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Professor Russ Chess-Williams Awarded Grant to Fund Urology Research

Bond University’s Faculty of Health Sciences and Medicine has achieved a significant milestone, receiving its first major grant from the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) valued at over $430,000.

The NHMRC funding will sponsor a three-year urology research project headed by Bond’s Professor Russ Chess-Williams and involving an international team of researchers from the universities of NSW (Professors Elizabeth Burcher and Kate Moore), Wollongong (Dr Kylie Mansfield) and Sheffield in the UK (Professor Dave Grundy).

“Specifically, we will be looking at the chemical processes involved in patients suffering from an over-active bladder and the health issues this condition causes,” said Dr Russ Chess-Williams.

“This is a significant problem affecting a large percentage of the population and yet there is little treatment available and very few people working on research in the field.

“As such, the NHMRC grant is a vital step towards helping us understand the problem and devise a treatment, while positioning Australia at the forefront of urology research worldwide.”

According to Dr Chess-Williams, patients affected by an over-active bladder feel the urge to urinate constantly, even when their bladder is empty. It can keep them awake at night or continually interrupt their sleep, greatly affecting their quality of life.

The research team will use human and pig bladders to study how the bladder signals to that brain that it is full.

“As the bladder fills and stretches, it releases a chemical called ATP,” he said. “We believe there is something wrong with this process in patients with an over-active bladder.”

Whilst there are drugs currently available to treat the condition, they are often ineffective and have side effects which discourage use by sufferers.

“Examining the chemical process in depth will ultimately assist in the development of more effective drugs with fewer side effects.”

The announcement of this major NHMRC grant caps off a year in which Bond’s research portfolio has increased substantially, as evidenced by an 87% growth in external funding.

Early this year, the University also launched three new multi-disciplinary research centres – in Forensics, Health Informatics and Sports; each one drawing together cross-disciplinary expertise from several Faculties.

"With a research profile ranging from cutting edge to intensely practical projects, Bond University is at the forefront of ‘new thinking’, developing innovative solutions to real world problems," said the University’s Pro Vice-Chancellor of Research, Professor Chris Del Mar.

"Our success is built on devising workable solutions, tailored to suit the specific requirements of our regional, national and global industry and government partners.”

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