Professor Rob Parton (left) and Professor Matt Cooper will receive Excellence Awards from the National Health and Medical Research Council.
Professor Rob Parton (left) and Professor Matt Cooper will receive Excellence Awards from the National Health and Medical Research Council.

1 November 2013

Research projects exploring how cells migrate and developing improved treatments for drug-resistant tuberculosis have been recognised as some of the best in the country by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC).

Professor Rob Parton, a cell biologist from The University of Queensland's Institute for Molecular Bioscience (IMB) will receive an Achievement Award from the NHMRC for achieving a top-ranked grant out of more than 3500 Project Grant applications submitted to the council in 2012.

Project Grants are awarded by the council to fund specific research projects and each application is individually ranked.

Professor Parton received funding to study a cellular pathway that appears to play a crucial role in cell migration around the body, including the spread of cancer cells.

It is the second time Professor Parton has had a top-ranked Project Grant in the country and the third time he has received an award for having a top-ranked grant.

In 2010, Professor Parton’s Project Grant was ranked first out of nearly 3000 applications and he received an NHMRC Excellence Award in 2007 for having the top-ranked Program Grant.

IMB infectious disease expert Professor Matt Cooper will also receive an Achievement Award from the NHMRC for having the top-ranked Development Grant out of 102 applications nationwide in 2012.

These grants fund early-stage research with the potential to be translated into products and solutions to prevent disease or improve health care.

Professor Cooper’s grant was awarded to improve treatments for tuberculosis, including drug-resistant strains.

Currently, patients with TB must take drugs for at least six months, a prolonged treatment regime which patients often stop early, resulting in increased resistance by tuberculosis bacteria to antibiotics.

UQ President and Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Høj said the awards demonstrated that UQ, through institutes such as IMB, was investing in scientists with the raw research talent to drive improvements for a global audience.

"I am delighted that UQ researchers have been ranked among the nation's best in delivering first-class discoveries and translating fundamental knowledge into high-impact outcomes," Professor Høj said.

IMB Director Professor Brandon Wainwright said the awards demonstrated the excellence of both basic and translational research at the IMB.

“Improvements to health come from translating high-quality medical discoveries made at a basic level,” Professor Wainwright said.

“These awards are particularly gratifying because it means the NHMRC and our peers from around the country have recognised that IMB performs outstanding foundational research and exceptional translation of that research into outcomes for the community.”

To invest in Professor Parton and Professor Cooper’s vital work, please visit www.imb.uq.edu.au/donate or call (07) 3346 2134.

The Institute for Molecular Bioscience (IMB) is a research institute of The University of Queensland that aims to improve quality of life by advancing personalised medicine, drug discovery and biotechnology.

Media contact:

Bronwyn Adams, IMB Communications Manager – 0418 575 247, 07 3346 2134 or b.adams@imb.uq.edu.au

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