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Sydney researchers: Sydney researchers awarded over $48 million in NHMRC Investigator Grants

EducationSydney researchers: Sydney researchers awarded over $48 million in NHMRC Investigator Grants

Sydney researchers: Researchers at the University of Sydney have been granted more than $48 million over 5 years in the 2023 NHMRC Investigator Grants. Funding 23 projects to help solve some of the world’s most pressing problems

National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Investigator Grants support the 4 pillars of health and medical research. And those are biomedical, clinical, public health and health services research. And researchers at all career stages. The scheme is designed to allow flexibility to pursue important new research directions, to form collaborations. And to foster innovative and creative research.

The projects awarded range from gender-informed prevention of mental health and substance use problems. To generating and testing falls and mobility impairment solutions, and using artificial intelligence to understand impaired sensory processing in autis

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Emma Johnston said,

“The success of our science, medicine and health researchers in the Investigator scheme demonstrates our outstanding capabilities across all four pillars of health and medical research. The diversity of research we undertake at Sydney to improve health outcomes for people everywhere really is impressive.

“Once again, this round of the scheme is characterised by the exceptionally strong performance of our female and early or mid-career colleagues, with 16 women, five associate professors and nine doctors receiving awards. It is also terrific to see that so many awardees are members of our multi- and interdisciplinary research centres. The Matilda Centre team deserves a particular mention, with four researchers receiving funding this round.

“I congratulate all our researchers on their success. And I am proud that we are building an interconnected health and medical research ecosystem where everybody can flourish.”


See below for highlights and a full list of the successful researchers.

The nutritional geometry of immunity, obesity and appetite
Professor Stephen Simpson, Director of the Charles Perkins Centre

“Nutrition offers huge untapped potential to prevent and treat disease. Acting on the shared immune and metabolic systems that simultaneously contribute to many age-related diseases.”

“We have developed powerful modelling frameworks for understanding how the many interacting dimension of nutrition influences chronic-, obesity- and age-related diseases. We will now use these models to address the other major group of human diseases, infections.”

“The project will involve nutrition scientists, modellers, immunologists, epidemiologists, clinicians and many others, in an integrated, interdisciplinary program based at the University of Sydney’s Charles Perkins Centre.”

The VAPE program: Trends, prevention and implementation of evidence-based strategies for reducing vaping among young people in Australia
Dr Emily Stockings from the Faculty of Medicine and Health and the Matilda Centre

“This project will address the rapidly rising rates of youth vaping by monitoring vaping trends. And engaging the voice of young people to develop preventive resources for use in schools and community settings.”

“This innovative project will use iterative co-design approaches to develop resources to prevent and reduce vaping in young people. We will bring these to scale via implementation into health, community and school settings.”

“By adopting a holistic approach to vaping prevention. This project will develop new resources to reduce vaping and improve young people’s overall physical and mental health, coping strategies. And their engagement with health and community services.”

Harnessing the therapeutic potential of hepatotropic silver sulfide quantum dot nanomedicines for ageing and age-related diseases
Professor David Le Couteur from the Faculty of Medicine and Health and the Charles Perkins Centre

“This research will discover how ageing influences the liver’s regulation of the immune system. And how this contributes to inflammation in age-related diseases.

The next step is to modify nanomedicines that we have created to treat and prevent diabetes. To prevent age-related diseases by targeting the liver’s immune roles.”


Full list of NHMRC Investigator Grants to the University of Sydney

  • Professor Stephen Simpson – The nutritional geometry of immunity, obesity and appetite ($2.9 million)
  • Professor David Le Couteur – Harnessing the therapeutic potential of hepatotropic silver sulfide quantum dot nanomedicines for ageing and age-related diseases ($2.9 million)
  • Professor Catherine Sherrington – Falls and mobility impairment: generating and testing equitable solutions to implement and scale-up ($2.9 million)
  • Professor Elizabeth Elliott – Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder: improving knowledge, diagnosis and health outcomes ($2.9 million)
  • Professor Philip Hogg – Improving durability of treatment for haemophilia A ($2.9 million)
  • Professor Katherine Mills – Disrupting the cycle of post-traumatic stress and substance use disorders: Innovations in treatment and early intervention ($2.9 million)
  • Associate Professor Laura Piccio – Targeting neuroinflammation in neurodegenerative diseases: Integrated approach to study pathogenic mechanisms and develop new treatments ($2.9 million)
  • Professor Muireann Irish – Enhancing the early and accurate diagnosis of frontotemporal dementia ($2.7 million)
  • Associate Professor Katy Bell – Driving the transition to high value testing to benefit the health of all ($2.7 million)
  • Dr Tanya Golubchik – Expanding the field of view: from pathogen-centric to syndromic genomics ($2.7 million)
  • Associate Professor Joanne Reed – Using Genomics to transform the diagnosis and treatment of autoimmune disease ($2.6 million)
  • Associate Professor Lexine Stapinski – Innovative solutions to prevent and treat the vicious cycle of anxiety and alcohol use ($2.6 million)
  • Professor Cath Chapman – Gender-informed prevention of mental health and substance use problems: addressing a changing global landscape in adolescence and beyond ($2.6 million)
  • Professor Leanne Togher – Delivering technology-enabled care for people with acquired brain injury at scale ($2.5 million)
  • Associate Professor Michelle Dickson – Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander wellbeing: Developing and implementing culturally relevant and robust wellbeing measures ($1.8 million)
  • Dr Gustavo Machado – Reshaping the management of musculoskeletal pain ($1.5 million)
  • Dr Christina Abdel Shaheed – Optimising the quality use of medicines for pain ($1.5 million)
  • Dr Emily Stockings – The VAPE Program: Trends, prevention and implementation of evidence-based strategies for reducing vaping among young people in Australia ($1.5 million)
  • Dr Jillian Eyles – Strategies to promote best-practice osteoarthritis care ($660,000)
  • Dr Ernest Epko – SMaRT-P: Streamlined mammography recall and triaging pathways 11 ($660,000)
  • Dr Nicholas Everett – Developing novel strategies for stimulating the oxytocin system to treat methamphetamine addiction ($660,000)
  • Dr Reuben Rideaux – Using artificial intelligence to understand impaired sensory processing in autism ($640,000)
  • Dr Janani Thillainadesan – Microlearning-enhanced education of junior doctors to improve the care and outcomes of hospitalised older adults ($500,000)

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