Cardiology, TB, aging and immunology – Centenary wins support for research thrust

Centenary, Media releases

Centenary scientists have won over $5 million in the latest NHMRC grant round – with seven research grants and three early career fellowships.

The development of a TB vaccine, the genetic regulation of ageing, the fundamental workings of the immune system, the genetic basis of heart disease—these are some of the research areas of key interest to Centenary Institute for which the Australian Government has announced funding through the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC).

Centenary also boasts three new NHMRC Early-Career Fellows along with seven significant research projects in the medical research funding released on Friday.

“These grants are critical to the development of Australian medical research. The Australian Government is to be commended for its continued high level of support,” said Professor Mathew Vadas, Executive Director of Centenary Institute. “My congratulations to all who were successful.”

“We were especially proud of our early career research fellows, all of whom succeeded in getting funded. Against a national average strike rate of one in four this was truly impressive and reflects the importance we place in nurturing our next generation.”

“This performance demonstrates how highly Centenary’s efforts are regarded by the nation’s major medical funding body.”

Centenary won grants in the areas of:

  • T Cell Biology – Professor Barbara Fazekas de St Groth has been funded to investigate how immune cells develop tolerance of particular compounds. This fits in with her work on how the immune system, as a layered defence mechanism, recognises friendly bacteria.
  • Molecular Cardiology—Professor Chris Semsarian has had two projects funded: one to look at the link between genetically-based heart disease and epilepsy; the other to continue work on the genetic basis in families of the cause of sudden cardiac death, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.
  • TB research—Professor Warwick Britton has been funded to continue work on developing a vaccine against TB that can be administered to the lungs. Vaccine development has been a long-term goal of his work. His colleague Dr Guangda Feng has been funded to explore the immunology of infection and the role of interferon.
  • Immune Imaging—Professor Wolfgang Weninger has been funded to study how the regulation of antibody-related immunity in the deeper layers of the skin varies with age. Dr Christopher Jolly will be investigating how the movement of cancer-promoting genes in the genome is encouraged and suppressed.
  • Ageing—Dr Masaomi Kato has been funded to study the genetic regulation of ageing.

The Institute’s three new NHMRC early-career fellows are:

  • Dr Stefan Oehlers who will be studying the relationship between inflammation and the proteins produced by the TB bacterium;
  • Dr Aaron McGrath who will work on the molecular basis of resistance to multiple drugs in breast cancer cells; and
  • Dr Caroline Medi who will be looking at a puzzling aspect of the genetic link to heart disease, the lack of clear-cut diagnostic symptoms.

For further information

Suzie Graham, 0418 683 166,
Niall Byrne, 0417 131 977,

About the Centenary Institute

The Centenary Institute is an independent leader in medical research seeking improved treatments and cures for cancer, cardiovascular, autoimmune, liver, genetic and infectious diseases. We are working to discover new prevention, early diagnosis and treatment options to enable each generation to live longer, healthier lives than the one before. Centenary’s affiliation with the RPA Hospital and the University of Sydney means that our discoveries can be quickly applied to the fight against disease in the clinic. More at: http//