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$2.5million in NHMRC grants for ECU

Monday, 22 October 2012


ECU-led projects focussing on cyberbullying, melanoma research, and stroke rehabilitation have received National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) grants, totalling over $2.5million dollars.

The grants were announced by Minister for Health Tanya Plibersek, rewarding ground breaking medical research across Australia.

ECU cyberbullying expert and 2012 WA Australian of the Year Professor Donna Cross received an NHMRC Mental Health Targeted Grant worth $620,000 for her project, which focuses on targeted interventions to reduce mental health problems resulting from bullying in schools.

The study directly involves students and focuses on comprehensive training for school support staff, such as school psychologists, who work directly with students who bully.

ECU’s Melanoma research also received a boost, receiving more than $551,000 for a project which looks at the mutation characteristics of melanomas and the creation of personalised treatment programs for each case.

Led by Associate Professor Mel Ziman, the project will carry on from the Centre's previous groundbreaking melanoma research which focuses on developing a simple blood test to detect melanoma cells.

Head of ECU’s School of Psychology and Social Science, Professor Beth Armstrong received grants for two different projects, focussing on the rehabilitation of stroke and traumatic brain injury survivors.

A $742,000 grant was awarded to her project, which aims to prove that early treatment of aphasia (a language disorder that affects 1 in 3 stroke survivors) improves recovery of talking and understanding. Currently 70 per cent of survivors do not get early treatment.

Her second project focuses on communication rehabilitation for Indigenous stroke victims and traumatic brain injury survivors.  The first of its kind, the study was awarded $634,000 to investigate the extent and impact of Acquired Communication Disorder (a common result of brain damage) in urban and rural Indigenous Australians.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Advancement) Professor John Finlay-Jones congratulated all researchers on receiving such high profile recognition.

“Receiving four NHMRC grants is a fantastic achievement for the University and shows that we are leading the way in a number of new and innovative research projects,” Professor Finlay-Jones said.

“Congratulations to Professor Cross, Associate Professor Ziman and Professor Armstrong. I look forward to following their projects as they come into fruition.”

ECU also received an equipment grant to the value of $5,743, which will go towards purchasing equipment associated with the grants.

For more information and to view the full list of grant recipients visit the NHMRC website.


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