$12 Million from NHMRC to tackle the world's biggest killers

The George Institute for Global Health was awarded almost $12 million from the NHMRC today for research that will improve the lives of people with chronic kidney disease, septic shock and chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD)

The four Project Grants and Partnership Projects will also enable researchers to improve the food supply in Australia, and complete a landmark trial in China investigating the link between cardiovascular disease and salt intake.

Professor Anushka Patel, Chief Scientist of The George Institute, said the results were particularly impressive because the success rate for the project grants was near to 30%, almost double the national average. Professor Patel said: “I know the hours and dedication put into these grant applications. It’s a huge undertaking so I am fully aware that there will be many researchers who will be disappointed to have missed out.

“For those who were successful in this round, including scholarship recipients, this funding will help millions of people here in Australia and many more globally.”

These are in addition to the successful recipients of NHMRC research fellowships and early career fellowships, previously announced.

The George Institute’s researchers have also been the recipients of six fellowships and grants from The Heart Foundation to investigate the causes, treatment, and prevention of heart, stroke and blood vessel disease.

NHMRC Project Grants

  • Associate Professor Sunil Badve, Research Fellow with The George Institute - $5.5 million to test out a new treatment for chronic kidney disease
    People who suffer from chronic kidney disease (CKD) are at much higher risk of suffering from cardiovascular (CV) disease. The TRACK trial will investigate the effectiveness of anti-thrombotic agents in the prevention of CV events or death specifically in people with advanced stages of CKD.​
  • Professor Christine Jenkins, Head of Respiratory Group, The George Institute - 3.5 million for a new approach for treating COPD
    Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease is the third leading global cause of death behind Ischaemic Heart Disease and Stroke. Around 30% deaths in patients with COPD are due to cardiac causes and new approaches to treatment for COPD are urgently needed. This trial will investigate the use of beta-blockers after multiple database reviews and meta-analyses strongly indicated that COPD patients do not suffer adverse lung function consequences
  • Professor Bruce Neal, Deputy Executive Director, The George Institute - $1.5 million for the Salt Substitute and Stroke Study (SSaSS)
    Around 21,000 people in rural China have been taking part in a trial to see if a low sodium diet would lead to a reduction in cardiovascular disease. These funds will enable the researchers to complete the five-year trial and collect face-to-face data at the completion of the trial in 2019 and 2020.
  • Professor Bala Venkatesh, Professional Fellow, The George Institute - $863,000 to evaluate vascular responsiveness in septic shock
    Sepsis and septic shock are major healthcare problems, affecting millions of people around the world each year, and killing as many as one in four. Systemic vasodilatation and arterial hypotension are the hallmarks of septic shock. This project will enable researchers to further understand the effects of septic shock, which may facilitate targeted treatment for shock and facilitate the discovery of new therapies.

NHMRC Partnership Project

  • Dr Jason Wu, The George Institute - $470,000 to evaluate the Healthy Food Partnership in Australia
    The aim of this project is to identify practical, commercially viable and high impact ways of improving the healthiness of foods purchased by Australians. This will be achieved by bringing together academic and commercial datasets describing different but highly complementary aspects of the nation’s food supply. A primary objective will be to support the Federal Government’s flagship Healthy Food Partnership that is designed to address diet-related ill health in Australia through a public-private partnership with the food industry.

NHMRC Postgraduate Scholarships

  • Joseph Alvin Santos - Salt Intake and Cardiometabolic Diseases: Exploring the link between national, household, and individual level salt-related factors with cardiometabolic disease risk in low- and middle-income countries.
  • Dr Brendon Neuen - Improving global outcomes in diabetes and chronic kidney disease.
  • Dr Jenny Chen - A Renal Patient’s Journey: Prediction analyses for chronic kidney disease and dialysis patients using health data linkage methodology.

Heart Foundation Future Leader Fellowships

Heart Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowships

  • Research Associate Kathy Trieu - Strategies to optimize sodium and potassium intake to lower blood pressure and cardiovascular risk.
  • Dr Candice Delcourt - Improving stroke care in regional/rural Australia by creating pathways to enhance the diagnosis and management of patients and build collaboration.

Heart Foundation Vanguard Grants

  • Dr Emily Atkins - The cost-effectiveness, acceptability, and tolerability of ultra-low-dose quadruples combination therapy in comparison to current guideline-recommended care.