ACU researcher awarded prestigious ARC Future Fellowship Grant

Australian Catholic University (ACU) medical researcher Dr Kim Loh has been awarded a highly competitive Australian Research Council (ARC) Future Fellowship.

Dr Loh is among a distinguished group of a hundred Future Fellows across Australia who will collectively receive over $97 million in grants.

The Future Fellowships scheme aims to support outstanding mid-career researchers in conducting high-quality research that contributes to both national and international benefit.

Dr Loh has been granted $770,338 to pursue an ambitious research project at ACU and the St Vincent's Institute of Medical Research (SVI).

The project titled "Uncovering a novel energy-sensing mechanism in the brain" aims to investigate a protein in the brain that regulates energy supply to the whole body.

Dr Loh's groundbreaking research will use innovative gene technologies to tackle the metabolic disorders such as obesity.

The research findings are expected to present new opportunities for economic growth in the Australian biotechnology industry, paving the way for the development of potential therapeutics for metabolic disorders.

Dr Loh said it was an honour to receive the fellowship grant.

"This really means a lot," Dr Loh said.

"I established my lab mid-2019 and we experienced more than three years of COVID disruption.

"This fellowship provides an opportunity to run a successful research team over the coming years.

"The project is well supported by ACU and SVI, which are well-equipped with state-of-art technologies and facilities that will allow me to conduct the research proposed in this fellowship."

Dr Loh said he was excited to help further research into metabolic disorders like obesity that affect billions of people worldwide.

"Obesity is directly connected to diseases like Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. It affects 30% of Australian adults and cost $11b/year to treat. We suspect a novel protein in the brain is responsible for the disease development.

"This fellowship will allow us to understand how this protein in the brain controls appetite and energy metabolism. This can then be translated into new, effective and lasting weight management strategies to combat obesity. "

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Enterprise) Professor Abid Khan said ACU was proud of Dr Loh's achievement.

"This groundbreaking research will strengthen Australia's expertise in neurobiology and metabolism, fostering the development of a skilled workforce in cutting-edge science and training the next generation of scientists," Professor Khan said.

"This is another example of ACU's commitment to fundamental, impact-focused research that benefits society."

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