12 June 2010

The University of Queensland leads an Australian research team that will help usher in the age of personalised medicine, following announcement of $40.2 million by the Deputy Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, today.

UQ Vice-Chancellor Professor Paul Greenfield said the government funding secured a $107m expansion of the National Imaging Facility, placing Australia at the forefront of medical imaging research and education.

“Advanced medical imaging will be key to improved diagnosis and treatment, leading towards personalised medicine that will give patients individually tailored treatments and prevention strategies,” Professor Greenfield said.

He thanked the government and UQ’s research collaborators for their crucial partnership.

Ms Gillard, who announced the funding at UQ, said it would position Australia as a global leader in imaging research, training and technology development.

Flagship equipment obtained through the expansion will include Australia’s first scanner combining magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and positron emission tomography (PET), and the nation’s first ultra high-field 7 Tesla human MRI machine – one of only a few in the world.

“This equipment, to be housed in a new Centre for Advanced Imaging complex at UQ’s St Lucia campus in Brisbane, will enable discoveries that will translate to better ways of diagnosing and treating diseases like cancer, dementia, arthritis and epilepsy,” said Centre for Advanced Imaging Director, Professor David Reutens.

“The new imaging research centre will unlock the scientific potential of a large body of researchers who will, for the first time, have tools to take microscopically detailed pictures of organs in living humans and animals,” he said.

The funding will also provide new research instruments to partner organisations in the National Imaging Facility. This network of imaging research facilities and experts, headquartered at the Centre for Advanced Imaging, includes Queensland Government funding for the UQ component.

The new federal funding adds ANSTO (Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation), The University of Melbourne, Swinburne University and University of Western Australia to the National Imaging Facility, expanding it to 13 institutions in five states.

Professors Graham Galloway and Ian Brereton of the National Imaging Facility said the new development was “a refreshing approach to imaging research where senior scientists across the disciplines, as well as institutions, work together to build complementary approaches to discovery”.

The government investment is part of Round 3 of the Education Investment Fund.

Media: Fiona Kennedy 0413 380 012 or Jan King 0413 601 248