Centre members awarded $1.8M in NHMRC funding

Congratulations to University of Melbourne researchers recently awarded significant grants from the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council.

A/ Professor Alice Pèbay and A/ Professor Clare Parish were awarded Research Fellowships. Dr Kim-Anh Le Cao was awarded an RD Wright Biomedical Career Development Fellowship.

The NHMRC is Australia’s leading expert body promoting the development and maintenance of public and individual health standards. These fellowships, totalling $1.8 million, will support research to better understand eye disease, investigate using stem cells to repair certain brain cells, and identify key bacteria for therapeutic interventions. More information on each project below.

Congratulations to our researchers, and all NHMRC grant recipients.

A /Professor Alice Pèbay – The University of Melbourne and Centre for Eye Research Australia.

Project: Human induced pluripotent stem cells to understand neurodegeneration

This program will use stem cells taken from patients to generate unique and important eye tissue models relevant in certain eye diseases (glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration) and brain (Alzheimer’s disease). These models allow the study these diseases in extreme detail. The program will help to uncover how and why these diseases develop and will be used to search for new treatments to prevent them or to slow their progression.

A/Professor Clare Parish – The Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health

Project: Advancing stem cell therapy for brain repair

Clinical trials have shown that transplanting new nerve cells into the brain of Parkinson’s disease patients can improve symptoms. Trials use foetal tissue for implantation, which is unsustainable and highly variable. This proposal will examine the potential of human pluripotent stem cells as an alternative to repair a variety of brain injuries. Key objectives will be to control these cells before and after transplantation, ensuring safety and maximal efficiency.

Dr Kim-Anh Lê Cao - The University of Melbourne

Project: Microbiome biomarkers of human disease: novel computational methods to facilitate therapeutic developments

Technological advances have dramatically changed the way we can examine microorganisms including those colonising living beings. However, our understanding of how these vast populations of microbes interact with and influence human diseases is hindered by the sheer volume and complexity of data generated. This program will develop novel methods to efficiently analyse these data and identify key bacteria for potential biomarkers and therapeutic interventions.