Professor Elaine Holmes, Murdoch University Director of the Centre for Computational and Systems Medicine and Premier’s Research Fellow, has been awarded the prestigious Australian Laureate Fellowship from the Australia Research Council (ARC).
Professor Holmes, one of only 14 Australian leading academics recognised in 2020, has been awarded over $3.36 million to deepen our understanding of age-related changes in the gut microbiome - the complex community of bacteria and other microbes that reside in the intestine and plays an important role in health and wellbeing.
“I am delighted to hear that Professor Elaine Holmes has been awarded an ARC Laureate Fellowship” WA's Chief Scientist Professor Peter Klinken said, “it demonstrates the esteem in which she is held by the scientific community.
The cutting-edge work that Professor Holmes is undertaking on the interaction between microbes and humans, particularly in ageing populations, will make a major contribution to the understanding and treatment of numerous diseases globally.”
Murdoch University Vice Chancellor Eeva Leinonen said: “Professor Holmes’ award follows a stellar scientific career in metabolic science that started at Imperial College London and is now being taken forward at the Centre For Computational and Systems Medicine here at Murdoch where she is the academic lead.
Professor Jeremy Nicholson, Pro-Vice Chancellor for Health Sciences at Murdoch University said: “The importance of the microbiome in health and disease cannot be underestimated and Professor Holmes’ work concerns unravelling the language of microbe to human communication that will be fundamental to understanding the prevention and treatments of many diseases of old age”.
The aim of Professor Holmes Fellowship is to make significant advance in the understanding of host-microbiome signalling in ageing which could lead the way to preventative therapies and individualised treatments.
“Population ageing is occurring globally, creating an urgent need for evidence to guide our communities into longer and healthier lives and to develop improved models of health care,” Professor Holmes said.
“We now know that our gut microbiome plays a crucial role in maintaining the effectiveness of our immune system and that the diversity, abundance and makeup of the gut microbiome changes over time.
The microbiome influences how our gut, muscles, liver, brain and other organs function.
“This research program is pivotal to gain a deeper understanding of the age-associated changes in gut bacteria composition and function.
“It will help identify novel and individually targeted diets and therapies that will significantly improve our health and quality of life.”
Western Australia is uniquely positioned to help solve some of the world’s most challenging problems being home to the Australian National Phenome Centre (ANPC), the most powerful genomics testing capacity in the state and the largest automation laboratory in health research in Australia.
The Centre for Computational and Systems Medicine and the ANPC are part of Murdoch University’s Health Futures Institute, bringing together a multidisciplinary team of scientists and our local WA community to transform how long and how well people live, not just in Australia, but around the world.