Big ideas attract big funding

By Rob Clancy, staff writer

Hudson Institute researchers have featured prominently among the latest recipients of 2022 NHMRC Ideas Grants.

Our researchers have been awarded $6.34 million for five new NHMRC Ideas Grants to work on influenza, endometriosis, autoimmune diseases, post-caesarean care for newborns and non-genetic inheritance in health and disease.

NHMRC Ideas Grants

A Prof Patrick Western ARC Discovery Projects success

Understanding non-genetic inheritance in health and disease

Associated Professor Patrick Western

NHMRC Ideas Grant: 2022–2026

Amount: $1,433,936

Eggs provide genetic and non-genetic (epigenetic) information that is critical for offspring development. While it is understood how genes transmit instructions that regulate offspring development, epigenetic inheritance is poorly understood. This project will determine how an essential epigenetic mechanism acting in eggs controls formation of tissues in offspring and grand-offspring and how dysregulation of this mechanism results in disease. Outcomes will help understand disease inheritance.


Dr Kelly Crossley is a member of the Fetal and Neonatal Health Research group in The Ritchie Centre.

Reducing the burden of respiratory distress after caesarean delivery

Dr Kelly Crossley

NHMRC Ideas Grant: 2022–2026

Amount: $1,240,465

Compared with vaginally born babies, babies born at term by caesarean section have a higher risk of needing intensive care due to breathing problems soon after birth. The team have recently made a major break-through in understanding why, and this project will provide the additional information required to identify effective treatments for these otherwise healthy newborns. Ultimately this research will identify approaches and treatments that will reduce the risk or severity of newborn breathing problems.


Dr Michael Gantier from the Nucleic Acids and Innate Immunity Research Group at Hudson Institute

Therapeutic targeting of TLR7 in autoimmunity

Associate Professor Michael Gantier

NHMRC Ideas Grant: 2022–2026

Amount: $1,496,654

Autoimmune diseases affect approximately five per cent of Australians and are driven by autoantibodies. While treatments are available to limit disease progression and morbidity, these are non-curative and have numerous side-effects. The team propose an innovative approach to tackle the management of autoimmunity by targeting how auto-antibodies are generated. A new class of highly-specific therapeutics has been generated that have the potential to help management of diverse autoimmune conditions.


Fiona Cousins researcher at Hudson Institute in the lab

Harnessing the protective effects of Interferon epsilon as a therapeutic target for endometriosis

Dr Fiona Cousins

NHMRC Ideas Grant: 2022–2026

Amount: $1,125,386

Endometriosis is a chronic, debilitating condition that affects one in nine menstruators. People with the disease have limited treatment options and there is no cure. A defective immune response is one of the causes of the disease. This project aims to investigate a new immunomodulator, interferon epsilon (IFNε), which may exert protective effects against the development of endometriosis. The team will investigate whether IFNε  can be used as an innovative treatment for endometriosis.


Associate Professor Michelle Tate from the Viral Immunity and Immunopathology Research Group at Hudson Institute

Targeting pyroptosis to limit the severity of influenza virus infections

Associate Professor Michelle Tate

NHMRC Ideas Grant: 2022–2026

Amount: $1,062,685

Highly pathogenic influenza A virus infections are associated with high mortality rates. To facilitate the development of improved treatments for severe IAV infections, this project will advance the fundamental knowledge of mechanisms by which the host and virus interact and elucidate how the host’s immune system can be therapeutically modulated to limit disease severity. These studies are crucial to prepare for the next pandemic.


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