Center shares $2 million grant from Australia for early disease detection

A $2 million Smart State research grant will help scientists from Queensland, Australia; the Center; University of Washington; and the Seattle Biomedical Research Institute develop simple tests for early disease diagnostics.

Anna Bligh, deputy premier, treasurer and minister for Queensland State Development Trade and Innovation, announced the grant in Seattle last week during a 12-day trade mission to the United States and Canada. Bligh said the University of Queensland's (UQ) early disease-detection project was one of 13 National and International Research Alliances grants to help identify new biomarkers for early disease detection.

"There are currently few tools available for early diagnosis at the molecular level, and those that are available are difficult to use and cover only a small fraction of known diseases," Bligh said. "This project will take advantage of new nanotechnology to find biomarkers for a number of diseases, such as cancers and infectious diseases, and will then determine which biomarkers are most suitable for clinical detection."

Public Health Sciences Division Director Dr. John Potter, who received his medical degree and his Ph.D. in epidemiology from UQ, took part in the grant announcement. "This represents a solid development in the ever-expanding range of international relationships around science in the Puget Sound area. It is a privilege to be connected to both ends of this particular axis," Potter said.

Scientists from UQ's Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology will lead the project, in collaboration with scientists from the Queensland-based company Nanomics BioSystems and Washington state, including Drs. Cassian Yee and Mandy Paulovich of the Clinical Research Division, and Dr. Nathalie Scholler of PHS.

The $2 million grant comes from the Queensland Government's Innovation Projects Fund.

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