MIPS researcher awarded Viertel Senior Medical Research Fellowship

Dr Michelle Halls from the Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences (MIPS) has been awarded a $1.25 million Viertel Senior Medical Research Fellowship to support her research into understanding ‘signal organisation’ with the aim to design more effective drugs with fewer side effects.

The fellowship is one of Australia’s largest philanthropic medical research grants, supporting the work of recipients over a five-year period.

In the case of Dr Halls, funding was secured from the Sylvia and Charles Viertel Foundation and from two other philanthropic trusts also managed by Equity Trustees - The Cross Family and The Frank Alexander Charitable Trusts.

Michelle

Dr Halls, who heads up a laboratory in the Drug Discovery Biology Theme at MIPS, is focused on understanding how G protein-coupled receptors (GCPRs) organise themselves in the cell, in turn creating potential to re-target drugs to gain greater therapeutic efficacy.

“I’m so grateful to the Viertel Foundation, The Cross Family and The Frank Alexander Charitable Trusts for supporting our research. Alongside my team, we’ve started to gain exciting momentum towards a deeper understanding of how receptors work and what this means for treating some diseases such as chronic pain and cancer – this funding will enable us to drive our research forward and, hopefully, break more ground in this important part of the drug discovery pipeline,” says Dr Halls.

“The human genome encodes more than 800 G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) which are involved in nearly all biological processes and are the targets of 50 – 60 per cent of all drugs. In disease, GPCRs often change both their location in a cell and how they interact with other proteins - this project aims to enable the development of more effective drugs with fewer side effects by fixing the incorrect cellular responses that are generated following a disease-dependent change in GPCR location.”

Director of MIPS, Professor Chris Porter says: “On behalf of MIPS I would like to extend a warm congratulations to Dr Halls for her success in the 2020 round of Viertel Senior Medical Research Fellowships.”

“The Fellowship awards funding to those making a significant impact to widespread health challenges and we thank Equity Trustees and the philanthropic trusts involved for their generous support.”

Since establishment, the Viertel Foundation has awarded 55 Senior Medical Research Fellowships and 135 Clinical Investigator awards, ensuring important medical and health conditions, and the treatments for them, can be researched.

Contact: Kate Carthew

Phone: 0434 674 814

Email: kate.carthew@monash.edu