Awarded Projects DTF 2.0

The Discovery Translation Fund 2.0 was launched in March 2015 with the funding support of The Australian National University and University of Canberra. Project proposals are currently accepted through these institutions.

Projects Awarded during 2015

DTF202 ANU College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences, Research School of Physics and Engineering, Professor Barry Luther-Davies
Mid-infrared Optical Parametric Amplifier (MIROPA)
Project Summary The Project will advance a novel device that generates mid infrared “laser” light called MIROPA (A femtosecond optical parametric amplifier). The immediate market for MIROPA is a research market however the technology is also applicable to a range of commercial markets. Funds will be sued to (a) expand the capacity of MIROPA; (b) obtain certification for MIROPA sales in USA; and (c) support marketing activities
DTF204 UC Faculty of Education, Science, Technology and Maths, Professor Roland Goecke
Project Summary Based on 15 years research in close collaboration with psychologists from the Black Dog Institute and the Queensland Institute of Medical Research, in a first to market, this project provides a solution based on objective, quantifiable metrics that assist clinicians in the initial diagnosis of depression and ongoing monitoring of treatment progress. The team has developed technology for an objective diagnostic aid based on automatically analysing audio-video recordings of patients in terms of their facial expressions, head movements, voice characteristics, and body gestures. The project will fund the development of the technology into a commercially ready prototype.
DTF205 UC Faculty of Arts & Design, A/Professor Carlos Montana-Hoyos
IV Fluid Telemetry: A novel system for remote monitoring of cumulative Intravenous (IV) fluids administration in medical institutions
Project Summary “IV Fluid Telemetry” is a novel system comprising mechanical & electronic components, a wireless transmitting device, specialized analytical methodology and computer software to accurately measure and record cumulative intravenous (IV) fluid intake in hospitalized patients. This system minimizes human error in data input and is much more effective than what is currently being used (which relies almost entirely on manual human input and is error prone). The system is compatible with existing IV fluid administration systems (infusion systems), so as to minimise cost to the hospitals and allow for easy and fast tracked implementation.
DTF207 UC Faculty of Health, A/Professor Jackson Thomas
An innovative solution (UC-IN scalp gel) to pediculosis (head lice infestation)
Project Summary Head Lice infestation (caused by blood-sucking parasite Pediculus humanus capitis) is a chronic public health problem affecting at least 6–12 million people worldwide each year. Our project will evaluate the safety of a low- cost, environmentally friendly treatment for head lice, using an innovative, novel scalp gel (UC-Inone Nanogel [UC-IN], containing Manuka oil as one of the active ingredients). Should the results be positive, this will provide evidence for an affordable and effective treatment option for head lice in school children (the most affected group), as well as body lice infestations in people from resource-poor and underprivileged communities.
DTF208 ANU College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences, Research School of Chemistry, Professor Michelle Coote
pH Switchable Control Agents for Free-Radical polymerization
Project Summary Free radical polymerisation has many applications in manufacturing, including synthesis of coatings, adhesives, toys, footwear, and materials incorporated into medical devices. Michelle Coote has made a discovery that could increase the scope, reduce costs, and improve control of free radical polymerisation without the need for metal catalysts or volatile compounds. Funding from DTF will be used to demonstrate that these novel reagents can be made and applied in industrially relevant polymerisation processes, which is required for industry interest and engagement.
DTF209 ANU College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences, Research School of Physics and Engineering, A/Professor Shannon Notley
Enhancing Thermal Properties Using Graphene
Project Summary This project will form an important phase of validation for the use of graphene in thermal management applications. Adding graphene to materials that are inherently thermally insulating, such as fluids and polymers (or plastics), will potentially enable new high value and high volume markets for materials produced at the ANU. DTF funding will be used to purchase equipment for the measurement of thermal conductivity of solids and liquids. In addition to progressing the technology, direct market validation will be undertaken through targeted visits to leading companies within the coolants, phase change materials and nanocomposite industries.
DTF212 ANU College of Medicine, Biology and the Environment, John Curtin School of Medical Research, Professor Carola Vinuesa
Novel therapeutic for autoimmune disease
Project Summary Prof Vinuesa’s lab has discovered a novel biologic therapeutic candidate for the treatment of antibody‐mediated autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), and potentially for treatment of allergies.
DTF214 ANU College of Medicine, Biology and the Environment, John Curtin School of Medical Research, Ms Kylie Bennett
Preparing moodgym for market
Project Summary Professor Kathy Griffiths, Kylie Bennett and team have developed a number of evidence based online e-mental health programs called moodgym and moodgym +.  Future grant funding for continued maintenance and development of the programs is under threat which has led to the development of a commercial model for sustainable delivery.  DTF Funding is needed to prepare moodgym for market by implementing updated commercial versions of the moodgym and moodgym + modules, and to create a consumer-facing portal.
DTF215 ANU College of Medicine, Biology and the Environment, John Curtin School of Medical Research, A/Professor Charmaine Simeonovic
Biomarker for beta cell destruction in Type 1 diabetes
Project Summary Patients with Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) are unable to regulate their blood sugar levels because they cannot produce insulin.  The immune system in these patients is faulty, resulting in a misdirected immune response against the body’s insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. The disease develops slowly over years, progressively destroying the insulin-producing cells. Currently, T1D is diagnosed after most of the beta cells are destroyed and insufficient insulin is produced- it is difficult to detect destructive disease before T1D onset.  A/Prof Charmaine Simeonovic has developed a non-invasive test that can monitor beta cell destruction before it’s too late.  This test has been developed in NOD mice, a model for human T1D immunology.  Funding from DTF is required for proof of concept of this test in human samples.
DTF216 UC Faculty of Education, Science, Technology and Maths, Dr Regan Ashby
Repurposing of a pharmacological compound for the treatment of myopia
Project Summary Myopia (short-sightedness) is an ocular disorder caused by excessive elongation of the eye during development and is the leading cause of low vision world-wide. Research has shown that light induced increases in dopamine release, associated with time spent outside during childhood, is a potent protective factor against the development of myopia. However, in many parts of the world, local climate restrictions prevent light levels from being strong enough to protect against myopia. Therefore, this project aims to re-purpose a drug used for the treatment of neurological disorders associated with reduced dopamine levels, to mimic the protective effects of time outdoors and thus control myopia.
DTF217 UC Research Institute for Sport and Exercise, Professor Gordon Waddington
AMEDA Dynamic Movement Sense Measure Project
Project Summary This project will create a “commercialisation ready” version of the AMEDA Dynamic Movement Sense Measure system by taking it from its current validated research tool version to a fully operating commercial prototype.
DTF220 ANU College of Engineering and Computer Science, Research School of Engineering, Dr David Nisbet
One-step synthesis of ultra-porous coatings for titanium implants: encouraging superior integration with bone cells
Project Summary We have developed a novel one-step manufacturing process to produce ultra-porous biocompatible, biostimulatory coatings on titanium prosthetic implants. The mechanical strength and stability of the new coating will be optimised and compared to current coatings. The ability of bone cells to attach and grow will then be assessed and compared to current coatings.  This project will provide robust experimental results and a solid benchmark for this novel coating technology enabling a more advanced engineering of three-dimensional biomaterials for improved long-term integration of bone implants.

Projects Awarded during 2016

DTF222 ANU College of Medicine, Biology & Environment, John Curtin School of Medical Research, Dr Ron Jackson
Development of an Antibacterial Adjuvant for Human and Veterinary Vaccines
Project Summary A number of important human diseases have eluded standard vaccine approaches, including Tuberculosis (TB) and certain other bacterial infections. Recently, we have developed a novel adjuvant (vaccine ‘additive’) which strongly promotes ‘anti-bacterial’ type immunity. This technology has potential to improve vaccines against Mycobacterial infections such as TB. In this proof-of-concept study we intend to: i) test the efficacy of our novel ‘anti-bacterial’ vaccine adjuvant in an attenuated viral-vectored vaccine system, by co-delivering adjuvant together with the TB antigens and ii) evaluate whether this vaccine strategy has the potential to promote enhanced high quality mucosal/systemic killer T cell and robust antibody immunity against TB, which induce better protective efficacy.

Projects Awarded during 2016

DTF224 UC Faculty of Education, Science, Technology & Mathematics, Dr Dennis McNevin
Genetic Ancestry Laboratory
Project Summary The forensic genetics team at the University of Canberra has developed proprietary algorithms, software and know-how which form the basis of investigative DNA analysis.  Funds are sought to take this IP and develop processes and products to establish markets into key areas, including genetics ancestry and forensic DNA analysis.  A stepped commercialisation strategy has been proposed to establish a service to be delivered out of the University in the first instance and then through the formation of a separate company to target these two markets.
DTF225 ANU College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences, Research School of Chemistry, Professor Martin Banwell
The Discoipyrrole Path to New Therapeutic Agents
Project Summary Prof. Martin Banwell’s group has developed a novel, modular total synthesis of members of the discoipyrrole family of alkaloids.  It is proposed that by creating a collection of novel analogues with strong patent protection, and following this work with screening for activity to identify relevant candidates, that a drug development program can be initiated that has potential to identify high-specificity small molecule inhibitors of DDR2.  Such compounds would be clearly differentiated from the small molecules currently under commercial development, all of which have low specificity and side effect profiles that are problematic for some indications. To progress this technology support is required for patent exemplification of a range of novel compounds and, thence, the initiation of a drug discovery program.
DTF228 ANU College of Medicine, Biology & Environment, Research School of Population Health, Professor Kaarin Anstey
Development of tools to assess and reduce risks of Alzheimer’s disease for wide use online by health care providers
Project Summary Professor Kaarin Anstey and her team at ANU have developed two online tools: the ANU Alzheimer’s Disease Risk Index (ANU-ADRI), a self-report tool to assess an individual’s risk factors for Alzheimer’s Disease; and Body Brain Life (BBL), a dementia and Alzheimer’s risk reduction program. This DTF application is for funding to further develop the ANU-ADRI online tool for commercial use, and to obtain market feedback on ANU-ADRI and the BBL program.  Modifications to ANU-ADRI will deliver a more user friendly interface and output, and enable the creation of user accounts allowing individual tracking over time.
DTF229 ANU College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences, Research School of Biology, Dr Kai Chan and Professor Barry Pogson
Development of novel “Yield Rescue Herbicides” for drought proofing crops
Project Summary The researchers have developed a novel method to regulate key plant stress responses, including response to drought, using an agrochemical strategy via the application of “yield rescue herbicides”. Two strategies to enhance drought tolerance are possible and both involve inhibition of the SAL1 enzyme leading to accumulation of its substrate, PAP, a stress signal in plants. The first is a chemical approach using existing agrochemicals or new chemistries and the second is the application of PAP analogues.  This provides a potentially superior approach in the development of stress-tolerant crops.
DTF230 ANU College of Medicine, Biology & Environment, John Curtin School of Medical Research, A/Professor Charani Ranasinghe
Novel HIV vaccine late pre-clinical evaluation
Project Summary We have developed two novel vaccine adjuvants (additives) that promote protective immunity against chronic mucosal infections such as HIV for which vaccines are currently not available. When these adjuvants are co-administered with a vaccine to a mucosal surface (i.e. to the nose) they induce immune responses consistent with those of “HIV elite controllers”– rare individuals who naturally control infection and do not progress to disease. The adjuvants are undergoing second-species efficacy trials, and we aim to use DTF funds to prepare vaccines for the final phase of our NHP trials, to evaluate triple action immunity prior to Phase I clinical trials.

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