Professor Michael Yu is working on revolutionary termiticide products
Professor Michael Yu is working on revolutionary termiticide products
20 October 2017

Challenges of a modern Australia – ranging from melanoma, to termites, to degenerative disorders, reef protection and food provision – are in the sights of six University of Queensland projects to share $4.2 million in State Government funding.

Of this year’s successful Advance Queensland Innovation Partnerships (AQIP) applicants, UQ had more successful applicants than any other research institution.

UQ Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Peter Høj said the AQIP allocations were testament to the breadth of important research being undertaken at UQ.

“This funding is shared across projects that will address significant health, neuroscience, environmental and ecological issues,” Professor Høj said.

“The capacity of these projects to drastically alter lives and improve aspects of our society, environment and economy is evidenced by the significant level of funding that has been attracted.

“I applaud the Queensland Government for the support shown to Queensland researchers and look forward to the outcomes of each of the funded projects."

UQ’s successful 2017 AQIP projects are:

  • Associate Professor John O’Sullivan & Dr Richard Gordon (Faculty of Medicine): ​The Queensland Drug Repurposing Initiative ($1,500,000)

Establishing a platform to fast-track multiple new treatments for Parkinson’s disease using an innovative approach to repurpose drugs that are used for other conditions. Through clinical trials, this approach will enable the rapid translation of research into new cost-effective treatments for patients and will position Queensland as an internationally competitive hub for drug repurposing.

  • Professor Trent Woodruff (Faculty of Medicine): New Treatment for Brain Disease ($960,000)

This project aims to translate new drugs targeting inflammation into clinical trials for neurodegenerative diseases such as motor neuron disease and Huntington’s disease. It will build upon combined expertise in pharmacology, and preclinical and clinical testing, to identify new potential treatments for these intractable brain diseases.

  • Professor Neena Mitter (QAAFI): Avocado Tissue-Culture: From Lab-to-Orchard ($636,000)

Researchers have invented a stem cell multiplication method of supplying 500 times more avocado plants to industry than is possible using current methods. AQIP funding will help with testing of the first 200 avocado plants and capturing performance data.

  • Professor Michael Yu (Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology): Nanotechnology for Next-Generation Termiticides ($600,000)

Queensland has the highest incidence of termite damage in Australia. This project will develop two revolutionary termiticide products, providing far-reaching benefits for Queensland and Australia.

  • Dr Bronwyn Laycock (Faculty of Engineering, Architecture and Information Technology): Environmentally Responsive Biocomposite Fertiliser ($400,000)

Nutrient pollution, caused by fertiliser inefficiencies, is a pervasive and ongoing problem that contributes prominently to the decline of the Great Barrier Reef. This project aims to deliver a targeted and efficient next-generation fertiliser for Queensland’s expanding agro-technology sector.

  • Dr Mitchell Stark (Faculty of Medicine): Assessment of Precision Melanoma Diagnostics ($120,000)

    Early diagnosis is the best and most cost effective method to prevent the spread of melanoma, but the diagnosis of malignancy is not absolute. Together with our industry partner (Sullivan Nicolaides Pathology) we will develop a blood and tissue test for use with melanoma patients to guide treatment, better predict patient outcomes and reduce overall health care costs.

The Advance Queensland Innovation Partnerships program has allocated $17.73 million in the past two years to collaborative programs between research organisations and industry partners that will have major outcomes for Queenslanders.

State Government allocated $7.82 million in the latest round to nine collaborative partnerships, with the industry project partners co-investing a further $8.36 million.

Media: UQ Communications,, + 61 7 3365 3439.