ANU wins $12.8 million in latest NHMRC funding

6 December 2017

The NHMRC funding demonstrates how internationally renowned research at ANU was assisting people nationally and across the globe

The Australian National University (ANU) has won $12.8 million in the latest round of National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) funding.

ANU will lead a total of 16 grants, with the biggest grant going to Professor Simon Easteal at The John Curtin School of Medical Research (JCSMR) for his project on Indigenous Genomics.

The ANU funding was part of the $640 million announcement made at JCSMR by Minister for Health, the Hon Greg Hunt MP.

ANU Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation) Professor Margaret Harding said the NHMRC funding demonstrates how internationally renowned research at ANU was assisting people nationally and across the globe.

"This funding highlights the quality of health and medical research being led by ANU," Professor Harding said.

"On behalf of the University, I congratulate the grant recipients and look forward to seeing the results of their research."

Professor Easteal, Director of the National Centre for Indigenous Genomics (NCIG), won $1.4 million in funding to establish an Indigenous Australian reference genome (the NCIGrg), using advanced genome sequencing technologies and data analytics.

"This new funding will improve the long-term research and clinical value of genomic data for Indigenous Australians," Professor Easteal said.

"We will compare the NCIGrg research performance and clinical utility with the standard reference genome, which is based mostly on European genomes. 

"The project will underpin the National Centre for Indigenous Genomics' commitment to ensuring that Indigenous Australians are included in the benefits of genomic medicine." 

Professor Emily Banks from the ANU Research School of Population Health, won $1.2 million in funding for a world-first project to apply big data to cancer survivorship.

"Big data have transformed cancer prevention, screening and management. This funding will support a world first - researchers working with cancer survivors to apply big data to the outcomes that matter most for the many millions of people living with cancer," she said.

Associate Professor David Nisbet from the ANU Research School of Engineering, won $630,000 in funding for brain research.

"We are grateful for this NHMRC research funding that will allow me to modify our existing nanomaterials to reprogram inflammatory brain cells into functioning neurons," Dr Nisbet said.

"If successful this will be useful for stroke patients as we will have a means to improve the survival, maintenance and growth of existing neurons to encourage repair."

Dr Leonie Quinn from JCSMR won $941,000 in funding for brain cancer research.

"The funding will enable us to develop Drosophila (fly) and mouse genetic models to mimic mutations detected in primary brain cancer and ascertain whether they drive tumour progression," Dr Quinn said.

"We will immediately translate novel discoveries from the animal models into patient-derived tumour systems to determine how these networks drive cancer progression.

"Further to providing molecular markers to guide treatment using current drug therapies, we will determine efficacy of small molecules for inhibiting brain tumour progression."


Other ANU recipients are:

Dr Susana Nery, ANU Research School of Population Health ($1.33 million);

Associate Professor Elizabeth Gardiner, The John Curtin School of Medical Research ($435,000) and a second project ($398,000);

Associate Professor Philip Batterham, Centre for Mental Health Research at ANU ($352,000);

Associate Professor Di Yu, The John Curtin School of Medical Research at ANU ($586,688); and a second project ($950,000);

Dr Si Ming Man, The John Curtin School of Medical Research at ANU ($625,000) and a second project ($738,000);

Associate Professor Anselm Enders, The John Curtin School of Medical Research at ANU ($755,000);

Dr Nathalie Dehorter, The John Curtin School of Medical Research at ANU ($528,000);

Professor David Tremethick, The John Curtin School of Medical Research at ANU ($1.05 million);

Associate Professor Colin Jackson, ANU Research School of Chemistry ($664,000); and

Dr Anthea Anantharajah, ANU Medical School, won a Postgraduate Scholarship ($126,000).


For media assistance, contact Kate Prestt on the ANU media hotline on 02 6125 7979 or email media@anu.edu.au.