Grant success for Western Sydney researchers

Dr Gary Gan, Professor Liza Thomas, Dr Andrew White, Professor Stephen Leeder, Ms Lynette Tunchon, Dr Indika Alahakoon and Ms Helene Abouyanni (absent – Dr Victoria Rudland).

Research grants totalling almost $300,000 have been awarded to staff from the Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD).

The funding has been evenly divided across six projects, as part of the WSLHD Research and Education Network (REN) Grant Scheme for 2018-2019.

The grants were offered through a competitive, peer reviewed process and was open to all staff and researchers within the WSLHD.

Expressions of interest were sought during the third quarter of 2017, with sixteen applications shortlisted.

Six grants were awarded over three categories.

In the New Investigator Awards, Lynette Tunchon (Child and Family Health, Integrated Care WSLHD) was awarded $46,921 for research into the embedding of health literacy into new parents groups.

‘Parenting Plus’ co-investigators include Professor Don Nutbeam, Professor Kirsten McCaffery and Dr Danielle Muscat.

Dr Gary Gan (Cardiology, Blacktown and Westmead), was awarded $49,000 to investigate left atrial metrics as a surrogate marker for cardiovascular disease in chronic kidney disease.

Dr Gan’s co-investigators include Professor Liza Thomas, Professor Brian Nankivelle, Associate Professor Suzanne Eshoo and Associate Professor Lucas Kairaitis.

In the Early-Mid Career Researcher Awards, Dr Indika Alahakoon (Maternal and Fetal Medicine, Westmead) received $44,685 for research into urinary biomarkers for the pre-clinical detection of placental dysfunction leading to pregnancy complication of preeclampsia in the pre-existing diabetes cohort.

Dr Alahakoon’s co-investigators are Dr Monica Zen, Dr Vincent Lee, Dr Suja Padmanabhan, Prof Wah Cheung and Dr Kewei Zhang.

Dr Victoria Rudland (Diabetes and Endocrinology, Westmead) was awarded $50,000 to investigate the role of the maternal gut microbiome in gestational diabetes mellitus.

Dr Rudland’s co-investigators are Professor N Wah Cheung, Associate Professor Andrew Holmes, Professor David Simmons and Associate Professor Vincent Wong.

In the Established Researcher Awards, Associate Professor Andrew White (Ophthalmology, Westmead), was awarded $49,040 for the detection of undiagnosed and vision-threatening diabetic retinopathy by integrating portable technologies within existing services.

Associate Professor White’s co-investigators are Dr Tien-Ming Hng, Associate Professor Gerald Liew, Professor Wah Cheung, Associate Professor Lisa Keay, Dr Helen Do and Ms Belinda Ford.

And Prof. Liza Thomas (Cardiology, Westmead) has been awarded $50,000 to study the incremental value of left atrial parameters in determining thromboembolic risk in patients with atrial fibrillation.

Professor Thomas’ co investigators are Associate Professor James Chong, Dr Eddy Kizana, and Dr Andrew Duggins.

REN congratulates all the awardees and will support these researchers throughout their projects.