Researchers tackle HIV and brain injury with NHMRC funding success

Researchers tackle HIV and brain injury with NHMRC funding success

Three RMIT researchers have been awarded a total of $2.5 million in funding for projects investigating brain damage in infants and new treatments for managing HIV.

The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) grants will fund three research projects from RMIT’s School of Health and Biomedical Sciences for up to four years.

Treating infants with brain damage

Dr Mary Tolcos was awarded funding for research to restore brain development and improve the neurological outcomes for babies born with damaged brains as a result of foetal growth restriction.

Treatment could reduce the risk of infants developing learning and behavioural problems later in life and even cerebral palsy.

Improving outcomes for HIV sufferers

Two projects tackling the associated health risks of HIV were also awarded funding, giving new hope to people living with the infection.

Professor Melissa Churchill received a grant to continue research into HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders which are present in as many as 70% of affected individuals.

She is working to identify the mechanisms that underpin the development of these disorders, paving the way for future treatments that may bring this number down.

Associate Professor Anthony Jaworowski was awarded funding to continue research to help achieve remission by understanding how the immune system targets and kills HIV-infected cells in the body.

This could greatly reduce the associated health risks experienced by people living with HIV and significantly improve treatment outcomes.

RMIT Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research and Innovation and Vice-President, Professor Calum Drummond, said the NHMRC grant success reinforced RMIT’s strengths in innovative health and medical research.

“Our researchers have a strong track record of developing medical technologies and delivering health and medical research that has tangible benefits for our communities," he said.

“These grants will help our researchers to continue their outstanding work to improve the lives and health of patients in Australia and around the world.”

Story: Grace Taylor

12 December 2018

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12 December 2018

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