Funding to date

Each year the RHH Research Foundation selects broad research priorities which will serve as the guiding areas for focus for consideration of its grants investments. This year, applications for all grants will be reviewed to determine their alignment with/capacity to address the following strategic priorities:

  • Aged care (including diseases of the elderly);
  • Chronic disease (including cancer);
  • Health Service Delivery and Outcomes (including acute care);
  • A healthy start to life (including maternal and child health); and
  • Social determinants of health (including mental heath).

Below is a list of our 2018 Research Grant recipients:

New Starter/Incubator Grants for 2018

The Peri-Peri project: the role of pericytes in placental function and perinatal outcomes

Project Team: Dr Brad Sutherland, Prof Peter Dargaville and Dr Lindsay Edwards.

This study will assess how pericytes, a specific cell that may control blood flow in placenta, could contribute to restricted growth of babies during pregnancy.


Continuous infusion of cephalosporins in elastomeric devices: physical, chemical and microbial stability

Project Team: Dr Rahul Patel, Dr Syed Tabish R Zaidi, Mr Troy Wanandy and Dr Louise Cooley.

Administration of intravenous antibiotics by patients using home infusion (elastomeric) devices is growing. Cephalosporins are one of the commonly used antibiotics and their stability in elastomeric infusion devices is lacking. This project will measure the physical, chemical and microbial stability of cephalosporins to enable their use in such devices.


CArdiac REhabilitation for the Secondary prevention of Stroke (CARESS)

Project Team: Dr Seana Gall, Dr Michele Callisaya, Dr Martin Schultz, Mr Berhe Sahle and Assoc Prof Helen Castley.

Stroke survivors have poor management of risk factors that increases their risk of another cardiovascular event. The project team will adapt the successful cardiac rehabilitation model used in people with heart disease for those recovering from stroke. The study aims to improve cardiovascular risk factors, reduce recurrent strokes and cardiovascular events.


Cystic Fibrosis: Investigating the acute stage of infection by Pseudomonas aeruginosa

Project Team: Dr Mark Ambrose, Dr  Sean Beggs and Mr James O’Brien.

Cystic fibrosis (CF) patients develop chronic lung infection by the bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa, which are resistant to antibiotic treatment. The study will target the early (acute) stage of infection by this organism, and the project team will use primary CF epithelial cells and Pseudomonas aeruginosa gene arrays to identify potential bacterial targets.


Assessment of the Basophil Activation Test as a tool for monitoring therapeutic responses to Jack Jumper Ant Venom Immunotherapy

Project Team: Mr Troy Wanandy, Dr Emily Mulcahy and Dr Wun Yee Lau.

This research project may lead to the establishment of a blood test (BAT) as a reliable marker of protection obtained from Jack Jumper Ant Venom Immunotherapy (JJA VIT). This investigation might also establish BAT as a useful test for predicting the chance of having allergic side effects to JJA VIT.


New Minor Project Grants for 2018

Functional interrogation of a novel locus associated with the development of Giant Cell Arteritis

Project Team: Assoc Prof Alex Hewitt, Mr Kristof Wing and Dr Joseph Powell.

Giant Cell Arteritis (GCA) is the most common form of vasculitis in elderly people. GCA is an ophthalmic emergency, making a timely diagnosis and intervention crucial. The project team has identified a novel locus which confers risk for GCA and this work will functionally interrogate the role of this locus. 


Childhood and adulthood determinants knee cartilage health assessed using biomarkers

Project Team: Dr Benny Eathakkattu Antony, Prof Changhai Ding, Prof Graeme Jones, Prof Alison Venn, Prof John Burgess, Assoc Prof Udayan Ray and Assoc Prof Venkat Parameswaran.

Identifying the modifiable risk factors from childhood itself is an ideal strategy to prevent osteoarthritis. The project team aims to explore the effect of physical activity and obesity measured from childhood to adulthood over 32 years on joint degradation biomarkers measured in adulthood.


A Clinical and Biospecimens Prostate Cancer Resource for Biomarker Research in Tasmania

Project team: Dr Liesel FitzGerald, Assoc Prof Joanne Dickinson, Dr Marketa Skala, Mr Brian Stokes, Dr Shaun Donovan, Dr Roslyn Malley, Dr Frank Redwig, Dr Adele Holloway and Dr Phillippa Taberlay.

The project team proposes building upon the clinically-focused Prostate Cancer Outcomes Registry, Tasmania (PCOR – TAS) and collecting matched biological samples to create a valuable resource for both clinicians and scientists. The availability of clinical and genetic data will allow important biomarker research into predicting prostate cancer outcomes and improving treatment strategies.


The modulation of multiple sclerosis (MS) relapse risk by genetic variations in the LRP2 gene

Project Team: Dr Yuan Zhou, Prof Bruce Taylor, Dr Jac Charlesworth and Assoc Prof Kathryn Burdon.

This study will sequence the associated LRP2 gene region to identify the functional variants that modulate MS relapse risk which is the primary end point of many pivotal clinical trials testing the efficacy of MS diseases-modifying drugs.


Demonstration of therapeutic protection of human cystic fibrosis (CF) respiratory cells against bacterial-mediated inflammation and cell death

Project Team: Dr Sean Beggs, Dr Louise Roddam and Ms Joanne Pagnon.

This research project will demonstrate for the first time that a new therapy directed against bacterial signalling is stable and able to prevent bacteria from inducing inflammation and cell death in respiratory epithelial cells from people with cystic fibrosis.   


Can anti-diabetic agents improve blood flow and outcome following stroke in type 2 diabetes?

Project Team: Dr Dino Premilovac, Dr Brad Sutherland, Prof John Burgess, Prof David Howells, Assoc Prof Lisa Foa and Assoc Prof Michelle Keske.

People with type 2 diabetes are four times more likely to have a stroke. Interestingly, common anti-diabetic drugs seem to improve patient outcomes following a stroke. This research project will determine whether anti-diabetic drugs improve brain flow dynamics to reduce stroke severity in an animal model of type 2 diabetes.

Project Grant for 2018 - 20

Identifying pathological pathways and putative therapeutics for the treatment of nervous system pathology in people with Multiple Sclerosis
Project Team: Dr Kimberley Pitman, Dr Kaylene Young, Prof Bruce Taylor, Dr Jac Charlesworth and Assoc Prof Alex Hewitt.

DNA sequencing of Tasmanian families with multiple closely related MS cases has implicated the GRIK4 gene in the development of this disease. This project aims to understand how GRIK4 affects the central nervous system, determine its role in disease pathogenesis, and repurpose existing pharmaceuticals targeting this pathway to offset neurodegeneration.

Project Grant for 2017-19

Paving the way for future stroke drug development: creating a new gold-standard model of stroke
Project Team: Dr Lila Landowski, Prof David Howells, Dr Helen Castley, Dr Brad Sutherland and Dr Matthew Kirkcaldie.

Stroke is a leading cause of death and chronic disability. Stroke therapeutics developed in animal models fail when translated into human clinical trials, due to flaws inherent in these models. The study breaks through this translational roadblock by using magnetic microparticles to induce an ischemic stroke that better recapitulates human stroke.

Project Grant for 2016 -18

Improved cardiovascular Disease hEALth service delivery in Australia (the IDEAL study)
- Dr Martin Schultz

The IDEAL study program will establish a new health service method with the goal of improving the measurement and delivery of information to general practitioners about the cardiovascular disease risk of their patients. This new health service method will be developed within Tasmanian Pathology Services and tested via a large-scale clinical trial. It is expected that the new health service method will reduce cardiovascular related hospitalisations and mortality.

Project Grant for 2015-17

The psychosocial determinants of treatment pathways, clinical outcomes and costs in Tasmanians with advanced chronic kidney disease
- Dr Charlotte McKercher

This state-wide study will assess over 600 Tasmanian adults living with advanced chronic kidney disease to examine the influence of psychosocial and medical comorbidities on kidney disease progression, treatment pathways, clinical outcomes and associated costs. This will support better informed decision-making and optimal use of healthcare expenditure within renal services.

Past funding

2017 (more information)

2016 (more information)

2015 (more information)

2014 (more information)

2013 (more information)

2012 (more information)

2011 (more information)

2010 (more information)

Official record of RHH Research Foundation funding; 1998 to date

Click here to download PDF