Carrying cancer hopes

It's not every day a medical scientist wins four major research grants in as many weeks. But for Professor Peter Gunning, receiving the grants worth close to $2 million is fitting recognition of 25 years of research.

Gunning inside

It's not every day a medical scientist wins four major research grants in as many weeks. But for Professor Peter Gunning, receiving two NHMRC and two ARC grants worth close to $2 million is fitting recognition after more than 25 years of research.

"What can I say? Lightning rarely strikes that often. It's by far the best result I've ever had," says Professor Gunning, who heads the Oncology Research Unit in the School of Medical Sciences.

Professor Gunning was the only UNSW researcher to receive two National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) grants (worth more than $500,000 each) in the latest funding round, for investigations aimed at better understanding the architecture of human cells as targets for new anti-cancer drugs. The funding comes on the back of two grants (worth a combined $850,000) from the ARC last month.

"We have gone from the most primitive understanding of how you create cell structure to a point where we can now manipulate specific parts of the cell's architecture and start developing new cancer therapeutics. That's pretty exciting," says Professor Gunning, whose work is also supported by the Oncology Children's Foundation.

Cancer research was the big winner, with one of the largest individual grants ($1.6 million) awarded to a team led by Dr Claire Vajdic, from the Lowy Cancer Research Centre, for a population-based family study of follicular lymphoma.

In total, UNSW received more than $22 million in NHMRC grants for 43 projects across UNSW Medicine and the Faculty of Science.

Other grants included:

UNSW's affiliated medical research institutes also performed strongly. The Garvan Institute was awarded $7.7 million, Children's Cancer Institute Australia received $2.4 million, the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute $2.1 million and NeuRA/POWMRI $2 million.

For the full list of grant recipients go to the NHMRC website.

Contact: Steve Offner, UNSW Media Office| 02 9385 8107|