32 new health and medical research projects… thanks to you!

At a time when the focus on health and medical research has never been greater, 32 exciting new projects across the Flinders medical precinct have received funding in Flinders Foundation’s annual Health Seed Grant Round.

In a partnership between Flinders Foundation and Flinders University, $755,000 in seed grants has been awarded to help researchers advance their knowledge of a variety of illnesses, diseases and social issues.

With a focus on cancer, sleep disorders, neurological conditions, heart disease and pain management; through to indigenous, maternal and child health, as well as exploring the long-term impacts of COVID-19, funding of up to $25,000 has been awarded to each project to help get the research up and running.

The annual health seed grant round, which is funded by donations from generous individuals, and funds raised by supporters and organisations, gives researchers the time and resources they need to prove their concepts and test data to then apply for larger sums from national and international funding bodies.

Research projects include:

  • Using artificial intelligence to predict outcomes of cancer treatment
  • Detecting hospital noise induced impacts on sleep and health
  • Pilot mobile phone intervention program to aid suicide prevention in hospital emergency departments
  • Developing a reliable and readily available testing technique to diagnose Parkinson's disease earlier and more accurately using MRI technology
  • Investigating the effects of COVID-19 on the immune system and long-term health

Flinders Foundation Executive Director Ross Verschoor said Flinders Foundation was proud to support the talented researchers working across Flinders University and the Southern Adelaide Local Health Network.

“We’re grateful to our supporters and the South Australian community for helping to fund the dedicated researchers at Flinders who work tirelessly to improve the lives of people and their families affected by a wide range of illnesses, diseases and social issues,” Ross said.

“The seed grant program has been successful for many years now and has led to new discoveries, bold new ways of thinking, and improvements in the care and treatment for many in our community."

“It has also been rewarding to see many seed grant recipients go on to win national and international grants of a much larger scale, facilitating substantial projects and results that advance research knowledge and make a difference to people’s health and lives.”

Flinders University Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Robert Saint thanked Flinders Foundation’s supporters for their continued commitment to funding new research.

“Research has perhaps never been in the spotlight more so than this year, and the importance of health and medical research has never been clearer.”

“The support of the foundation and its generous donors and supporters is vital in helping our talented researchers to explore and prove new treatments, or get revolutionary research projects off the ground which could be the catalyst for the next, much-needed breakthrough,” Professor Saint said.

Read more about some of these exciting projects here – or view the full list below.

2020 Flinders Foundation Health Seed Grant Round Recipients

Dr Anya Arthurs – How do circular RNAs in the placenta contribute to pregnancy complications?

Professor Gregory Bain – Development of Deep Learning Algorithms for Prediction of Fracture Detection, Classification and Characteristics for Proximal Humerus Fractures: Does the Computer Outperform Surgeons?

Professor Malcolm Battersby – Improving Access to Psychological Therapies enhanced by mobile phone (IAPT-m) and family engagement: a randomised trial of people presenting to the Emergency Department with suicidal behaviour

Professor Peter Catcheside – Establishing advanced new brain signal capture and processing methods for detecting hospital-noise induced impacts on sleep and health

Associate Professor Sarah Cohen-Woods – Communicating the science: can epigenetic education improve intentions and efficacies?

Professor Marcello Costa – Role of neuropeptides in the motor complexes in the guinea pig colon

Dr Nicholas Eyre – Identification of inhibitors of SARS-CoV-2 non-structural protein (nsp3/nsp4) interaction as future antiviral therapeutics

Dr Joanne Flavel – Examining regional health inequalities in Australia and social determinants of health

Doctor Toby Freeman – What are good practice examples from countries in the Western Pacific region that ‘punch above their weight' for life expectancy relative to national income?

Associate Professor Anand Ganesan – SGLT2 inhibition before cardiac surgery - a mechanistic randomised trial

Professor Jonathan Gleadle – Is PAPP-A2 the father of Compensatory Renal Hypertrophy?

Dr Ashley Hopkins – Advancing the precision use of medicines in lung cancer treatment: Big data to inform the impacts of gut microbiota affecting medicines on clinical outcomes

Associate Professor Kate Laver – ‘Taking charge' after a diagnosis of mild cognitive impairment: does early intervention change the trajectory?

Dr Sam Lehman – The Impact of First-Line CT Coronary Angiography versus Standard Invasive Coronary Angiography for Suspected Acute Coronary Syndrome Patients with Low Level Troponin Elevations; A Randomised Pilot Study.

Dr Lauren Lines – Identifying the nature and scope of Australian nurses' and midwives' safeguarding practices.

Professor David Lynn – Does COVID-19 infection lead to long-lasting perturbations of the immune system?

Dr Alyce Martin – Understanding the mechanisms by which gut-derived serotonin affects the enteric nervous system and gastrointestinal function

Dr Dusan Matusica – Development of neuron-on-chip biosensor surface for empirical discrimination of chronic pain types

Associate Professor Robyn Meech – Developing selective bile acid receptor modulators (SBARMs): has nature done the work for us?

Dr Sumudu Narayana – Towards evidence-based guidelines for hepatocellular carcinoma screening in Indigenous Australians

Professor Janni Petersen – Cancer Cell proliferation: towards defining mechanisms of TOR complex 2 signalling

Dr Chris Rissel – Cultural training models in Indigenous health and impact on health outcomes

Professor Claire Roberts – Assessment of PFAS toxicity in human placenta

Professor Geraint Rogers – Predicting severe systemic infections in patients receiving myelosuppressive chemotherapy: a basis for targeted intervention

Dr Paul Secombe – Exploring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Attitudes to Organ Donation: A Pilot Study

Professor Justine Smith – Human Retinal Organoid Model for Studying New Treatments of Ocular Toxoplasmosis

Professor Michael Sorich – Machine learning for personalised prediction of anti-cancer treatment outcomes

Dr Jacqueline Stephens – The role of Aboriginal Health Workers and Practitioners in the early detection of ear disease and hearing impairment among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children

Dr Alexander Sweetman – A novel software-assisted pathway to manage insomnia in Australian general practice

Associate Professor Erin Symonds – Non-invasive assessment of treatment outcomes in patients with gastrointestinal cancers

Dr Moira Walsh – Intergenerational and multilingual understandings of mental health for people from refugee backgrounds

Associate Professor Robert Wilcox – MRI, nigrosome-1, and diagnosis of Parkinson's disease

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