9 Dec 2016

Congratulations to NHMRC project grant recipients at AMREP!

Congratulations to all our National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) project grant recipients at the AMREP site! Both Central Clinical School (CCS) and the School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine (SPHPM) did well. In addition to the CCS based recipients listed below, we would also like to congratulate those researchers who are in the process of transferring their grants to CCS: Trisha Peel, Benjamin Shields, Merlin Thomas, Mark Cooper and Jay Jha (Early Career Fellowship).

The Federal Minister for Health, The Hon Sussan Ley announced on Saturday that Monash University had topped the funding in this year’s project grants awarded by the NHMRC. Monash is to receive a total of $78.7 million, including $62.7 million in project grants. For more detail, see Monash story.

CIA NameGrant TitleDescriptionTOTAL

Prof Jayashri Kulkarni (Monash Alfred Psychiatry research centre)A randomised controlled trial of NMDA antagonist, memantine, for the treatment of borderline personality disorderBorderline Personality Disorder (BPD) affects 5.9% of Australians and is a poorly understood mental illness with no clear medication treatment. The key symptoms of BPD all stem from impaired cognitive processes. Our early data shows improvement of symptoms with memantine ‐ a cognitive enhancing drug used in Alzheimer’s disease.We plan to conduct a clinical trial; giving either 20mg memantine or placebo to 150 people with BPD across 2 Victorian sites.$993,067

Prof Robert Medcalf (Australian Centre for Blood Diseases)
Lab page
The effect of anti‐fibrinolytic drugs on blood‐brain barrier integrity and the immune response in traumatic brain injuryThis project aims to determine how a well known anti‐fibrinolytic drug can improve the immune response and reduced blood brain barrier disruption following traumatic brain injury. We will also be testing additional drugs we have developed as well as a novel drug delivery system that better targets drugs to the damaged brain.$870,476

A/Pr Ross Dickins (Australian Centre for Blood Diseases)
Lab page
Overcoming the differentiation block in acute myeloid leukaemiaAcute myeloid leukaemia (AML) is an aggressive leukaemia with poor overall survival. About 50% of AML cases have genetic mutations that disable PU.1, which in turn alters the expression of many other genes that cause leukaemia. We have developed new AML models allowing reversible inhibition of PU.1, and have shown that re‐engaging PU.1 function causes AML regression. This project aims to understand PU.1 functions in AML and identify rational drug targets for treatment‐ resistant disease.$811,669

Prof Anton Peleg (Department of Infectious Diseases)Systems‐level Characterisation and Therapeutic Targeting of small RNAs in Acinetobacter baumannii diseaseThis proposal aims to understand how a superbug that causes severe infections in hospitalised patients worldwide and is known to be resistant to almost all available antibiotics, causes disease. We then plan on using this information to guide the development of a new type of therapy to treat this severe infection.$581,990

A/Pr Andrew Wei (Australian Centre for Blood Diseases)
Lab page
Toward effective targeted therapies for Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML)Standard chemotherapy for acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) is highly toxic, and has not changed in over 40 years. We will conduct a world‐first clinical trial incorporating ABT‐199 (Venetoclax) to target BCL2 into the standard‐of‐care treatment for AML. A second initiative will explore the potential for small molecule inhibitors to simultaneously target both BCL2 and its related partner MCL1, to create a “chemotherapy‐free” regimen for AML. These studies promise to herald a new era in AML therapy.$551,345

A/Pr Robert Andrews (Australian Centre for Blood Diseases)
Lab page
Regulation of receptors that control platelet function under shear stressSpecialized human blood cells that control blood loss and clotting (platelets) are currently difficult to test in the clinical laboratory, meaning patients are at risk of excessive bleeding or serious clot formation during disease or treatment. The aim of this proposal is to use our new reagents and assays to develop more reliable methods for evaluating relative bleeding or clotting risk in individuals.$507,273

Dr Eric Chow (Melbourne Sexual Health Centre)A randomised controlled trial of daily antibacterial mouthwash to reduce pharyngeal gonorrhoea among men who have sex with men (MSM)Gonorrhoea is a common sexually transmitted infection (STI) among gay men, and the throat is the commonest site of infection. There is early data to suggest Listerine mouthwash can be used to prevent gonorrhoea. Our study will examine whether men use Listerine every day will reduce the risk of gonorrhoea in the throat compared those who use another mouthwash product which does not have an effect on gonorrhoea.$376,730

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