SAHMRI Investigators targeting early development and gut health

02 May 2024
SAHMRI Investigators targeting early development and gut health

Three researchers from the SAHMRI community have been successful in the latest round of highly prestigious Investigator grants from the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC).

Associate Professor Yvonne Clark, the Co-Leader of SAHMRI’s Aboriginal Communities and Families Health Research Alliance, was awarded more than $1.6m for a project called ‘Investing in the early years to improve social and emotional wellbeing of Aboriginal parents and young people’.

“The research focuses on empowerment of Aboriginal children, young people, pregnant mothers and their support people, including dads, to help alleviate stressors and improve access to services,” A/Prof Clark said.

Dr Jacqueline Gould leads SAHMRI’s recently formed Supporting Neurodevelopment Program. Her project ‘Supporting neurodevelopment through targeted nutrition’ will be administered by the University of Adelaide.

“Appropriate nutrition is the strongest non-genetic determinant of childhood neurodevelopment and IQ,” Dr Gould said.

“My program of research will combine the highest levels of evidence to resolve uncertainties about key nutrient requirements for pregnant women and infants born too soon.”

The University of Adelaide will also administer the successful project of Dr Hannah Wardill, who leads SAHMRI’s Supportive Oncology Group.

“People with blood cancer are often treated with very high doses of chemotherapy which cause a range of nasty side effects, some of which are lethal,” Dr Wardill said.

“This project aims to predict and prevent these side effects by developing a simple test to detect gut bacteria that are known to cause these side effects, and identifying microbes that can be delivered as a specialised probiotic to prevent side effects from occurring all together.”

The Investigator Grant scheme is the NHMRC’s largest funding scheme and is a major investment in Australia’s health and medical research workforce.

It provides Australia’s highest-performing researchers, across the spectrum of health research and at all career stages, with consolidated funding for their salary, if required, and a significant research support package for five years.

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