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Major new NHMRC-funded research investigations to begin at the Florey

Major new research projects are set to commence at the Florey after three researchers were awarded Investigator Grant funding from the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC).

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Treatments for iron accumulation in the brain, gut dysfunction in obesity and epidemiological investigations into infant brain development, food allergies and multiple sclerosis, will be the focus of vital investigations driven by the grants.

The funding is part of a significant investment by the Australian Government in world-leading health and medical research projects to prevent illness and deliver better health care.

In making the announcement Minister for Health, the Hon. Greg Hunt MP, noted that medical research is one of the core elements of the Australian Government’s $104 billion Long Term National Health Plan, and that investment in health will continue the proud Australian tradition of discovery and translation for the better health for all.

We sincerely congratulate the following Florey researchers and recipients of Investigator Grants, and look forward to the high-impact discoveries that their investigations will bring:  

  • Professor Ashley Bush, Co-head of the Florey’s Dementia research theme, will be investigating iron in diseases of the ageing brain. The project aims to achieve a deeper understanding of the causes, detection and treatment of incurable neurological diseases of advancing age, including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and MND. Prof Bush and team will pursue studies of ageing worms, cells in culture, mice, human brain tissue, brain imaging and clinical trials, to determine if iron accumulation could be a drug target for these diseases.
  • Professor Anne-Louise Ponsonby, Head of the Florey’s Developing Brain research theme, will be leveraging the interface between epidemiology and molecular biology to enhance disease prevention. Her investigations will focus on factors impacting on how a child's brain develops, how food allergy begins and the factors that can prevent multiple sclerosis onset or slow progression, with the aim to identify the environmental drivers so that preventative measures can be improved to stop these diseases before they even begin.
  • Dr Rachel McQuade, a postdoctoral research fellow in the Florey’s Digestive Physiology and Nutrition Laboratory, will investigate the link between gut dysfunction and obesity, and how gut protective may be achieved. Her research aims to understand the mechanisms through which gut dysfunction develops in obese mice and human patients and will involving testing a clinically approved compound that has demonstrated gut protective properties for the first time in obesity.

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