NHMRC Fellowships announced

1 November 2016

Five ANU academics have been recognised by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) with more than $2.6 million in funding for Research Fellowships and Early Career Fellowships.

Professor Ross Hannan has received a Research Fellowship for his work in cancer treatments, while Professor Carola Vinuesa received a Research Fellowship for her work in disease research. Both received $763,845 from the NHMRC.

Professor Hannan, Centenary Chair in Cancer Research and Head of Department, Cancer Biology and Therapeutics at The John Curtin School of Medical Research (JCSMR) said being awarded a NHMRC fellowship is one of the highest honours in Australian medical research.

"I have been fortunate to have held a NHMRC fellowship through renewal since 2001," he said. 

"Coming shortly after my recruitment to head the ACRF Department of Cancer Biology and Therapeutics at The John Curtin School of Medical Research, the renewal of my fellowship reinvigorates me to strive for even greater research outcomes over the next five years and to hopefully contribute to the success of ANU as a whole."

Professor Vinuesa, also from JCSMR, said the fellowship gives her enormous financial and psychological stability which allows her to plan ahead, take some risks and reduce the burden of non-research responsibilities.

"I will do my very best to return the dollars invested in me, so that patients suffering from immune diseases can benefit from my team's discoveries and young students and researchers grow under our mentorship and training," she said.

Three academics received Early Career Fellowships - Dr Kerri Viney for her work to end the global tuberculosis epidemic ($408,768), Dr Robert Summers for his work on contributing to the global campaign to eliminate malaria ($408,768) and Dr Lara Corr, from the National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health, for her research into protecting the mental health of children and childcare workers ($318,768).

Dr Summers, from the ANU Research School of Biology, said drug resistance in malaria is a persistent and increasing threat to human health globally and particularly in our region.

"I am excited and humbled by the award of an Overseas Early Career Fellowship from the NHMRC to pursue new strategies that use evolutionary principles to protect antimalarial drugs and suppress the emergence of resistance," Dr Summers said.

Dr Viney, from the ANU College of Medicine, Biology and Environment, said she was thrilled to receive an NHMRC Early Career Fellowship to work on tuberculosis (TB) in low and middle income countries, including the role of TB patient costs and social protection.

"This research will contribute directly to one of three main goals in the global End TB Strategy - which is 'zero catastrophic costs' for TB patients and their families," Dr Viney said.

"The research responds to a global need for more data on the role of costs in TB care and I will use these data to advocate for improved social protection policies in low and middle income countries."

Vice-Chancellor Professor Brian Schmidt congratulated the winners and said their research would make a real difference to the lives of people around the world.

"The NHMRC Fellowships underline the strength of great medical research at ANU and a commitment to help people live longer and healthier lives," Professor Schmidt said.