Menzies Institute secures NHMRC funding in important research areas

Published 23 Oct 2017

The Menzies Institute for Medical Research has received close to $650,000 in research funding, as part of the latest National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) grants.

A fellowship grant of $318,768, was awarded each to Dr Kimberley Pitman for research into genetic mutation and Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and to Dr Lei Si to research the value of osteoporosis interventions.

The NHMRC Early Career Fellowships support advanced level training in health and medical research that is of major importance in its field and benefit to the health of Australians.

Dr Pitman will use the funding to support research into understanding how a gene mutation related to MS leads to cell death in the brain and progressive disability.

MS is a major focus of research at The Menzies Institute.

“This fellowship is an excellent career opportunity for me and means I will be able to take the findings from clinic genetic studies of Tasmanian families with Multiple Sclerosis and perform laboratory based work to determine how particular genetic mutations can damage the nervous system,” Dr Pitman said.

“At the end of my fellowship I hope to have identified pathways involved in driving nervous system damage in Multiple Sclerosis and to have identified drugs that can be returned to the clinic to be tested as treatments to prevent this damage.”

Dr Lei Si also said the funding was a great boost to research efforts.

“Winning a NHMRC ECF is definitely a prestigious award recognising our health economics research undertaken at the Menzies Institute for Medical Research,” he said.

“The ECF enables me to continue to work with Professor Andrew Palmer to develop a publically accessible, cutting edge health economics model of osteoporosis in the Australian population - to identify cost-effective health care interventions to prevent fractures.”

Menzies director Professor Alison Venn congratulated the recipients.

“We are delighted with their success,” she said.

“The future of medical research depends heavily on how we foster the training and development of our talented early career researchers.

“These highly competitive fellowships provide a crucial launching pad and recognition of the researchers’ achievements and future plans.”