Archive - 2012

November 2012
October 2012
August 2012
June 2012
January 2012


November 2012

Unlocking genetic secrets of epilepsy

The Sansom’s epilepsy research group has identified genes responsible for autosomal dominant nocturnal frontal lobe epilepsy, in a development that has implications for genetic counselling and understanding more about the full spectrum of epilepsy disorders. Full story.

South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute: Principal Cancer Research Fellowship

Professor Shudong Wang, School of Pharmacy and Medical Sciences, has been awarded a Principal Cancer Research Fellowship, a highly competitive package with the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute, providing a total amount of $840,000 over four years (2013-2017). The new Beat Cancer Project Principal Cancer Research Fellowship Packages aim to support the objectives of the Beat Cancer Project by attracting and retaining excellent researchers with leadership prospects who will strengthen cancer research in South Australia and promote collaboration and the transfer of knowledge to achieve improved health outcomes. With only three fellowships awarded, this is a remarkable achievement.

Professor Wang’s fellowship aims to establish a Centre of Excellence in Drug Discovery and Development, and to develop a strong cancer research base at an international standard. This involves multi-disciplinary drug research, bringing together top talents in kinase-targeted cancer biology, medicinal chemistry, pharmacology and translational drug development.

October 2012

Sansom success in NHMRC grants and fellowships

Researchers from the Sansom Institute for Health Research have helped UniSA to double its funding for innovative health research with the latest grants and fellowships awarded by the National Health and Medical Research Council.

Leader of the Sansom’s Body in Mind research group, Professor Lorimer Moseley, won the NHMRC’s Marshall Warren Award, which recognises the best, highly innovative and potentially transformative grant-funded project in Australia. The award was in recognition of Lorimer’s ground-breaking work into chronic pain; he also gained an NHMRC project grant.

Meanwhile Professor Michael Roberts was awarded almost $2 million for two projects - one to better understand the properties of nanosystems to enable improved drug targeting via the skin, and another exploring the use of imaging technologies to develop appropriate drugs and doses for aged people and patients with liver diseases.

Leader of the Institute’s Social Epidemiology and Evaluation group, Professor Mark Daniel secured more than $1 million for a project to assess the infrastructure and contextual factors affecting cardio metabolic disease in Indigenous communities.

Other Sansom successes include:

  • Professor Corey Xian, awarded a research fellowship and a project grant for his work into bone growth and repair
  • Dr Tom Wycherley, awarded an early career fellowship for his work on nutritional intervention in Indigenous communities
  • Dr Natasha Stanton, awarded an early career fellowship for her research into osteoarthritis and brain training for pain management
  • Dr Stephanie Reuter-Lange, awarded an early career fellowship for her work into improving the treatment of infectious diseases
  • Professor Leonie Segal, of the Health Economics and Social Policy group, awarded a partnership grant for work into community mental health care
  • Dr Hannah Keage awarded a project grant for her research into dementia
  • Dr Karen Murphy awarded a project grant for research into the mediterranean diet and brain function
  • Professor Shudong Wang, of the Centre for Drug Discovery and Development, awarded a project grant for work to develop less toxic cancer treatments
  • Mrs Julie Luker, School of Health Sciences, International Centre for Allied Health Evidence, was awarded an Australian Research Fellowship from the NHMRC. The fellowship is part-time (0.5FTE) over four years to research early rehabilitation following a stroke.


Professor Michael Roberts, School of Pharmacy and Medical Sciences, is part of a team that has been awarded a National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Program Grant for over $6.8m over four years (2014-2018). Buckley N, Isbister G, Dawson A, Roberts M, ‘An integrated research program in human toxicology to ensure rapid translation of results into practice and regulation’ will propose an integrated and international human toxicology research program covering medicine and chemical poisoning, serious adverse drug reactions, snake and spider bites. The program’s focus is on the applied research needed to detect new problems and rapidly translate early findings into better treatment, regulations and policy.

Professor Tim Olds, School of Health Sciences, is a Chief Investigator on a $3,139,269 project funded by NHMRC based at Murdoch’s Children’s Research Institute, Victoria. Project details - Wake, M., Olds, T, Sawyer, M., Dwyer, T., Carlin, J., et al. (2011-2015) ‘Patterns, pathways and price of developing disparities in cardiovascular and respiratory health by age 11-12 years: The Longitudinal Study of Australian Children’.

Channel 7 Children's Research Foundation

Dr Carol Maher and Dr Jim Dollman, School of Health Sciences, have won a $70,000 competitive research grant from the Channel 7 Children’s Research Foundation. Dr Maher and Dr Dollman are co-investigators on Maher, C., Dollman, J., Thiessen, M. & Novita Children's Services ‘Step Up – a pedometer based physical activity self-management program for adolescents with physical disability’.

Associate Professor Susan Hillier, School of Health Sciences, David Hobbs and Ray Russo have been awarded a Channel 7 Grant of $65,000 for the project ‘Can children with cerebral palsy improve their hand sensation using special haptic computer games: a randomised controlled trial’.

Professor Cory Xian, Dr Rosa Chung, Dr May Song, and Dr Fiona Zhou, School of Pharmacy and Medical Sciences (Bone Growth and Research Repair), have been awarded three project grants from the Channel 7 Children’s Research Foundation:

  • Xian CJ, Howe PR: Channel 7 Children's Research Foundation – Towards a fish oil-based omega-3 therapy for preventing bone loss during chronic methotrexate chemotherapy, $75,000
  • Chung R, Song M, Xian CJ: Channel 7 Children's Research Foundation – The potential role of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) in the faulty bony repair of injured growth plate, $31,000
  • Zhou FH, Xian CJ: Channel 7 Children's Research Foundation – Cellular and Molecular Mechanism of Bone Pain Associated with Childhood Chemotherapy, $15,000.

Other grants

Dr Jim Dollman, School of Health Sciences, has won a $325,343 Australian Research Council Discovery Project Grant. Dr Dollman is co-investigator on Timperio, A., Cleland, V., Crawford, D. & Dollman, J. ‘Critical windows: understanding changes in eating and physical activity over the transition from late adolescence to young adulthood’.

A team led by Professor Leonie Segal, including Dr Matthew Leach and Professor Nicholas Proctor, from the School of Nursing and Midwifery, has been awarded a 2013 Partnership Grant of $368,533 over three years. The project is entitled ‘Implementing a needs-based evidence-driven primary health care workforce planning model to describe the multidisciplinary primary health care team necessary to deliver best practice in community mental health care and prevention’. Professor Segal (CIA) is joined by chief investigators Professor Patrick McGorry (CIB), Dr Matthew Leach (CIC) and Professor Nicholas Proctor (CID), and associate investigators from South Australia’s Department of Health.

Professor Tim Olds, Director of the Health and Use of Time Research Group, has won an $84,000 research grant from Beyond Blue. Professor Olds is co-investigator on Blunden, S., Olds, T., Banks, S. & Searle, A. ‘How much does cumulative sleep loss across a school term affect depression and anxiety in adolescent males?’.

Associate Professor Jennifer Keogh, School of Pharmacy and Medical Sciences, has been awarded a South Australian Cardiovascular Research Fellowship (a jointly funded initiative of the Heart Foundation and SA Health).

Professor Doug Brooks, Dr Emma Parkinson-Lawrence, and Dr Revecca Kakavanos Plew, from the School of Pharmacy and Medical Sciences, and Dr Lisa Butler (Adelaide Uni/Hanson Institute), have been awarded a National Breast Cancer Foundation Novel Concept Award for the years 2013-2014 ($197,444), for the project entitled ‘Defining altered endosome-lysosome biogenesis in breast cancer to aid in the identification of early diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers’.

Simon McRae, Praveen Pathak, and Dr David Foster (School of Pharmacy and Medical Sciences), were awarded $25,000 for their project ‘Evaluation of the acceptability of pharmacokinetic based dosing in patients with severe haemophilia in an Australian setting’ from the Australian Haemophilia Centre Directors' Organisation.

Sansom Director honoured

Director of the Sansom Institute for Health research, Professor Richard Head, received the CSIRO Medal for Lifetime Achievement on October 3, 2012. The Medal was awarded in recognition of Richard's sustained and meritorious achievement over more than 25 years with the CSIRO. Full story (external link).

Congratulations to our Tall Poppies for 2012

Two Sansom Institute for Health Research members - childhood obesity expert Dr Grant Tomkinson and Dr Hannah Keage, a psychologist specialising in dementia prevention - have been named winners in the 2012 SA Tall Poppy Awards.

The awards, presented each year by the Australian Institute for Policy and Science, celebrate the best and brightest of Australia’s young scientists, helping to promote science to a new generation via public talks and school presentations.

Dr Tomkinson, a member of the Sansom’s Health and Use of Time group, was honoured for his work into childhood fitness and obesity, which has recently included collecting historical fitness data showing that children’s aerobic fitness has declined worldwide since the mid-1970s. He is now involved in studies to help children to develop fitness habits to improve long-term health, as well as anthropometric research looking at changing body shapes.

“Being named a Tall Poppy was exciting and a little bit of a surprise,” he says. “I see it as a great opportunity to get out there and encourage children and the public to view science as a way to live out of their imaginations and to think up new ideas rather than relying on what they’ve always known.”

A co-director of the cognitive neuroscience laboratory, Dr Hannah Keage joined UniSA following a postdoctoral stint at the University of Cambridge, where her research linked cognition and clinical symptomatology with brain pathology in the elderly.

The Sansom Institute was particularly well represented in the Tall Poppy Awards this year, with Dr Antonina Mikocka-Walus, a health scientist whose work illuminates the interaction between psychology and digestion also named as a finalist.

Sansom researchers in SA science excellence awards

In other award news, The Sansom Institute’s Dr Stephanie Reuter-Lange and Dr Nicole Pratt have been named among the State’s top scientists at the 2012 Science Excellence Awards.

Dr Reuter-Lange, who in 2013 will travel to the US as a Fulbright scholar, won the PhD Research Excellence Award for Health and Medical Sciences for her work investigating the importance of the amino acid carnitine for kidney dialysis patients and people with chronic fatigue syndrome.

Dr Pratt, a research fellow at the Sansom’s Quality Use of Medicines and Pharmacy Research Centre, was one of three finalists in the Early Career STEM Professional (Health and Life Sciences) category.

She was selected in recognition of her work looking at how health care databases can be interrogated to provide information about the effects of medicines in vulnerable populations for whom limited clinical trial evidence exists.

August 2012

New Director for Sansom Institute

Professor Richard Head, a pharmacologist with more than 40 years research experience, has been appointed as the new director of the Sansom Institute for Health Research. Full story.

Centre of Research Excellence: Post-marketing surveillance of medicines and medical devices

University of South Australia researchers have been granted $2.5 million from the National Health and Medical Research Council to support research targeted at ensuring both medicines and medical implants are used more safely in the Australian community.

The five-year research project to be led by Associate Professor Libby Roughhead from UniSA’s Sansom Institute for Health Research, will tackle the costly problems of adverse events of medicines and failures, or adverse effects from medical implants and devices. Please read the full story.

June 2012

Mary the microbiologist awarded an AO

Mary BartonCongratulations to Sansom research leader Emeritus Professor Mary Barton, who was awarded an Order of Australia Medal in the recent Queen’s Birthday honours list.

The award acknowledges her contribution to veterinary science and public health as a researcher, microbiologist and educator.

A leading authority on antibiotic-resistance, Professor Barton heads the Sansom Institute’s Infectious Diseases and Microbiology Research Group, is an RSPCA board member, and is highly-regarded in scientific circles for her research into food-borne infection and foal pneumonia caused by Rhodococcus equi.

Since joining UniSA in 1996 she has mentored numerous research students – many of whom have gone on to establish international careers in microbiology and public health – which she says is one of the most satisfying aspects to a career that has spanned five decades.

“Winning the award was a big surprise and I’d like to thank all my colleagues and students who have made my career so enjoyable and without whom I wouldn’t have achieved anything.”

Made an Emeritus Professor at UniSA in 2011, Mary says she will continue to work towards two goals: a vaccine for Rhodococcus equi, and mainstream adoption of antibiotic-free animal production.

January 2012

Grants roundup: $2.5m for new centre to prevent chronic conditions

A grant to establish a Centre of Research Excellence (CRE) for the Prevention of Chronic Conditions in remote and rural communities leads an impressive list of funding success for Sansom Institute researchers in the latest annual roundup of competitive grants.

Professor Robyn McDermott has secured funding of $2.5 million over four years for the CRE, in partnership with the Aboriginal Health Council of South Australia, Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Health Council, the Royal Flying Doctor Service, and James Cook University.

The Australian Primary Health Care Research Institute (APHCRI) is funding the CRE, which will evaluate models for primary health care services for Indigenous and other high risk groups in rural and remote areas.

The focus will be on improving service delivery regarding the prevention and management of chronic diseases such as diabetes, renal and heart conditions, and mental ill-health, as well as the complications arising from these.

Other Sansom research projects and academics (highlighted) that received grants in 2011 were:


Project Grants administered by UniSA:
Dr Michael Sorich, Professor Ross McKinnon, Associate Professor Michael Coory, Brita Pekarski: Can decision analytic modelling promote clinical translation of personalised medicine markers for oncology drugs? ($68,725)
Dr Paul Anderson, Professor Howard Morris, Dr Andrew Turner, Associate Professor Gerald Atkins: Vitamin D synthesis within osteoblasts increases bone mineral by regulating remodelling: Is this the link between Vitamin D status and fractures? ($606,010)
Dr Grant Brinkworth, Associate Professor Manny Noakes, Associate Professor Jon Buckley, Professor Campbell Thompson, Dr Natalie Luscombe-Marsh, Professor Carlene Wilson: Long-term effects of a very low carbohydrate, low saturated fat diet compared to a conventional high carbohydrate, low fat diet on glycemic control and cardiovascular disease risk in overweight and obese patients with type 2 diabetes. ($1,267,290)
Dr Janna Morrison, Associate Professor Sandy Orgeig: Optimising lung surfactant protein production in the IUGR fetus at risk of preterm delivery ($448,675)
Administered through other institutions:
Professor Gary Wittert, Professor Bu Yeap, Dr Mathis Grossman, Dr Carolyn Allan, Professor Robert McLachlan, Associate Professor Ann Conway, Dr Joey Kaye, Associate Professor Alicia Jenkins, Professor Mark Daniel: Testosterone intervention for the prevention of diabetes mellitus in high risk men: a randomised trial. ($4,822,905)
Dr Kerrilyn Diener: The consequences of innate immune inflammatory responses during early pregnancy and their effect on reproductive outcomes. ($356,175)


Linkage Grants administered through UniSA:
Dr John Hayball, Kylie Sproston, Associate Professor Marianne Chapman: The development of a potent new passive immunotherapeutic for the treatment and prevention of bacterial sepsis and septic shock ($183,000)
Partner Organisations: BTG Australasia Pty Ltd, Royal Adelaide Hospital

Professor Cory Xian, Professor Howard Morris, Christopher Gregory: Towards a cost-effective therapy for osteoporosis using Australian indigenous emu oil ($300,000)
Partner Organisation: Emu Tracks Australasia Pty Ltd

Discovery Grants

Administered by UniSA:
Professor Mark Daniel, Professor Ross Bailie, Dr Margaret Cargo, Dr Catherine Paquet, Professor Alex Brown, Associate Professor Sharon Bruce: Investigating social, built and physical environment factors for remote Indigenous communities, and their relationships with cardiometabolic outcomes. ($219,000)
Administered through other institutions:
Associate Professor Zhi Ping Xu, Associate Professor Andrei Zvyagin, Professor Michael Roberts: Skin penetration of nanoparticles promoted by particle design, formulation and application method. ($360,000)

Channel 7 Children’s Research Foundation

Professor Jason White: Does Stimulant Medication Cause Brain Damage in Children? ($72,000)
Dr James Dollman: Exploring predictors of physical activity attrition and maintenance among females in early adolescence. ($56,000)

Canadian Institutes of Health Research

Jean Caron, Ph.D., Anne G. Crocker, Ph.D., Mark Daniel, Ph.D., Marie-Josée Fleury, Yan Kestens, Ph.D., Norbert Schmitz, Ph.D : The CIHR Team in Social and Psychiatric: Epidemiology and the development of an Epidemiological Catchment Area in the South. West of Montreal: An extension of the longitudinal study on mental health and an investigation of its comorbidity with physical health. ($1,744,470)
Katherine L. Frohlich, Thomas Abel, Paul Bernard, Mark Daniel, Clément Dassa, Geetanjali Datta, Yan Kestens, Bernard-Simon Leclerc, Jennifer O'Loughlin, Louise Potvin, Martine Shareck: Interdisciplinary study of inequalities in smoking (ISIS). ($556,360)
Sharon Bruce, Mark Daniel, Barry Lavallee, Lawrence Elliott, Mahmoud Torabi, Natalie Riediger, Garry Shen, Miyoung Suh: Exploring the role of established and non-traditional risk factors on diabetes and cardiovascular disease among a Manitoba First Nation population. ($524,184)
Australian Department of Health and Aging
Dr Matt Haren, Professor Mark Daniel,
Dr Siobhan Banks, Associate Professor Gary Misan, Associate Professor John Buckley, Professor Peter Howe: iWhyalla: Intervention Whyalla – A workplace-based obesity and diabetes primary and secondary prevention trial. ($100,000)

Heart Foundation Grant-in-Aid

Dr Michael Sorich, Professor John Horowitz, Professor Jonathan Karnon, Professor Ross McKinnon, Associate Professor Michael Coory: Assessing of the value of the confirmatory studies required for the widespread uptake of personalised cardiovascular medicine. ($64,602)
Associate Professor Janna Morrison, Professor Douglas Brooks, Professor Kent Thornburg, Professor Jens Nyengaard: Intrauterine growth restriction and the programming of heart growth and development. ($120,000)

Other grants

A consortium headed by McKinsey and Company Australia and including Professor Robyn McDermott, Professor Adrian Esterman and Professor Leonie Segal won a tender put out by the Commonwealth Department of Health to run a pilot coordinated care trial for diabetes in Australia.

Professor Nicholas Proctor is part of a national consortium that secured a $2.7 m multicultural project in mental health promotion and suicide prevention (consortium members include UniSA, the University of Melbourne and the Victorian Transcultural Psychiatry Unit and Queensland Health)

Dr Talitha Best was awarded a Researchers in Business grant through the Australian Government's Enterprise Connect initiative.

Associate Professor Jon Buckley, Professor Peter Howe, Dr Alison Coates, Dr Janet Bryan and Dr Alison Hill won a $120,000 grant from the Grains Research and Development Corporation to examine the health effects of increased consumption of pulses.

Dr Rasika Jayasekara and Marija Juraja were successful in a tender with NHMRC for $34,000 to develop a guide on infection prevention and control in residential aged care and community care settings.


Translating Research into Practice Fellowship: Dr Susan Thomas (2 years)
Early Career Fellowship: Dr Nicole Pratt (3 years)
Career Development Fellowship: Associate Professor Leanne Dibbens (3 years)
Cancer Council SA and SA Health
Senior Cancer Research Fellowship: Professor Ross Butler (3 years)
Heart Foundation and SA Health
SA Cardiovascular Research Development Program Fellowship: Dr Jim Dollman (3 years)
Heart Foundation
Fellowship: Dr Rebecca Golley (3 years

Tall Poppies SA finalists:
Neuroscientist Dr Michelle McDonnell (NRC, Allied Health Evidence)
Biomedical expert Dr Roger Yazbek (PMB, Mechanisms in Cell Biology and Diseases)
Health scientist Dr Grant Tomkinson (HLS, Health and Use of Time)
Cardiovascular nutrition expert Dr Alison Hill (HLS)

Other awards:
South Australian Science Excellence Awards
Dr Natalie Sinn won the Early Career STEM professional category in health and life science:
Dr Sarah List was a finalist in the category Early Career STEM educator of the Year.

Professor Andrew Gilbert was named the 2011 recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award in the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia's Excellence Awards.

Dr Olasumbo Ndi was awarded an African Chamber of Commerce of SA National Award for excellence in science for her work into antibiotic resistance and food-bourne disease.

Areas of study and research

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