Grants boost for Faculty of Medicine researchers

19 January 2022

Research into melanoma, ovarian cancer and peptides are some of the Faculty of Medicine research projects that have been awarded federal government grants.

Congratulations to the UQ researchers who were successful in securing funding through the Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Projects, National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Postgraduate Scholarships and NHMRC Development Grants.

The awardees are as follows:

ARC Discovery Projects

  • Dr Richard Clark, Professor Trent Woodruff and Dr Karl Rosengren (SBMS) - $438,907

Bioactive peptides are exceptionally useful molecules, however to fully realise their exciting applications key limitations need to be overcome: they can't be delivered orally and they do not last long in the body. This project aims to develop a molecular tag that can dramatically enhance both the oral absorption and time in the body of a peptide. The outcomes of this project will facilitate the future development of peptides for biotechnology, pharmaceutical and veterinary applications.

  • Associate Professor Bradley Launikonis (SBMS) - $608,390

Mammals maintain a constant core body temperature by generating heat in resting muscles in response to changes in the environmental temperatures. This project aims to show how the skeletal muscles that are closer to the body core contribute the majority of heat, how the muscles of the limbs have their heat generation curtailed as necessary, and how this is coordinated by the body in response to ambient temperature. Project outcomes include defining, for the first time, how heat generation in the muscles of the body is regulated.

  • Professor Stefan Thor and Associate Professor Michael Piper (SBMS) - $553,796

This Project aims to investigate the mechanisms controlling the formation of the sleep neurons in the hypothalamus. We all sleep, and normal sleep-wake cycles play a central role in our biology. The functional role of these sleep neurons in the mature brain are well established. However, how the neurons are generated during development is very poorly defined. This project aims to address this critical knowledge gap and will greatly increase our understanding of how the development of this critical aspect of organismal function is orchestrated during development.

  • Professor Alpha Yap (SBMS) - $570,000

This project probes how epithelial cells use mechanical forces to communicate with one another in biological life. It tests the novel concept that negative feedback is a critical, hitherto unappreciated dimension in mechanical communication, which acts to ensure proportionate responses for homeostasis. It will generate fundamental new knowledge in biology using an innovative combination of cellular and biophysical experiments and physical theory. The expected outcomes are fundamental new knowledge, interdisciplinary training for young scientists, new national research capacity and growing international collaborations.

NHMRC Development Grants

  • Dr Richard Clark and Emeritus Professor Maree Smith (SMBS) - $948,644

Novel long-acting and orally delivered conotoxin-based peptides with both analgesic efficacy and disease modifying potential.

NHMRC Postgraduate Scholarship

  • Katie Lee – $77,630

Genomic architecture of skin in the vicinity of previous melanoma in photodamaged and non-photodamaged areas.

  • Dr Prianka Puri – $131,266

An integration of multi-omics and machine learning to stratify patients with lupus nephritis for precision medicine.

  • Dr Tanya Ross – $90,168

Informing future recommendations for prevention and treatment of ovarian cancer using population data.