brain imaging and genetics.

Professor Andreas Suhrbier will use his $2.5 million grant to develop interventions for Zika virus and chikungunya virus.

Professor Mark Smyth has been given the highest grant rating, and secured $2.1 million to find new methods to improve cancer immunotherapy.

Professor Amanda Spurdle has received $2.1 million to improve the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of hereditary cancer and other diseases.

Professor Penelope Webb has been awarded $1.85 million to study how to improve people’s prospects of surviving cancer.

QIMR Berghofer’s Director and CEO, Professor Frank Gannon, said the Institute’s success in securing limited federal research funds reaffirmed its position as a leader in medical research in the country.

“I’m pleased to see five of the nine awards going to female scientists to lead innovative research projects at the Institute, reaffirming the important role women play at QIMR Berghofer,” Professor Gannon said.

“It’s also great to see three of our emerging talents in the field of genetics, Doctor Tracy O’Mara, Doctor Katrina Grasby and Doctor Puya Gharahkhani, awarded Emerging Leadership Grants.

“The funding environment for medical research is becoming more competitive and it’s encouraging that our Institute has done so well to secure the highest funding in the state after the University of Queensland and to be the second most successful Medical Research Institute in the country.”

Investigator Grant winners:

Professor Sarah Medland – Advancing our understanding of Psychiatric Disorders through Imaging and Genetics.

Professor Nicholas Martin – Adding value to Medicare/PBS to find the genetic causes of mental health problems and translate this to preventive measures.

Doctor Puya Gharahkhani – Identifying the contribution of phenotypic and genetic risk factors for complex traits, with implication to risk prediction and causal inference.

Doctor Tracy O’Mara – Leveraging genetic data to understand endometrial cancer.

Professor Penelope Webb – Enhancing cancer survivorship.

Doctor Katrina Grasby – Effects of structural, mitochondrial, and X chromosome variants on brain structure.

Professor Andreas Suhrbier – Developing interventions for chikungunya and Zika virus.

Professor Mark Smyth – New methods to improve cancer immunotherapy.

Professor Amanda Spurdle – Improving diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of hereditary cancer and other diseases.

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