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$36 million given to Australian medical researchers

07 August, 2007

The Commonwealth Government’s $36 million Australia Fellowships, through the National Health and Medical Research Council, have been awarded to researchers in cancer, infectious diseases and mental health.

Each recipient is highly regarded in their field.  Each Fellowship is valued at $4 million ($800,000 per year for 5 years).  The recipients are:

The fight against cancer:

- Professor Doug Hilton from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research. Professor Hilton is a pioneering work covers how the body’s cells communicate with each other. His fellowship will assist him in research into the molecular basis for the onset and progression of cancer and other diseases.

- Professor David Vaux from La Trobe University. Professor Vaux is a leading researcher in the field of apoptosis, or cell death.  Professor Vaux’s fellowship will assist him to expand his groundbreaking research which will lead to the development of new cancer therapies

- Professor John Hopper from the University of Melbourne. Professor Hopper is a world leader in genetic epidemiology, investigating links between genes, the environment, and breast cancer, colorectal cancer, and prostate cancer. His Fellowship will assist him in his research aimed at preventing these leading causes of death.

- Professor Andreas Strasser from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research.  Professor Strasser’s Fellowship will assist him to further develop his groundbreaking research identifying the processes by which anti-cancer therapy triggers apoptosis.

Easing the global burden of infectious diseases:

- Professor James C Paton from the University of Adelaide. Professor Paton’s fellowship will allow him to accelerate his research into new generation vaccines and therapeutic approaches for bacterial infections such as Pneumococcal, Streptococcus pneumoniae and Escherichia coli.

- Professor Alan Cowman from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research. Professor Cowman is a world renowned malaria researcher.  The fellowship will advance his work in designing new treatments and vaccines.

- Professor Tony McMichael, a world leader in environmental epidemiology from the Australian National University, who will use his fellowship to further his pioneering research on the health risks of global climate change and environmental influences on infectious and parasitic diseases and autoimmune disease.

Mind and body – moving forward on mental health:

- Professor Sam Berkovic from the University of Melbourne. Professor Berkovic will use his fellowship to work on the integration of high level clinical medicine, molecular genetics and cutting-edge neuro-imaging in the causes and treatment of epilepsy.

- Professor Ian Hickie from the Brain & Mind Research Institute at the University of Sydney. His Fellowship will allow him to expand his population-based research and development of mental health strategies on the importance of environmental factors such as infection, inflammation and alcohol and substance abuse exposure on the risk of developing non-psychotic mental disorders.

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