Dr Gina Trapp - Public Health (Australia) Early Career Fellowship
Dr Gina Trapp is passionate about nutrition, physical activity and obesity prevention and management.
She's a qualified nutritionist and completed her PhD earlier this year looking at the neighbourhood environment and physical activity benefits of kids walking to school.
Gina will use her Fellowship to extend her research in the field of neighbourhood environments to nutrition. Her research will explore factors such as the geographical location of food outlets and how they influence the eating behaviours and obesity risk in young people.
"Healthy eating contributes to an overall sense of wellbeing and is a cornerstone in the prevention of many diseases such as diabetes, obesity and cancer," says Gina.
"A new and growing body of research is investigating whether the neighbourhood in which people live has an important role to play in determining food choices and obesity risk.
"To date, many studies have focused on adults, with less attention on young people so I hope to shed some light on the food decisions of young people."
Carrington Shepherd - Public Health (Australia) Early Career Fellowship
Carrington Shepherd wants his research to increase the pace of change towards health equity for Aboriginal people in Australia.
His Fellowship research will look at the social pathways to good and poor physical and mental health outcomes in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children. This includes a focus on pathways to preventable childhood deaths.
Carrington says this will identify the most significant social factors that drive ill health, disease and death in Aboriginal kids.
"My research findings will also provide a greater appreciation of the interaction of these factors in childhood," he says, "and improve population health strategies that aim to prevent poor health outcomes in early life."
Carrington will look at the socioeconomic disparities in the health and development of Aboriginal children in Australia as well as investigate the causal pathways from socioeconomic status (SES) to disease and death.
Dr Shannon Simpson - Peter Doherty Biomedical Early Career Fellowship
Dr Shannon Simpson first developed a passion for the workings of the respiratory system in her honours year at La Trobe University.
Today, Shannon is a post doctoral researcher at the Telethon Institute working across a number of projects including the early surveillance/intervention of children with cystic fibrosis, the long term effects of preterm birth and the development of a new method to diagnose exercise-induced asthma in young children.
Shannon's Fellowship research will look at the early identification and treatment of babies at highest risk of having problems after premature birth.
"I'll be measuring respiratory, cardiac and muscle function in preterm babies so that I can look not just at the lungs but the entire thoracic system of these babies," explains Shannon.
"This will provide me with a unique integrated
understanding of the thoracic consequences of preterm birth and how
these babies at highest risk of adverse outcomes can best be
2012 Outstanding Young
Investigators, University of Western
7 August, 2013
Congratulations to Kristjana Einarsdottir and Hayley Christian
who have both been recognised as 2012 Outstanding Young
Investigators by UWA.
The award recognizes outstanding research achievements and leadership potential among emerging investigators who are at the stage of building independent research careers. 43 applications were received for this award, six were given in total.
Well done Kristjana and Hayley - a fantastic achievement. We are very proud of you and look forward to more great things from you both in the future.
Telethon Institute Seed Funding
28 September, 2012
Congratulations to the winners of the first round of Small Grant Funding.
Dr Saskia Decuypere
Project: A novel approach to address the diagnostic conundrum of severe febrile illness in African Children.
Project: Molecular Genetics of Novel Paediatric Brain Tumour Models.
Project: Understanding the molecular mechanism that lead to hypospadias.
Project: Validating and enhancing population-based data linkage for infectious disease research.
Project: Discovery of new regulatory elements in dendritic cells.
Dr Guicheng (Brad) Zhang
Project: Genome-wide DNA methylation profiling in Chinese immigrants.
Dr Louisa Alessandri Memorial Fund
13 August, 2012
The Dr Louisa Alessandri Memorial Fund (LAMF) annual Oration evening was held at the Institute on Monday 13th August 2012.
This year we welcomed Professor Donna Cross as the guest orator and were enthralled by her research on bullying and cyberbullying and the incredible work that is being done by her team to try and educate children, families and schools as to the ways that we can prevent children being bullied or put at risk by the rapidly developing online world.
Professor Jonathan Carapetis attended his first LAMF function to award the Dr Louisa Alessandri Memorial Fund Award for Excellence and Commitment in Research and acknowledge the contributions made to the Institute by the nominees.
The winner this year was Kim Khoo, and the nominees were (in alphabetical order): Georgia Banton, Katherine Bathgate, Jenny Bourke, Jenny Downs, Richard Francis, Anna Hunt and Andrew Whitehouse.
Thanks to all who attended and particularly to the LAMF Committee and volunteers Peter Jacoby, Steve Ball, Jan and Hugh Payne, Colette Newcomb and Margaret Wood for helping out on the night.
PhD Student wins UWA 3 minute thesis challenge
6 August, 2012
A Telethon Institute PhD psychology student who is investigating why boys develop language at a slower rate than girls will represent The University of Western Australia in the 2012 Trans-Tasman Three Minute Thesis challenge.
Lauren Hollier, of Nedlands, won the finals title against 14 other students from UWA who competed to deliver the most compelling, comprehensive and easy to understand presentation of their thesis.
Ms Hollier's winning presentation was titled: "Boys, girls and language: is testosterone the key?" Her research focuses on the effect of prenatal exposure to testosterone and how this might impact language development.
"So far I've found that higher levels of testosterone in blood taken from the umbilical cord at birth, predict less vocabulary for two-year-old boys. The next step in my research is to examine aspects of brain development to determine what may underlie the relationship between testosterone and language development," Ms Hollier said.
Lauren is co-supervised by Dr Andrew Whitehouse, Associate Professor, Telethon Institute and Professor Murray Maybery, Head of School, School of Psychology.
The Three Minute Thesis competition is open to Masters and Doctoral students and is judged on three criteria:
- Communication style: was the thesis topic and its significance communicated in language appropriate to an intelligent but non-specialist audience
- Comprehension: did the presentation help the audience understand the research
- Engagement: did the oration make the audience want to know more.
Lauren has also been active in science outreach workshops, such as the UWA Science Experience. Lauren won $3,000 to further her research and will represent UWA in the Trans-Tasman 3 Minute Thesis finals at the University of Queensland on 11 October.
Awards boost for top health researchers
29 June 2012
Eight outstanding Western Australian researchers have each been awarded $10,000 to carry out important medical and health research in Western Australia.
The researchers received the money through the 2012 New Independent Researcher Infrastructure Support (NIRIS) Awards - a funding program that supports new researchers to get the resources and infrastructure required to further develop their careers.
"This year's awards recognise eight exceptional, emerging researchers working across a wide variety of areas such as the impact of the built environment on health, the prevention of pre-term births and improving occupational health and safety of migrant workers," WA Health Acting Chief Medical Officer Dr Robertson said.
"WA Health has a long tradition of supporting local researchers in achieving their potential and views research as a vital part of the health system, contributing to improved health outcomes for Western Australians."
Dr Robertson said the Department had provided nearly $1 million for 80 NIRIS Awards over the past 11 years.
Dr Robertson said the work of all award recipients had the potential to deliver valuable health benefits for Western Australians.
"I congratulate all of this year's recipients and wish them all the best for their ongoing research," he said.
The 2012 NIRIS award recipients
Assistant Professor Hayley Christian - Centre for the Built Environment and Health, University of Western Australia
Research into the impact of the built environment on health
Dr Jenny Downs - Centre for Child Health Research, University of Western Australia
Research into Rett Syndrome, early onset scoliosis and the CDKL5 disorder
Dr Matthew Kemp - School of Women's and Infants' Health, University of Western Australia
Research into uterine infection and inflammation and their relationship to pre-term births
Dr Colleen O'Leary - Centre for Population Health Research, Curtin University
Research into the effect of heavy maternal drinking on children
Dr Gianina Ravenscroft - Centre for Medical Research, University of Western Australia
Research involves identifying genes and developing therapies for genetic skeletal muscle diseases
Dr Alison Reid - Western Australian Institute for Medical Research, University of Western Australia
Research involves improving the occupational health and safety of migrant workers
Dr Natalie Ward - School of Medicine and Pharmacology, University of Western Australia
Research into nutrition and lifestyle and their roles in heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke
Associate Professor Lisa Wood - Centre for the Built Environment and Health, University of Western Australia
Research into the influence of the built environment on mental health
For more information visit the Research Development website.
Media contact: 9222 4333
National Medicinewise Awards 2012
28 May, 2012.
Congratulations Lyn Colvin and co-authors Linda Slack-Smith, Professor Fiona Stanley and Professor Carol Bower, on their national award for Best E-Health Resources, for their study Pharmacovigilance in pregnancy using population-based linked datasets.
This award acknowledges any electronic online resources, systems
or tools developed in Australia to support quality use of
medicines, medicines literacy and the safe use of
Judges comments: Unique and innovative in that it focused on pregnancy, this project has the potential to be scaled to the whole population with many foreseeable benefits.
This is the first population-based pharmacovigilance study of pregnant women in Australia. This project shows that the linkage of dispensing data to pregnancy events for post-marketing surveillance is feasible and would be a major public health resource for the safe use of medicines in pregnancy.
Explaining her research methods for this study, Lyn says "I used the WA population-based health datasets (birth defects, births, deaths, midwives' notifications, hospital admissions) to find all the pregnancies in WA from 2002-2005 (around 123,000) and overlaid the dispenses of prescribed medicines to these women during the period of their pregnancy using the PBS dataset (Commonwealth data).
Once this was in place, I can check specific drugs and see whether there was an increased risk of birth defects in the children born to women dispensed the drug vs. all other children born; whether they were more likely to be born preterm, low birth weight, etc.
The need for timely and cost-effective postmarketing surveillance for medicines used in pregnancy is evident. If we have the tools to prevent another thalidomide tragedy, we must use them. Our project has demonstrated that this approach to the surveillance of the safe use of medicines in pregnancy is feasible and innovative."
Further information on the awards can be found on the NPS website.
See also our Scholarship Award Winners page