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Aust scientists awarded $2.3 mln for international research

17 July, 2007

More than $2.3 million over 3 years has been awarded to seven of Australia’s leading health and medical researchers under the prestigious international Human Frontier Science Program (HFSP).

Announcing the results of the latest HFSP round, National Health and Medical Research Council CEO, Professor Warwick Anderson, said that the awards provide valuable opportunities for Australian researchers to work in multidisciplinary teams at the international forefront of research. Since HFSP began in 1989, 12 of its scientists have been awarded Nobel Prizes.

‘Our researchers are among the best in the world and the HFSP awards means that they get the chance to further their work through international collaborations’.

The program supports cutting-edge life sciences research and involves more than 30 countries worldwide.  The NHMRC gives Australian researchers the opportunity to access more than $70 million in funding each year through its membership of the program. 

The awards have been made as follows:

$163,000 for Dr Madeleine Beekman from the University of Sydney to explore how natural systems adapt to changing conditions by studying this in colonies of ants and honeybees as well as individual slime moulds.

$408,800 for Professor Paul Curmi from the University of New South Wales to be part of a team that studies the operation of ‘molecular motors’ which are proteins that use chemical energy to carry out functions within living cells such as transport, pumping, DNA replication and protein synthesis.

$408,800 for Professor Min4 Gu from Swinburne University of Technology, to use new imaging devices to explore cancers in the early stage to help understand their genetic origin.

$163,000 for Dr Nicholas Huntington from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute who has been offered a long term fellowship for research on a certain type of immune system cell, thought to participate in protecting humans from cancer and disease throughout life.

$408,800 for Professor Robert Parton from the University of Queensland, to study cell process called endocytosis to better understand how healthy cells work and what goes wrong in disease conditions.

$423,000 for Dr Sarah Russell from the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, for research into immune system responses that may lead to new therapies which manipulate the immune system, either to damp down immune responses in autoimmune disorders and after organ transplant, or to increase immune responses in immune deficiencies.

$163,000 to Dr Mark Shackleton from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute for research that aims to determine whether a small group of very specific cells termed ‘cancer stem cells’ exist in human melanoma which may lead to better treatments for a disease which affects approximately 1 in 35 women and 1 in 25 men in Australia.

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