Funding success helps asthma sufferers breathe easy

Monday, 5 December 2016

The University of Newcastle (UON) has attracted a total of $10.8 million from the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC). The funding will support 14 projects and one Career Development Fellowship aimed at solving some of the world’s most critical health challenges.

Paul Foster
Laureate Professor Paul Foster

Respiratory researchers attracted an impressive $3.4 million to help develop new treatments for asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), for which there is currently no cure.

Laureate Professor Paul Foster and Professor Phil Hansbro, both based at the Hunter Medical Research Institute (HMRI) will undertake key research to help pioneer new treatments for sufferers of chronic airway inflammation.

Laureate Professor Foster, Chief Investigator on three successful projects, said the team hoped to develop new treatment approaches for chronic airway conditions.

“Unfortunately, there is still no cure for asthma and COPD, which are a major cause of morbidity and poor quality of life in Australia and across the globe.

“We’re working towards a single treatment for asthma and COPD by investigating common components of inflammation, which is the abnormal accumulation of white blood cells in the lung that drives these diseases and other lung conditions.

“This funding outcome is a huge boost for our Priority Research Centre that focusses on lung health and will enable us to further probe the mechanisms underpinning chronic airway inflammation.”

Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research and Innovation), Professor Kevin Hall, said the NHMRC funding success was indicative of the world-class health research being led out of UON.

“This strong funding outcome reflects the University of Newcastle’s research leadership and impressive innovation capabilities across the health disciplines.

“Importantly, this research will deliver very tangible impact for our region and communities world-wide,” Professor Hall said.

Other recipients of NHMRC funding include Dr Mariko Carey, who was awarded $954,000 to investigate improving outcomes for people with depression in community settings and Dr Flora Tzelepis, who received $674,000 to trial electronic support for students experiencing multiple health risk behaviours.

The outstanding results follow the recent announcement of $5.6 million in support for a senior research fellowship, practitioner fellowship and five early career fellowships, as well as $2.2 million for an Indigenous Counselling and Nicotine (ICAN) QUIT in Pregnancy program.

View the full list of NHMRC grant recipients and read about their projects here

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