USC researchers win competitive grants

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USC researchers win competitive grants


12 November 2012

12 November 2012

University of the Sunshine Coast academics have won prestigious competitive grants from the Australian Research Council (ARC) and the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) for some interesting research projects starting in 2012-2013.

The research ranges from an individual study into the behaviour of crustaceans to collaborative projects into sea sponges, driver safety, antibiotic resistance of respiratory infections, and the security of intravenous devices in hospitals.

USC Research Fellow in Genecology Dr Tomer Ventura will receive an ARC Discovery Early Career Research Award, valued at $371,800, to study the genes which control the masculinisation process of crustaceans.

“Crustaceans are quite unique as they have an androgenic gland which governs masculinity and the maintenance of masculinity,” Dr Ventura said.

“By intervening and switching off the androgenic gland hormone, you are able to transfer genetic males into functional females. These findings will have implications for aquaculture and the development of innovative tools for invasive crustacean control.”

Lecturer in Molecular and Cellular Biology Dr Scott Cummins, in partnership with the University of Queensland, won a $454,000 ARC Discovery grant to conduct a study into the chemical signalling of sea sponges.

This is the fourth ARC grant awarded to the USC academic in two years, following his success with an ARC Future Fellowship in 2011.

Associate Professor Dr Paul Salmon, who relocated from Victoria’s Monash University in October, was part of a team awarded a $570,000 ARC Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities grant.

“This funding will be used for future studies into driving behaviour and safety,” Dr Salmon said.

USC’s Head of School and Sports Sciences Professor John Lowe, in partnership with researchers from across Australia, was awarded a NHMRC Centres of Research Excellence valued at almost $2,455,000. This funding will support research into the area of minimising antibiotic resistance and provide support for post-doctoral and doctoral students.

And new USC Research Fellow Dr David MacMillan is part of a collaborative team from several institutions that won an NHMRC Project grant, valued at $944,798, for a trial into the security of intravenous devices in hospitals.

USC’s Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research Professor Roland De Marco said the grants would contribute significantly to USC’s goal of rapidly growing the University’s research capacity and research strengths.

“To win any of these grants is a significant feat and signals the national and international standing of the research being undertaken at USC,” he said.

— Michelle Widdicombe

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