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    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    JOINT STATEMENT
    Minister for Health and Minister for Ambulance Services
    The Honourable Cameron Dick
    Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy and Minister for Small Business
    The Honourable Leeanne Enoch

    Health research gets an Advance Queensland shot in the arm

    JOINT STATEMENT

    Minister for Health and Minister for Ambulance Services
    The Honourable Cameron Dick

    Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy and Minister for Small Business
    The Honourable Leeanne Enoch

    Wednesday, April 20, 2016

    Health research gets an Advance Queensland shot in the arm

    Treating coeliac disease with gut worms and creating a new super food from the Queen Garnet plum are just two of 11 health research projects to be funded under the Queensland Government’s $180 million Advance Queensland initiative.

    Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy Leeanne Enoch today announced $1.56 million in grants for seven health research projects as part of more than $10 million of fundingfor 54 recipients through the Advance Queensland Research Fellowships and PhD Scholarships program.

    “Advance Queensland Research Fellowships and PhD Scholarships are integral to the Palasczuk Government’s vision of transforming Queensland into an economic powerhouse, based on science and innovation,” Ms Enoch said.

    “To qualify for funding, recipients must endeavour to translate their research into commercial outcomes and health benefits for Queenslanders.”

    Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Cameron Dick said the research funding underlined the Palaszczuk Government’s commitment to delivering world-leading medical services to Queenslanders.

    “We already have world-renowned medical researchers in Queensland and this funding will help ensure they can take their research out of the lab and turn it into a commercially viable product,” Mr Dick said.

    “The result of this will not only provide an important boost to the state economy and create jobs, but also significantly improve health outcomes for Queenslanders.”

    Immunologist Dr Paul Giacomin from the Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine (AITHM) at James Cook University in Cairns has been awarded a $300,000 Advance Queensland Research Fellowship for his work on coeliac disease.

    Dr Giacomin and his team from the AITHM recently conducted a human trial at the Prince Charles Hospital in Brisbane where they infected a small group of coeliac patients with parasitic hookworms.

    “It might seem like an unlikely remedy, but we know that parasitic worms are able to survive in the human gut by dialling back our immune response, which is perfect for treating coeliac disease, which is an autoimmune disorder,” Dr Giacomin said.

    “The funding will enable us to study the mechanisms by which the worms control the immune response, including helping us to isolate the particular worm proteins that produce the anti-inflammatory effect,” he said.

    “Ultimately, I hope to be able to produce a therapy that’s pill-based, which of course will be more palatable to patients than the idea of being infected with worms.”

    Dr Sunil Panchal from the University of Southern Queensland has received a $180,000 Advance Queensland Research Fellowship to scientifically validate a range of functional foods to assist in the management of diabetes, heart and liver disease, obesity and osteoporosis.

    He is particularly interested in the active ingredients found in virgin coconut oil powder which appear to be effective in increasing muscle and bone mass. He is also interested in the large amounts of anthocyanin found in the Queensland-bred Queen Garnet plum, which has been found to reduce body weight, lower blood pressure and improve heart and liver function.

    Dr Panchal plans to apply his research to develop a range of new ‘easy-to-consume’ foods and juices.

    “If all goes well, we’ll not only come up with products that  offer scientifically-proven methods for combating chronic disease, metabolic disorders and the effects of ageing, but the research could well have huge benefits for Queensland industries, with new opportunities in the global ‘super foods’ market,” Dr Panchal said.

    Other health research projects to receive Advance Queensland funding include:

    Research Fellowships - $180,000 each

    • Dr Jason Edwards from the  Queensland University of Technology (QUT) for his research on reducing productivity losses from injuries and illnesses
    • Dr Anjali Jaiprakash from QUT for her work on developing a robotic leg-holding device making keyhole surgery easier and safer
    • Dr Arnold Wiliem from The University of Queensland for his work on transforming health care via digital pathology
    • Dr Farhad Fatehi from The University of Queensland for his research into using telemedicine for improving diabetes management in Queensland
    • Dr Natassia Goode from the University of the Sunshine Coast who will work in finding ways to improve medication protocols in Queensland hospitals.

    PhD Scholarships - $45,000 each

    • Mrs Rena Louise Cruz from the Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation at QUT will look at advanced 3D biofabrication approaches for the treatment of microtia (a congenital ear deformity)
    • Ms Rebecca Stockwell from The University of Queensland for her research into the spread of airborne diseases in hospitals through coughing
    • Mr Eric Wu from The University of Queensland for his work in developing a ‘Smart’ heart assist device
    • Miss Nadia Campagnolo from Griffith University who will look at the association between diet and inflammation in chronic fatigue syndrome.

    Read more about the Advance Queensland Research Fellowships and PhD Scholarships recipients on the Advance Queensland website.

    Media contact: Daniel Lato (Minister Enoch) 0438 830 201

                           Andrew Fraser (Minister Dick) 0428 690 679