A new high-resolution imaging technique to enable more accurate detection of tumours during breast surgery and how allergies in children form while in the womb and after birth are among 15 projects at The University of Western Australia to be awarded funding through round three of the State Government’s Merit Award program.
The program aims to help local health and medical researchers improve their chances of securing National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) grants and fellowships.
They were awarded to those who had come close to receiving an NHMRC Project Grant, Early Career Fellowship or Career Development Fellowship in 2015 and whose work may lead to valuable medical breakthroughs.
The grants will be used by UWA researchers to advance important research across a range of areas including early childhood development, the treatment and prevention of illnesses and dietary research.
Dr Brendan Kennedy, Senior Research Fellow from UWA’s School of Electrical, Electronic and Computer Engineering and a new lab head at the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research will use a grant to develop a high-resolution imaging technique, micro-elastography, to enable more accurate detection of tumours during breast-conserving surgery. The imaging tool will enable surgeons to detect small extensions of tumour that are currently missed during surgery.
Dr Peter Arthur, senior lecturer from UWA School of Chemistry and Biochemistry will be testing readily available and cost-effective supplements or repurposed pharmaceutical drugs that can be used to reduce disease severity of Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). DMD is a devastating progressive disease that leads to premature death, so readily available drugs that can be used as an interim treatment have the potential to improve the quality of life while molecular therapies to correct the gene defect in DMD are developed.
Associate Professor Debra Palmer, from UWA School of Paediatrics and Child Health will research how allergies in children form during their development in the womb and after birth. She will look at new ways to predict and treat allergies prior to birth, in particular egg allergies, a common allergy in children.
Associate Professor Gina Ambrosini from the School of Population Health will be developing new methods to measure the diets of young people and how the built environments they come into contact with influence their dietary choices. The research may be used to help develop urban planning and environment policies that are supportive of healthy eating. The work is taking place in collaboration with researchers in the School of Earth and Environment.
The grants are part of the State Government’s FutureHealth WA initiative which aims to boost Western Australia’s research capability.
Jess Reid (UWA Media and PR Adviser) (+61 8) 6488 6876