The University of Newcastle (UON) Foundation is pleased to announce a $300,000 donation to medical research from Bellberry Limited.
Bellberry Ltd is a not-for-profit organisation set up to support and advance medical, scientific and public health research by providing independent research ethics committees to assist in the processing of research trials. Each year it supports Australian research by making donations to universities.
Bellberry is supporting eight research projects from the University of Newcastle. Three early career research projects will receive $50,000 each, while $30,000 will be given to five other research projects led by an established researcher.
University of Newcastle researchers Dr Rohan Walker and Dr Paul Tooney will be using their $50,000 grant to explore the link between depression and inflammation of the brain.
Drs Walker and Tooney are working in collaboration with the University of Queensland.
The study aims to shed more light on the causes of depression and whether inflammation of the brain systems that control mood is a primary driver of depression.
"Depression is a leading cause of non-fatal disease burden in Australia. Unfortunately, current anti-depressants do not always provide adequate levels of relief and it is generally accepted that we need to develop more effective treatments," Dr Walker said."With this funding we will build on earlier research linking depression to inflammation of the brain."
"If we can confirm this link we may be able to develop new or improved anti-depressants that could target the inflammation."
The recipients of these grants from Bellberry are research projects that attained 'near miss' status in the recent round of National Health and Medical Research Council research grant funding. 'Near miss' are projects that are rated as 'excellent' but have missed out due to funding restraints.
Other Early Career Researcher Grants ($50,000 each)
Project:'Improving patient selection for acute stroke therapies - an experimental model of CT brain perfusion after stroke
Researchers: Dr Mark Parsons (University of Newcastle), Dr Neil Spratt (University of Newcastle), A/Prof Chris Levi (University of Newcastle), Dr Damian McLeod (University of Newcastle) & Dr Peter Stanwell (University of Newcastle)
- To better identify appropriate stroke patients who require clot-dissolving drugs.
Project: 'Evaluation of a systems navigation model of transition care for non-metropolitan young adults with type 1 diabetes'
Researchers: Dr Lin Perry (University of Newcastle), A/Prof Julia Lowe (University of Newcastle), Prof Katharine Steinbeck (University of Sydney), Prof Constance Pond (University of Newcastle & Dr Patrick McElduff (University of Newcastle)
- To assist young people suffering type 1 diabetes transition to adult healthcare services.
Experienced Researcher Grants ($30,000 each)
Project: Epidgentic regulation of CRH gene in gestational tissues
Researchers: Prof Roger Smith (University of Newcastle), Prof Rodney Scott (University of Newcastle), Prof Richard Nicholson (University of Newcastle) & A/Prof Tamas Zakar (University of Newcastle)
- To identify mechanisms that regulate Corticotropin releasing hormone (CRH), which is believed to influence gestational length. Understanding the processes regulating this hormone could help prevent premature birth.
Project: SMS SOS: The efficacy of text messages in reducing re-presentation of deliberate self-poisoning patients.
Researchers: Prof Alison Jones (University of Western Sydney), A/Prof Gregory Carter (University of Newcastle), Prof Ian Whyte (University of Newcastle) & Prof Catherine DEste (University of Newcastle)
- To reveal whether the use of text messaging is a more effective method in the prevention of re-presentation of deliberate self poisoning, than sending postcards to patients.
Project: Implementation of thrombolytic therapy in acute stroke
Researchers: A/Prof Chris Levi (University of Newcastle), Prof John Attia (University of Newcastle) , Dr Christine Paul (University of Newcastle), Dr Mark Parsons (University of Newcastle), Prof Christopher Blandin (Monash University) & Prof Richard Lindley (University of Sydney)
- To improve the take-up of clot-busting treatment (tPA) for stroke patients by identifying barriers to its use and ultimately providing a platform for a nation-wide rollout.
Project: Effective anti-arrhythmic drugs: how do they work?
Researchers: A/Prof Derek Laver (University of Newcastle), A/Prof Dirk van Helden (University of Newcastle) & A/Prof Bjorn Knollmann (Vanderbilt University, USA)
- To investigate the properties of a cardiac anti-arrhythmic agent called flecainide. The aim is to provide a foundation for the design of new drugs to control major arrhythmias that occur in cardiac disease such as heart failure.
Project: Re-organisation of myometrial contracteome at the time of labour
Researchers: Prof Roger Smith (University of Newcastle) - To test whether the stretch of a woman's uterus plays a critical role during contractions and how this might be regulated. The results may allow the development of new ways to prevent premature birth.
University of Newcastle medical researchers work in collaboration with HMRI. HMRI is a partnership between the University of Newcastle, Hunter New England Health and the community.