$2m funding boost for innovative health and medical projects

Four researchers at The University of Western Australia have received nearly $2 million funding for projects including developing new therapy for liver cancer and pursuing a new treatment for gonorrhoea.

A total of $4,312,665 was awarded to nine Western Australian innovators and early-stage start-up companies to develop and commercialise cutting-edge health and medical innovations through the Innovation Seed Fund 2022-23.

“This funding empowers our researchers to push the boundaries of innovation, bringing us closer to groundbreaking solutions.”
-Professor Anna Nowak, UWA Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research)

The program is funded by the Future Health Research and Innovation Fund which provides a secure source of funding to drive health and medical research, innovation and commercialisation.

Professor Anna Nowak, UWA Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), said the Innovation Seed funding underscored UWA’s commitment to pioneering research that made a tangible impact on health and medicine.

“This funding empowers our researchers to push the boundaries of innovation, bringing us closer to groundbreaking solutions and I’d like to extend congratulations to all those researchers who were successful in being awarded funding,” Professor Nowak said.

Petri dishes full of colourful germs

Professor Minghao Zheng from the UWA Medical School and Perron Institute for Neurological and Translational Science was awarded $493,526 for a project that would look at creating a cutting-edge bone replacement material containing antibiotics, that would be used to treat  bone infection.

The material would help fight the infection while also providing support to the bone.

Associate Professor Charlene Kahler from UWA’s Marshall Centre for Infectious Diseases Research and Training in the School of Biomedical Sciences would use $499,780 funding to develop a new and innovative treatment for the sexually transmitted infection, gonorrhoea.

Her team includes Associate Professor Keith Stubbs and Professor Alice Vrielink at the School of Molecular Sciences (UWA), Professor Martin Scanlon at Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences (Monash University) and Associate Professor Matt Payne (Clinical Perinatal Research Laboratories, King Edward Memorial Hospital).

Professor Peter Leedman from the UWA Medical School and Director of the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research received $499,750 to research a new therapy that would use a specific small RNA molecule to target liver cancer cells.

And $499,994 was awarded to Associate Professor Lea-Ann Kirkham from the UWA Medical School, a research microbiologist at the Wesfarmers Centre of Vaccines and Infectious Diseases at the Telethon Kids Institute, for a world-first clinical trial on SpritzOM, a nasal vaccine that prevents ear infections.

Associate Professor Kirkham is the inventor of Spritz-OM.