Improving and protecting Australia’s blood supply and using AI tools to improve the treatment of stroke patients are two of the UNSW projects to have received funding in the latest round of National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Partnership Projects. The funding was announced by the Assistant Minister for Health and Aged Care, Ged Kearney.
UNSW Medicine & Health was awarded $4.4 million for three Partnership Projects, sharing in over $9 million of funding awarded for research to create partnerships among decision-makers, policymakers, managers, clinicians and researchers.
Professor Vlado Perkovic, Dean of UNSW Medicine & Health and Acting Provost – Faculties, commended the UNSW researchers for their continued success in engaging with policymakers to improve community health.
“I’m extremely proud of the researchers who have received Partnership Project funding this year. The NHMRC funding enables our academics to work with a range of partners to ensure that our research turns into practice,” Prof. Perkovic said.
Using AI tools to treat stroke patients in regional NSW
Professor Ken Butcher from UNSW Medicine & Health has been awarded more than $1.4 million for a project that will use Artificial Intelligence (AI) to improve the treatment of stroke patients in regional News South Wales.
The program, known as Telestroke, brings specialists, patients and brain scans together virtually using a cloud-based AI computing platform.
“We are developing AI tools to automatically identify and measure stroke lesions on the brain scans of patients presenting with acute stroke symptoms,” Prof. Butcher said.
“Currently AI tools are limited to research labs and academic centres. Using a cloud-based computing platform, we will use AI tools in real time to improve diagnosis and personalise treatment of patients presenting to Telestroke centres in regional NSW.”
In addition to improving stroke diagnosis, the AI tolls will be used to find the causes of stroke and predict outcomes as well as response to therapy in Telestroke patients as they are being assessed.
“Our program aims to bring state of the art AI tools into the clinical workflow,” Prof. Butcher said.
Improving and protecting Australia’s blood supply
Scientia Professor John Kaldor from the Kirby Institute at UNSW has been awarded over $1.4 million to continue and enhance a long-term collaboration with Australian Red Cross Lifeblood to improve and protect Australia’s blood supply.
Maintaining a safe and sufficient blood supply is an essential element of a functioning health system. Research is required to respond to new demands, such as ensuring that donor eligibility criteria are as inclusive as possible, and the call for blood specimens to contribute to surveillance of emerging and re-emerging disease.
“We welcome this renewed funding from the NHMRC”, said Prof. John Kaldor, who is the lead investigator on the grant.
“The Kirby Institute brings strengths in a range of key research discipline, including in epidemiological evaluation, mathematical modelling, health economics and social science. Our research will investigate community attitudes to blood donation and its eligibility criteria and evaluate how changes in policy may impact blood safety supply. A new element in our collaboration will be research aimed at making optimal use of blood donations for monitoring emerging infectious pathogens in the community.”
Dr Benjamin Bavinton from the Kirby Institute at UNSW has been awarded more than $1.4 million for a project that will implement science to guide the effective introduction of long-acting injectable HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis in Australia.
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