Nine Sydney researchers to receive funding for biomedical research projects

The Ramaciotti Foundations will award nearly $645,000 in grants to nine Sydney researchers at a gala dinner tonight, to support continued outstanding biomedical research.

The Ramaciotti Foundations will award over $1.6 million to 23 recipients at the annual awards evening in Brisbane.

Professor Roger Reddel from the Children’s Medical Research Institute (CMRI) will use the grant to purchase a Typhoon FLA9500 Biomolecular Imager, which is essential for the expansion of CMRI’s discovery program.

“The CMRI doesn’t currently have an instrument available with similar capabilities and this piece of equipment will be used by 80 per cent of CMRI scientists for a range of projects. In particular, the equipment will be vital for our Centre for Kinomics which provides an entirely new approach to the understanding of cancer therapeutic drugs and ways to improve them, which will benefit cancer research and drug discovery across Australia,” said Prof. Reddel.

“We have several drug development programs underway that are focused on new kinds of treatments for previously untreatable forms of epilepsy, cancer and kidney disease. The piece of equipment that the Ramaciotti Foundations have helped to fund will help to bring new treatments for these diseases to the clinic more quickly,” he said.

Doctor Edwin Lim is working at Macquarie University in the Australian School of Advanced Medicine in Sydney. His project aims to map the kynurenine pathway (degradation of the essential amino acid tryptophan) during the progression of motor neuron disease. Previous studies from his group indicate that this pathway may play a significant role in the progression of the disease.

“The kynurenine pathway metabolises tryptophan, a naturally occurring amino acid that is used by the body as one of the building blocks of protein. However, during pathologic state, this pathway may lead to the production of several active metabolites that can be toxic for the brain cells” said Dr. Lim.

“I plan to map this pathway in order to explore the links between the level of inflammation, the degree of pathway abnormality, the severity of the disease and its progression. With a better understanding of the pathway during motor neuron disease progression, we’ll be able to devise and apply various strategies to limit this disease progression,” said Dr. Lim.

The Ramaciotti Foundations will also award grants to seven other medical researchers from Sydney:

  • Professor Iain Campbell from the University of Sydney, who will purchase state-of-the-art instrumentation for the characterisation of protein interactions
  • Associate Professor Kevin Keay from the University of Sydney, who will purchase a nanoparticle characterisation system
  • Doctor Elizabeth New from the University of Sydney, who will research the role of oxidative stress in obesity
  • Associate Professor Mark Raftery from the University of NSW, who will purchase a gas chromatograph triple stage quadrupole
  • Doctor Bill Giannkopoulos from the University of NSW, who will undertake a 1-year international multicentre study to establish whether it’s possible to predict which patients are at risk of having an initial thrombotic event. A risk prediction model for thrombosis will then be built to assess and quantify risk prediction.
  • Doctor Rylie Green from the University of NSW, who will study living electrodes in order to bridge the device-tissue interface
  • Doctor Terence Chua from the University of NSW, who will undertake a series of clinical researches on gastrointestinal cancer treatment and will use the grant to employ a research assistant

Each year the Ramaciotti Foundations, managed by Perpetual, support biomedical research through significant distributions via the Ramaciotti Awards, providing assistance to areas of research such as molecular biology, genetics and immunology, and assisting young researchers taking up new challenges in biomedical research.

Andrew Thomas, General Manager, Philanthropy at Perpetual said, “As one of the largest private contributors to the biomedical field, the Ramaciotti Foundations are an important event on the medical calendar. This year, the Foundations awarded over $1.6 million in grants to researchers across Australia.

He added, “The scope of this year’s award recipients’ work is truly impressive. We congratulate each winner on their outstanding contribution to biomedical research internationally. Their work is a testament to the value of Australian-lead innovation.

“Australia’s biomedical researchers do extraordinary work, every day, to improve the health and lives of everyone in the community. The Ramaciotti Awards are an important opportunity to recognise some of the best work in the sector, and to provide the funding to make it possible,” Mr Thomas said.

The Ramaciotti Foundations were established in 1970 by Vera Ramaciotti with $6.7 million in funds. Since then, the charitable trusts have donated more than $52.5 million to biomedical research.

About the Ramaciotti Foundations
Managed by Perpetual, the Ramaciotti Foundations started off with $6.7 million in funds in 1970, with the first major grant going to the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute in 1971. This assisted with the establishment of the new Clive and Vera Ramaciotti Research Laboratories building.

Since then, the Foundations have donated more than $52.5 million to biomedical research and are one of the largest private contributors to the field. Their combined capital now stands at over $45 million.

The Ramaciotti Foundations continue to support biomedical research and each year make significant distributions via the Ramaciotti Awards, providing funding support to areas such as molecular biology, genetics and immunology, and assisting young researchers taking up new challenges in biomedical research.

At the 2012 Ramaciotti Awards, the Ramaciotti Foundations will grant over $1.6 million to biomedical research in Australia.

For more information about the Ramaciotti Foundations visit www.perpetual.com.au/ramaciotti.

About the Ramaciotti Medal for Excellence in Biomedical Research
The Ramaciotti Medal carries an award of $50,000 and recognises outstanding contribution to clinical or biomedical research, or the way in which healthcare is delivered. The nominee must still be actively engaged in research.

High profile past winners include Professor Sam Berkovic, Professor Chris Parish, Professor Thomas Martin, Professor Robert Baxter and Professor Ian Frazer.

About the Ramaciotti Establishment and Equipment Grants

Establishment Grants - Establishment Grants are intended to provide enabling research support for a young researcher who is taking, or has taken up, a substantive research position. The maximum amount for this gift is $75,000.

Equipment Grants - Equipment Grants are intended to provide funding of up to $75,000 towards the purchase of a single item of equipment costing $75,000 or more.

About the Ramaciotti Biomedical Research Award
This $1 million award is open to groups or individuals undertaking a single initiative in biomedical research within Australian universities, public hospitals, medical research institutes or other similar organisations. Traditionally, it funds a need that would not attract funding elsewhere. This award is presented every two years and will next be awarded in 2013.

About Perpetual Philanthropic Services

Perpetual is one of the largest managers of private charitable foundations in Australia, with $1.1 billion in funds under management (as at 30 June 2012). Perpetual manages charitable trusts and endowments – including Private Ancillary Funds (PAFs) and the Perpetual Foundation – for over 540 clients, supporting medical, social, environmental, religious, cultural and educational causes.

Perpetual Philanthropic Services is part of Perpetual Private, which advises clients on over $8 billion of funds (as at 30 June 2012). The Perpetual Private team of experts offer tailored advice and services and can help clients fulfill their charitable intentions. For more information visit www.perpetual.com.au/philanthropy

Perpetual’s Philanthropic Services and advice are provided by Perpetual Trustee Company Limited (PTCo), ABN 42 000 001 007, AFSL 236643. This publication has been prepared by PTCo and contains information contributed by third parties. It contains general information only and is not intended to provide advice or take into account personal objectives, financial situation or needs. The information is believed to be accurate at the time of compilation and is provided by PTCo in good faith. To the extent permitted by law, no liability is accepted for any loss or damage as a result of any reliance on this information. PTCo does not warrant the accuracy or completeness of any information included in this document which was contributed by a third party.

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