- Eight researchers share in $120,000 of State Government research funding
- More than $1.5 million awarded in New Independent Researcher Infrastructure Support (NIRIS)
Department of Health funding will support a Western Australian health researcher investigate strategies for lifting immunisation rates among expectant mothers.
Curtin University epidemiologist Dr Annette Regan is one of eight health researchers who received a NIRIS award in the latest round of the program.
Dr Regan's research will explore the barriers to women getting vaccinated during pregnancy, as well as the potential health benefits from improving such uptake.
Immunisation during pregnancy enables women to protect themselves and their infants from severe infection. This is because a mother's antibodies will cross the placenta during pregnancy and protect her infant from infection until he or she is old enough to be immunised independently.
In Australia, influenza and whooping cough immunisation is clinically recommended for pregnant women and available to them for free. However, only a third receive both recommended vaccines during pregnancy.
NIRIS awards help high-performing, new researchers to develop independent research careers. It assists with the costs of infrastructure associated with their research activities.
Under the NIRIS program this year, a total of $120,000 has been distributed in support of researchers undertaking work across fields as diverse as Aboriginal ear health, arthritis, mental health in the LGBTIQ community, epigenetics and food allergies.
Comments attributed to Health Minister Roger Cook:
"Dr Regan is to be commended on her efforts to improve immunisation uptake among pregnant women because babies in this early period of their life, will not have had the chance to build up immunity of their own.
"This makes these infants vulnerable to conditions that can have devastating health consequences.
"The McGowan Government is pleased to be able to support medical research which is the key to developing new innovative ways to treat, prevent and cure illness.
"My congratulations to all NIRIS award recipients for 2018."
NIRIS 2018 recipients are:
Dr Christopher Brennan-Jones - Telethon Kids Institute/The University of Western Australia
Associate Professor Anne-Marie Hill - Curtin University
Dr Helen Keen - The University of Western Australia
Dr Ashleigh Lin - Telethon Kids Institute/The University of Western Australia
Dr David Martino - Telethon Kids Institute/The University of Western Australia
Dr Debbie Palmer - Telethon Kids Institute/The University of Western Australia
Dr Annette Regan - Curtin University
Dr Shannon Simpson - Telethon Kids Institute
Minister's office - 6552 6500