WA government awards $3.6 million to medical researchers through WANMA program

Twenty emerging researchers have been awarded funding under the state government’s WA Near Miss Awards (WANMA) program, including those developing tests and monitoring for sepsis, and new vaccines for respiratory illnesses.

The $3.6 million in funding was awarded through four Fellowships of up to $600,000 each and 16 Emerging Leadership grants of $100,000 each. The program is for those in the state who narrowly missed out on National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) grants.

“Support for health and medical research will ultimately contribute to finding new ways to keep people healthy and cure disease, benefiting the entire Western Australian community,” said WA medical research minister Stephen Dawson in a statement.

Singled out in the announcement on Tuesday were Fellowship winners Clinical Associate Professor Stephen Macdonald, researching ways to improve survival rates from sepsis – a cause of death for approximately 8,000 Australians annually – and Dr Hannah Moore, on vaccine development.

Macdonald’s project includes work on a “virtual’ ward”, closely monitored round-the-clock by specialist doctors and nurses, and the study of new diagnostic tests to recognise sepsis early.

Moore’s goal is for vaccines developed for two infectious diseases that are not yet vaccine preventable. She will research “respiratory syncytial virus, which causes respiratory infections in young children, and group A streptococcus, a bacterium that causes a range of diseases in children and adults.”

The 16 Emerging Leadership grants went to researchers including those studying smart surfaces to address “superbugs”, antimicrobial resistance on human-animal interfaces, and improved outcomes for dialysis patients.

A full list of funding recipients can be seen here.

Image credit: fhrifund.health.wa.gov.au

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