Seven University of Newcastle researchers have been awarded a total of $2.7 million from the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) for fellowships to continue vital health and medical research.
Five of the fellowships were awarded to researchers who are investigating aspects of cancer including origins, treatments and psychosocial impacts.
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), Professor Mike Calford, said the fellowships confirmed the leading position of the University’s researchers, both nationally and internationally.
“Cancer is a leading cause of death in Australia – more than 43,000 people are expected to die from the disease in 2010, so research in this area is vital. These highly-competitive fellowships will allow our leading researchers to further their important work and will continue to deliver significant improvements to our understanding and treatment of cancers.”
Receiving a Senior Researcher Fellowship and $570,640 over five years, Associate Professor Xu Dong Zhang, who heads the Cell Death Research Team at the Calvary Mater Newcastle Hospital Oncology and Immunology Unit, will continue his research into the cause and treatment of melanomas and other skin cancers.
Newcastle researcher Dr Kathryn Roberts received almost $299,000 to research blood-borne cancers such as leukaemia. She will travel to the United States to research at St Jude Children’s Hospital, a world-leading research facility for paediatric cancers.
NHMRC Early Career Fellowships of $290,000 were awarded to:
• Dr Chen Chen Jiang is researching new therapies for melanoma, in partnership with the Calvary Mater Newcastle Hospital.
• Dr Sylvie Lambert is researching the psychological effects of cancer on patients and their carers.
• Dr Bente Talseth-Palmer is researching possible hereditary factors and predispositions increasing the risk of bowel cancer.
• Dr Jay Horvat is researching possible links between chlamydia and other diseases such as asthma and cardiovascular conditions. His research is in partnership with the Monash Institute of Medical Research.
Dr Jingqin Wu received a total of $651,000 to research a genetic marker for schizophrenia in conjunction with the University’s Molecular Neurobiology Laboratory and Genetics Unit.
The researchers are members of the Hunter Medical Research Institute, a partnership between Hunter New England Health, the University of Newcastle and the community.
For a complete list of projects visit http://www.nhmrc.gov.au/grants/rounds/index.htm
For interviews contact University of Newcastle Media and Public Relations officer Leonie Brann 02 4921 6856 or 0449 898 813.