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Nine Sydney researchers to receive funding for biomedical research projects
The Ramaciotti Foundations awarded nearly $645,000 in grants to nine Sydney researchers at a gala dinner, to support continued outstanding biomedical research.

It also awarded over $1.6 million to 23 recipients at the annual awards evening in Brisbane.

Professor Roger Reddel from the Children’s Medical Research Institute (CMRI) will use the grant to purchase a Typhoon FLA9500 Biomolecular Imager, which is essential for the expansion of CMRI’s discovery program.

“The CMRI doesn’t currently have an instrument available with similar capabilities and this piece of equipment will be used by 80% of CMRI scientists for a range of projects. In particular, the equipment will be vital for our Centre for Kinomics which provides an entirely new approach to the understanding of cancer therapeutic drugs and ways to improve them, which will benefit cancer research and drug discovery across Australia,” said Prof. Reddel.

“We have several drug development programs underway that are focused on new kinds of treatments for previously untreatable forms of epilepsy, cancer and kidney disease. The piece of equipment that the Ramaciotti Foundations have helped to fund will help to bring new treatments for these diseases to the clinic more quickly,” he said.

Doctor Edwin Lim is working at Macquarie University in the Australian School of Advanced Medicine in Sydney. His project aims to map the kynurenine pathway (degradation of the essential amino acid tryptophan) during the progression of motor neuron disease. Previous studies from his group indicate that this pathway may play a significant role in the progression of the disease.

“The kynurenine pathway metabolises tryptophan, a naturally occurring amino acid that is used by the body as one of the building blocks of protein. However, during pathologic state, this pathway may lead to the production of several active metabolites that can be toxic for the brain cells” said Dr. Lim.

 “I plan to map this pathway in order to explore the links between the level of inflammation, the degree of pathway abnormality, the severity of the disease and its progression. With a better understanding of the pathway during motor neuron disease progression, we’ll be able to devise and apply various strategies to limit this disease progression,” said Dr. Lim.

The Ramaciotti Foundations will also award grants to seven other medical researchers from Sydney:

Professor Iain Campbell from the University of Sydney, who will purchase state-of-the-art instrumentation for the characterization of protein interactions

Associate Professor Kevin Keay from the University of Sydney, who will purchase a nanoparticle characterization system

Doctor Elizabeth New from the University of Sydney, who will research the role of oxidative stress in obesity

Associate Professor Mark Raftery from the University of NSW, who will purchase a gas chromatograph triple stage quadrupole

Doctor Bill Giannkopoulos from the University of NSW, who will undertake a 1-year international multicentre study to establish whether it’s possible to predict which patients are at risk of having an initial thrombotic event. A risk prediction model for thrombosis will then be built to assess and quantify risk prediction.

Doctor Rylie Green from the University of NSW, who will study living electrodes in order to bridge the device-tissue interface

Doctor Terence Chua from the University of NSW, who will undertake a series of clinical researches on gastrointestinal cancer treatment and will use the grant to employ a research assistant

Each year the Ramaciotti Foundations, managed by Perpetual, support biomedical research through significant distributions via the Ramaciotti Awards, providing assistance to areas of research such as molecular biology, genetics and immunology, and assisting young researchers taking up new challenges in biomedical research.

Mr. Andrew Thomas, General Manager, Philanthropy at Perpetual said, “As one of the largest private contributors to the biomedical field, the Ramaciotti Foundations are an important event on the medical calendar. This year, the Foundations awarded over $1.6 million in grants to researchers across Australia.

He added, “The scope of this year’s award recipients’ work is truly impressive. We congratulate each winner on their outstanding contribution to biomedical research internationally. Their work is a testament to the value of Australian-lead innovation.

“Australia’s biomedical researchers do extraordinary work, every day, to improve the health and lives of everyone in the community. The Ramaciotti Awards are an important opportunity to recognize some of the best work in the sector, and to provide the funding to make it possible,” Mr. Thomas said.

The Ramaciotti Foundations were established in 1970 by Vera Ramaciotti with $6.7 million in funds. Since then, the charitable trusts have donated more than $52.5 million to biomedical research.

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