Pioneering health research awarded NHMRC fellowship and funding

RMIT researchers working to harness the power of nanotechnology to personalise medicine and to develop new technology for analysing blood clots have been awarded over $1.4 million in NHRMC funding.

Professor Magdalena Plebanski was awarded a prestigious Senior Research Fellowship by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) in the latest funding round, to support her work on innovative immune-based therapies and diagnostics.

The $792,200 fellowship awarded to Plebanski, who leads the Translational Immunology and Nanotechnology Laboratory in the School of Health and Biomedical Sciences at RMIT and directs the Biomedical and Health Innovation Enabling Capability Platform, will advance research on using nanotechnology to deliver personalised medicine.

Her program of research will develop novel immunology and engineering approaches to develop vaccines, therapies and diagnostics, helping patients with ovarian cancer and malaria, and further validating lead technologies in human trials.

The research will also aim to determine the effects of age and mental health on immunity, with Plebanski leading a multidisciplinary team of clinicians and psychologists, to support the careful use of the novel therapies in vulnerable populations.

NHMRC Senior Research Fellow, Professor Magdalena Plebanski.

Vice-Chancellor’s Senior Research Fellow Dr Warwick Nesbitt was awarded a $657,500 development grant to support the development of a miniaturised system for the screening of blood platelet function.

Nesbitt and the team at RMIT’s Micro Nano Research Facility will work with industry partners Planet Innovation and collaborators at the Australian Centre for Blood Diseases, the Alfred Hospital and Monash University, to develop the microfluidic blood platelet analyser.

The device will have broad applications across clinical diagnostics for the screening of patients with both bleeding and clotting problems, and will also be developed as a screening tool for the identification of new anti-clotting drugs.

RMIT Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research and Innovation and Vice-President, Professor Calum Drummond, said the new NHMRC funding would support pioneering projects that would help patients, practitioners and researchers.

“Researchers at RMIT strive to bring practical and positive benefit to our communities, shaping the world through their innovation and industry collaboration,” Drummond said.

“These grants will enable our researchers to advance their outstanding work and deliver breakthroughs that make a real impact on future health outcomes.”

RMIT Honorary Professor Kourosh Kalantar-zadeh, now at UNSW, was also awarded an NHMRC development grant to further his research on the gas sensing gut pill

Dr Warwick Nesbitt, holding a prototype microfluidic chip, will work with industry partners to develop a microfluidic blood platelet analyser.

Story: Gosia Kaszubska

15 August 2018

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15 August 2018

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  • Research
  • Science and technology

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