Publish Date: 
Wednesday, August 6, 2014 - 14:45

One step closer to improved treatments

15 August 2014

Research projects focusing on renal failure, DNA damage repair in melanoma, irritable bowel diseases, and improved diagnosis of renal masses have been awarded a total of $90,000 as part of the inaugural Translational Research Institute (TRI) Awards, supported by the TRI partners and executive.

Chair of TRI Research Committee Prof Colleen Nelson says the TRI Awards aim to promote trans-disciplinary and inter-institutional collaborations to help researchers take an innovative discovery in the lab, or observations in the clinic, closer to becoming a novel treatment or intervention.

“All of these projects are new collaborations within the Institute and represent the cross pollination of scientific knowledge at TRI to facilitate innovative discoveries and improved treatments.”

“The awards funded will help the research teams generate preliminary laboratory-based and clinical data; aid in preparation of external funding applications; or continue the investigational areas - all with the overarching aim of translating research outcomes.

Dr Iulia Oancea and her team are exploring therapies and treatments for irritable bowel diseases (IBD). 

 “Despite their impressive efficacy, current therapies and treatments do not work or are not tolerated in a sizeable number of patients,” Dr Oancea said.

Professor David Johnson’s team is investigating pre- and pro-biotics, otherwise known as synbiotic therapy, in chronic kidney disease (CKD).   “This new collaboration of TRI partners will build on a successful ‘proof of concept study’ at the Princess Alexandra Hospital to assess the efficacy of synbiotic therapy in delaying CKD progression,” Prof Johnson said.

Associate Professor Glenda Gobe and her team are investigating the increasingly common diagnosis of small renal masses, during routine abdominal imaging, which are often benign lesions.  The team will be looking at ways to identify patients whose condition is not likely to progress.  

“Our hypothesis is that there are distinct differences in molecular signatures between the benign and low-grade lesions and other more aggressive carcinoma,” Prof Glenda Globe said. 

Associate Professor Brian Gabrielli said his team plans to extend on previous work where they identified a novel mechanism associated with the normal repair of UV‐specific mutations in skin cells. 

“We will bring together leaders in the relevant research areas coupled with the latest cutting-edge technologies to determine how UV-specific mutations are escaping repair in skin cells contributing to the development of melanoma.” 

Brisbane’s Translational Research Institute (TRI) combines the research intellect of five leading research institutes, with a co-located biopharmaceutical manufacturer, to discover, produce, test and manufacture new treatments and vaccines in one location.

Over 650 researchers from TRI’s four partner organisations, including The University of Queensland’s Diamantina Institute, Mater Research Institute-UQ and School of Medicine; Queensland University of Technology’s Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation; and the Princess Alexandra Hospital’s Centres for Health Research, undertake medical research into cancer; inflammation and infection; obesity and diabetes; kidney and liver diseases; and bone and joint disorders.


TRI award recipients include Associate Professor Glenda Gobe and Professor David Johnson (pictured), Professor Colleen Nelson, Dr Iulia Oancea & Associate Professor Brian Gabrielli