The National Health and Medical Research Council has announced some of the outcomes from the 2017 funding round, emphasising the Federal government's committment to brain research, particularly mental health and traumatic brain injury research.
Mental health is now a priority and a key pillar of the government's National Long Term Health Plan. One in four Australians will suffer from mental ill-heath at some point in their lives, including depression, anxiety or some form of addiction. Similarly, traumatic brain injuries account for a huge burden of disease in Australia, with almost half a million patients hospitalised with a traumatic brain injury or concussion each year, with about one in six injuries classified as ‘high threat to life’,
Two Florey researchers have received Project Grant funding to support their work in these areas.
Professor Tony Hannan will receive almost $700,000 to investigate the effects of a father's lived experience on the mental health and cognitive abilities of his offspring. Tony's group has already shown that stress and exercise can affect factors in a male mouse's sperm that either negatively or postively influence these outcomes in his pups. Tony now plans to extend these findings to determine the precise molecular mechanisms by which these factors affect the developing brain, and to begin studies examining whether they also occur in human males.
Associate Professor Paul Adlard will receive over $1.2 million to investigate the role of biometals - specifically zinc and iron - in traumatic brain injury. Paul's previous work on zinc's influence on the ageing brain has received a "Ten of the best" award from the NHMRC, and Paul is fascinated by the potential of metal-modifying compounds to limit the spread of damage after a traumatic brain injury.
Congratulations to both Tony and Paul!