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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 1 November 2014
2 SATURDAY 1 NOVEMBER 2014 Page 20 'I had that type of soul' Page 7 St John's unveils master plan AUSTRALIA Grants galore for Greek Australian scientists Eighteen leading Greek Australian researchers recognised for their work in medical and scientific fields with grants Eighteen Greek Australian medical and scientific re- searchers have been given more than $14 million in combined grants to continue their research. In the hugely competitive selection process, 848 new grants were approved on October 17 by the National Health and Medical Research Council, covering a combined total of $580 million of fund- ing. Topics including thalassem- ia, osteoporosis, lung disease, obesity, genetics, tuberculo- sis, cancer and drug abuse were part of the research pro- posals approved for the Greek Australian grant recipients. Most of the grants are dis- bursed over a number of years, and give researchers the peace of mind that their funding won't be running out anytime soon. Hopes for advances in treat- ment and eventually a cure for some medial conditions is why the grant program exists, funding some of the world's leading medical studies. One of the lucky recipients, associate professor Nicholas Lintzeris, is thrilled that his research in cannabinoid treat- ment has been green lit but regrets that so few addiction research grants were given out. "It's a mixture of joy and a bit of sadness," he tells Neos Kosmos. "We had submitted other grants that didn't get funded. Working in the addiction field there were very few grants to addiction given out." His world first research will focus on seeing if cannabi- noid replacement therapy can work on helping cannabis ad- dicted people to wean off the drug, just like how nicotine replacement therapy works on smokers. The drug Staviex, which is already approved to treat multiple sclerosis patients, hasn't been approved by the government to treat any oth- er medical condition, and it's hoped that this research will show its use can be extended. "Using pharmaceutical can- nabinoids we can actually ad- just the types of cannabinoid molecules so that it's much safer than cannabis," he says. "So it's much less likely to cause problems like anxiety, psychosis, that regular can- nabis users have." Professor Lintzeris and his team have been given $762,711 for the next three years to complete the re- search, and will be conduct- ing the study in Sydney. Also on the list of Greek Australian grant recipients is Professor John Toumbourou, whose research into adoles- cents and alcohol abuse has been given almost $2 million in funding. As the leading team in Aus- tralia working to develop and evaluate effective communi- ty strategies to reducing ado- lescent alcohol use, Professor Toumbourou says the grant will help examine strategies to severely reduce alcohol abuse in the young. "The newly funded NHMRC research funding will broad- en an existing national ran- domised community trial of supply and demand reduction strategies designed to reduce population rates of adolescent alcohol use by at least 15 per cent," he tells Neos Kosmos. In terms of a medical condi- tion very close to the Greek Australian community, Dr Jim Vadolas has been fund- ed for the next three years to continue his work on thalas- semia. The genetic disorder is very prevalent in Mediterranean countries, but isn't isolated there. "We've primarily been a Greek community-affected condition, we are seeing now that different demographics are being affected by thalas- semia," he tells Neos Kosmos. "We're seeing a number of South East Asian folks af- fected by it and also a lot of sickle cell anaemia is appear- ing in the children's hospital at Monash." For most of the researchers, the grants will go to salaries and paying for laboratory equipment. The full list of Greek Australian recipients: 1. Professor Paul Glaziou Bond University Fellowship in increasing value, reducing waste from incomplete or unusable reports of medical research $836,915 over the next five years 2. Associate Professor Sophia Zoungas Monash University Fellowship in improving health outcomes with ageing and diabetes: a focus on prevention and management of cardiovascular disease $611,645 over the next five years 3. Professor Christos Pantelis Melbourne University Fellowship in neurodevelopmental 'risk' and 'resilience' biomarkers for emerging mental illness in childhood and adolescence $182,383 for 2015 4. Professor Jonathan Carapetis University of Western Australia Fellowship in the END RHD CRE: developing an endgame for rheumatic heart disease in Australia $2,496,816 over the next five years 5. Associate Professor Nathan Pavlos University of Western Australia Fellowship in the role of Sorting Nexin 27 in cargo- trafficking during skeletal homeostasis $603,813 over the next three years 6. Associate Professor Andreas Fouras Monash University Fellowship in revolutionising the diagnosis and monitoring of CF lung disease $792,777.95 over the next three years 7. Professor Stan Gronthos University of Adelaide Fellowship in the role of ephrinB1 reverse signalling in osteogenic differentiation during skeletal development and osteoporosis $548,347 over the next three years 8. Professor Tony Tiganis Monash University Fellowship in hepatic oxidative stress, PTPs & STAT signalling in obesity $1,040,820 over the next five years 9. Professor Arthur Christopoulos Monash University Fellowship in understanding mechanisms of allostery and biased agonism at the adenosine A1 receptor $584,154 over the next three years 10. Associate Professor James Triccas University of Sydney Fellowship in a new class of inhibitors for the treatment of tuberculosis $698,199.5 over the next three years 11. Associate Professor Ross Vlahos Melbourne University Fellowship in targeting oxidant-dependent mechanisms that drive COPD and its co-morbidities $718,134 over the next three years 12. Professor Alexander Loukas James Cook University (QLD) Fellowship in secreted exosome-like vesicles from the carcinogenic liver fluke $742,660 over the next four years 13. Associate Professor Christos Karapetis Flinders University Fellowship in personalised medicine markers of anti- EGFR antibody therapy in metastatic colorectal cancer: accelerating clinical translation with collaborative meta-analyses based on individual- participant data $291,601.25 over the next three years 14. Professor George Paxinos University of New South Wales Fellowship in a 3D Cross- Modality Atlas of the Human Brainstem for Scientists and Clinicians $352,077 over the next three years 15. Dr Peter Psaltis South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI) New investigator grant in a study of the origins of macrophages in healthy and atherosclerotic vasculature focusing on a novel population of resident adventitial macrophage progenitor cells (AMPCs) $451,125.5 over the next three years 16. Professor John Toumbourou Deakin University Fellowship in estimating the contribution of adolescent alcohol misuse prevention to the reduction of alcohol-related harm in Australia $173,7697.5 over the next five years 17. Dr Jim Vadolas Murdoch Children's Research Institute Fellowship in identification and evaluation of novel epigenetic targets for the treatment of haemoglobin disorders $717,617 over the next three years 18. Associate Professor Nicholas Lintzeris University of Sydney Fellowship in an RCT of cannabinoid replacement therapy (Sativex®) for the management of treatment- resistant cannabis dependent patients $762,711.3 over the next three years HELEN VELISSARIS Professor John Toumbourou will track alcohol addiction in the young. Dr Jim Vadolas' work on thalassemia continues. Professor Christos Pantelis will be focusing on youth mental health.
25 October 2014
8 November 2014