The Wesfarmers Centre is pleased to announce the 4 successful applications for the 2016 Round 1 Wesfarmers Centre Seed Funding.
The Wesfarmers Centre Scientific Committee collectively scored each grant using the NHMRC project grant criteria, and awarded funds only where it was confident it would lead to a highly competitive grant application (weighted score >5.0).
Tobias Strunk| King Edward Memorial Hospital Andrew Currie (Murdoch University), Joel Gummer (Murdoch University), Sam Abraham (Murdoch University). Awarded $19,899.
Antibacterial properties of coconut oil and its activity against neonatal pathogens
This project aims to identify antimicrobial lipid and peptide components present in coconut oil, determine their antimicrobial activity against neonatal pathogens alone or in combination with major skin defence peptides, and how this compares to the antimicrobial properties and activity on the main fatty acid component of coconut oil, monolaurin. The study will complement a pilot clinical trial currently being conducted in KEMH, studying the safety, feasibility and effect on improving skin condition of twice daily topical coconut oil application in very preterm infants. The mechanistic study as proposed here will complement the pilot clinical trial to help secure funding for a large RCT.
Charlie McLeod| Princess Margaret Hospital for Children Tom Snelling (Telethon Kids Institute), Chris Blyth (Telethon Kids Institute), Asha Bowen (Telethon Kids Institute), Yue Wu (Telethon Kids Institute), Julie Marsh (Telethon Kids Institute). Awarded $20,000.
Development of a risk prediction tool for identifying children at high risk of complicated bone and joint Infections
The proposed study will develop and validate a clinical tool for point-of-care risk prediction to identify children at risk of complicated disease following bone and joint infections. The study relies on a previously collected dataset on BJI seen at PMH between 2002 and 2007. Using these data, Bayesian network modelling will be used to define a model which can be used to predict the probability a child with BJI will experience complicated disease. The team plans to prospectively validate the tool over a 12-month period by enrolling children with BJI into a cohort (the WARSABI cohort). After validation this tool will be used later to assign children at high or low risk of complicated disease in order to determine the optimal duration and role of select treatments.
Charlene Kahler| University of Western Australia Matthew Payne (University of Western Australia), Barbara Chang (University of Western Australia), Lucy Furfaro (University of Western Australia). Awarded $20,000.
Genomic profiling of Streptococcus agalactiae in pregnant women: towards improving diagnosis of disease-causing strains
This project aims to conduct whole genome sequencing (WGS) on 150 Group B streptococcus (GBS) isolates from WA (mostly from pregnant women but also an estimated 15 mother-infant pairs with neonatal GBS sepsis). The majority of these isolates appear to be collected already and molecular serotyping conducted. WGS will be used to 1) identify the multilocus sequence typing (MLST) of each isolate to gain a better understanding of the GBS strain distribution in WA and whether particular MLST-types are associated with disease, and 2) compare disease-causing strains with colonising strains to determine whether there are any virulence factors that may form future targets for strategies to prevent GBS sepsis in newborns.
Lauren Bloomfield| Communicable Disease Control Directorate Tom Snelling (Telethon Kids Institute), David Speers (PathWest), Chris Blyth (Telethon Kids Institute), Gary Dowse (Communicable Disease Control Directorate), Avram Levy (PathWest). Awarded $18,000.
Retrospective investigation into underlying risk factors for development of mumps, using stored serum samples, in the context of a large outbreak in Western Australia
Since March 2015, more than 860 cases of mumps have been reported to the WA Department of Health. It is the second documented outbreak of mumps in a highly vaccinated, predominantly Aboriginal population in Western Australia since 2007. Understanding the underlying risk factors for development of mumps in a highly vaccinated population is key to informing public health policy and prevention measures, including additional vaccination for high risk groups (if appropriate). The proposed project aims to use serum samples that have already been collected, and are currently being stored at PathWest Laboratory Medicine, to determine differences in immunity (seropositivity) to mumps prior to the start of the outbreak among those who went on to have mumps during the outbreak, compared with matched controls.