Premier’s Fellows in phenomics to advance precision medicine

  • McGowan Government’s $1.5 million investment attracts world-class medical researchers
  • Internationally recognised Premier’s Science Fellow and talented Premier’s Early to Mid-Career Fellow appointed
  • Fellows will undertake phenomics research and data analysis to improve healthcare
  • Fellows will attract research investment and create jobs in WA

Two key appointments were announced, Professor Elaine Holmes as the Premier’s Science Fellow and Dr Ruey Leng Loo as the Premier’s Early to Mid-Career Fellow.

The new Fellows will turbocharge our State’s existing strengths through world-leading human phenomics research using metabolite profiling and data analytics with clinical applications.

Phenomics is the study of the interaction of genes and environmental influences. While our genes set the stage for human health and disease, what is actually happening in our bodies right now is a result of the dynamic interactions between our genes and environmental factors including lifestyle, diet, drug treatment and our gut microbes.

Profiling of metabolites in our bodies, which provides a snapshot of our current internal status, will help improve and tailor disease prevention, detection and treatment.

Professor Holmes, currently at Imperial College London, will conduct research on WA-focused areas such as maternal and infant health, liver and gastrointestinal diseases, metabolic diseases such as diabetes, and dementia.

Dr Loo, currently based at the Medway School of Pharmacy, near London, will support Professor Holmes’ research and undertake complementary research in personalised nutrition and health.

WAHTN was instrumental in bringing the Fellows to WA. The Fellows will make our State a leading centre in this cutting-edge area of medical science and attract research investment and interest from domestic and international students, creating jobs in WA.

Comments attributed to Premier Mark McGowan:

“The State Government is making an investment of $1 million over four years to support Professor Holmes and $500,000 to support Dr Loo, to deliver significant returns and opportunities to WA.

“This support will contribute to this Government’s commitment to make our State a medical research and health innovation powerhouse, and add to the benefits that will be generated by the Future Health Research and Innovation Fund.”

Comments attributed to Science Minister Dave Kelly:

“I am delighted that Murdoch University and Edith Cowan University are collaborating as the host organisations for these Fellows, and that they have matched the State Government’s funding.

“These Fellows will also develop significant international collaborations, including through the Australian National Phenome Centre’s membership of the International Phenome Centre Network.”

Comments attributed to Health Minister Roger Cook:

“I am excited that we have been able to attract researchers of this calibre to advance the important and growing medical research area of human phenomics, which was ‘kick-started’ in WA by the Department of Health.

“The new Fellows will tap into and build on the strong existing collaborations on phenomics research and infrastructure within the WA-based Australian National Phenome Centre, which is a core enabling platform of the WA Health Translation Network.”

ANPC includes all the Universities, Research Institutes and health Centres of WA, already linked together through the WAHTN.

WAHTN seeks to enable the translation of health and medical research in WA into better patient care, informed health care policy, practice and commercialisation opportunities, and hence job creation in WA. It is linked through the Australian Health Research Alliance (AHRA) to the six other Advanced Health Research Translation Centres in Australia, and will be the national centre for application of metabolomics to data analysis in clinical trials and new therapeutics in the country.

Comments attributed to Chief Scientist Peter Klinken:

“The State has clearly defined strengths in many areas of science and we can build on these comparative advantages by recruiting highly skilled people to WA.

“The Premier’s Science Fellowship Program is absolutely essential for recruiting some of the world’s most talented scientists to WA.”

Premier’s office – 6552 5000

Science Minister’s office – 6552 6100

Health Minister’s office – 6552 6500