Effective healthcare can save lives and deliver social, environmental and economic wellbeing to populations around the world. The COVID-19 pandemic has proven that finding solutions to global health challenges has never been so important. This cannot be done in isolation – it takes partnerships and collaborations to positively affect change.

At UniSA, our research is multidisciplinary, bringing together researchers from a range of fields, including pharmacy, allied health, nursing and midwifery, biomedicine, engineering, computer science, biology, psychology, public health, digital health, rehabilitation, preventative health, implementation science, nutrition, biophysics and epidemiology.

What we do

At UniSA, we focus our research on current and future health issues, creating solutions by working with partners from across different industries and the world. Our research strengths and capabilities span many areas, including:

 

Our partners

At UniSA, we match our research strengths and capability with the demands and opportunities of our partners, and maximise the mutual benefits of engagement.

The Road Home
Calvary Health Care Adelaide
Government of SA - SA Health
Metro Fire Service
Mayne Pharma
Helping Hand
Heart Foundation
Cancer Council SA
Rosemary Bryant Foundation
Sementis

Hear from our partners and staff

UniSA is a globally connected university, collaborating with more than 2,500 companies worldwide. Hear from our partners and staff about their collaborations and engagement.

“We are proud to support innovative and lifesaving medical research led by the University of South Australia that has the potential to change and dramatically improve the lives of South Australians impacted by disease and illness.”

Paul Flynn FUniSA, MAICD, FFIA

CEO
The Hospital Research Foundation Group

Paul Flynn FUniSA, MAICD, FFIA

CEO
The Hospital Research Foundation Group

UniSA's Enterprise Hub

The Enterprise Hub creates and sustains partnerships with organisations of all sizes, leveraging UniSA’s industry expertise and experience to solve problems, innovate and add value. Discover a range of services that can help you achieve your business goals.

Why partner with UniSA?

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WELL ABOVE WORLD-CLASS RESEARCH IN PHARMACY AND NUTRITION

2018 Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA)

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WELL ABOVE WORLD-CLASS RESEARCH IN BIOCHEMISTRY AND CELL BIOLOGY  

2018 Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA)

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No.1 IN AUSTRALIA FOR RESEARCH IMPACT AND ENGAGEMENT

2018 ARC Engagement and Impact Assessment (EI), Combined Impact – Approach to Impact and Engagement on Assessed
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#1 YOUNG UNIVERSITY IN AUSTRALIA FOR INDUSTRY INCOME

2022 THE World University Rankings

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100% OF OUR ASSESSED RESEARCH RATED AT OR ABOVE WORLD-CLASS

2018 Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA), 4-digit Fields of Research.

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#1 YOUNG UNIVERSITY IN AUSTRALIA FOR INDUSTRY COLLABORATIONS

2022 THE Young University Rankings – Industry Income Indicator.

Partner case studies

Using artificial intelligence to detect COVID-19

UniSA and partner Draganfly Inc have developed world-first technology that remotely detects the key symptoms of COVID-19 – breathing and heart rates, temperature, and blood oxygen levels.

A UniSA team led by Professor Javaan Chahl collaborated with Draganfly, the world’s oldest commercial drone manufacturer, to develop technology that combines engineering, drones, cameras, and artificial intelligence to monitor people’s vital health signs remotely. Within months, the technology had moved from drones to security cameras and kiosks, scanning vital health signs in 15 seconds.  

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“We came to UniSA with a fantasy… a customer request that we wanted to accomplish. The key thing was that UniSA didn’t sit back and wait for a list of requirements… they had a keen understanding of how both public safety and security really worked and what the product would need to do.”

Cameron Chell, Draganfly CEO

Treating gastric disease in horses

Equine gastric disease affects millions of horses worldwide, especially in the racing and endurance riding sectors. The current standard treatment for gastric disease and associated ulcers is a daily oral paste, but for some ulcers oral treatment can be ineffective, and many horses don’t accept the paste willingly.  
 
An eight-year joint project between UniSA and animal health industry partner Luoda Pharma has produced a long-acting gastric ulcer medicine, injected weekly, that heals ulcers in horses much faster than current treatments. 

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“Through the collaboration with Prof Garg’s team of researchers at UniSA, we have together invented something of great direct benefit to horses, and secondarily to their owners, worldwide. The unmet clinical needs we are endeavouring to solve are all very challenging – they have never been solved before.” 

Dr Stephen Page, Head of Product Development, Luoda Pharma

Better cancer detection for more precise treatment

In partnership with medical device company, Ferronova, researchers from UniSA’s Future Industries Institute (FII), Dr Aidan Cousins and Professor Benjamin Thierry, have developed a biodiagnostic system to refine cancer detection. The system consists of a magnetic probe and injectable magnetic nanoscale tracers, able to detect the spread of cancer less invasively, more quickly, and more accurately than existing methods. It delivers an accurate and affordable system for the staging of deep or complex cancers, such as head and neck, gastrointestinal and oesophageal cancers.

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“Translating university IP into human trials is a significant undertaking, and the Ferronova nanoparticle technology is one of the first new magnetic nanoparticle technologies to be translated to the clinic in over 20 years... The collaboration has been positive for both UniSA and Ferronova.”

Stewart Bartlett, CEO, Ferronova

Adaptable, affordable vaccines for multiple conditions

Despite safe and effective vaccines being available for a wide range of infectious diseases, prevention and treatment of more complex conditions, including allergy and cancer, remain elusive. Furthermore, vaccines are complex to manufacture, making them difficult to produce to a scale, quality and cost that supports widespread global access. An ongoing collaboration between South Australian biotech company Sementis Ltd and UniSA’s Experimental Therapeutics Laboratory has developed a vaccine delivery platform that can potentially produce easy-to-manufacture vaccines for multiple acute and chronic disease conditions.

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“The collaboration with UniSA over the past 11 years has resulted in the development of what is Australia’s most advanced viral-vector vaccine technology platform technology, and we look forward to continuing the collaboration to support the work of Sementis to scale this vaccine technology ready for clinical trials.”

Leanne Hobbs, CEO, Sementis

Improving mental health in aged care

UniSA has partnered with Helping Hand to address widespread apathy and improve mental health in aged care using virtual reality (VR) technology. Apathy in aged care homes hastens cognitive decline and can affect up to 84 per cent of older populations.  

The innovative tool enables seniors to relive happy memories from their past through a 360-degree experience. Residents with the highest levels of apathy showed the most improvement suggesting using VR may help improve the lives of older adults in residential aged care. 

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“Working with Helping Hand allowed me to understand aged care systems and procedures so I could ensure we were engaging with both residents and their families in the right way while providing person-centred care.”

Dimitrios Saredakis, PhD Candidate at UniSA

Helping keep astronauts healthy in space

As humanity looks to expand its presence beyond Earth, the wellbeing of the women and men who undertake off-planet activities remains top priority. With space missions likely to become longer over coming years, developing reliable ways to monitor the health of astronauts is a crucial aspect of space exploration. UniSA’s Associate Professor Craig Priest is currently working with NASA to develop non-invasive sensors to monitor health through the testing of bodily fluids such as sweat and saliva, identifying potential health issues quickly and easily.

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“The combined expertise and capabilities comprised in this effort have been beneficial in addressing problems of mutual scientific interests to our respective organizations, which could open the doors for further collaborations in this area, as well as other related areas of interest.”

Dr Félix A. Miranda, Deputy Chief, Communications and Intelligent Systems Division, NASA Glenn Research Center

Developing Aboriginal medicines to fight inflammation

Aboriginal Peoples were the first to research and understand the effects of Australian plants, with thousands of years of accumulated knowledge about their properties and how to best to use them. A long-term partnership between UniSA researchers and Chuulangun Aboriginal Corporation is leading the way in understanding the healing potential of plant species used in Aboriginal medicine, while also creating a model for equitable partnerships and benefit sharing between Aboriginal and Western scientific researchers.

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“I hope that this work will continue to provide opportunities for Aboriginal custodians to manage and direct research on their land and receive ongoing income from the intellectual property of their heritage, as well as support the passing down of traditional plant knowledge from Elders to younger generations.”

Dr Susan Semple, Senior Research Fellow, University of South Australia

Keeping Aboriginal women’s hearts strong

Despite our nation’s commitment to improve health outcomes for Aboriginal Peoples, a significant life expectancy gap remains, with heart disease the leading cause of death in women. UniSA PhD candidate Katharine McBride is working with Aboriginal women and health providers such as Watto Purrunna Aboriginal Primary Health Care Service to encourage governments to approach health from an Aboriginal perspective. 

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“As an Aboriginal man, it has given me confidence that the research is meeting community priorities and delivering benefits on the ground for Aboriginal women. Being a partner in the design and process, has taught us we can do so much better.”

Kurt Towers, Executive Director Aboriginal Health, Northern Adelaide Local Health Network

Explore our research

As Australia’s University of Enterprise, our research centres work closely with industry on projects that deliver improvements in medicine, healthcare and overall wellbeing.

Experts in health, medical & care

Meet our researchers and learn about how they are working towards solving industry and partner challenges.

With over 20 years’ experience working with industry, my research focuses on dietary strategies to improve cardiovascular, metabolic and cognitive function. Together with my team, I have worked with the Almond Board of California on the health outcomes of nut consumption in adults, finding improvements in markers of cardiovascular health and continuing to explore the role on nuts in weight management.

Professor Alison Coates
Director, ARENA

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Professor Alison Coates
Director, ARENA

I research how the lymphatic vasculature is constructed during development and how this process “goes wrong” in human pathologies including cancer and lymphoedema. My team, together with colleagues at SA Pathology, are investigating the role of GATA2, a molecule that binds to DNA to switch genes off or on to drive lymphatic vessel valve development. We aim to understand the molecular mechanisms that regulate GATA2 activity and the genes controlled by GATA2, to help design new therapeutic agents able to treat lymphoedema.

Professor Natasha Harvey
Director, Centre for Cancer Biology

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Professor Natasha Harvey
Director, Centre for Cancer Biology

I am fascinated by humans. This fascination has led me to become a physiotherapist, then a neuroscientist, a pain scientist and a science educator. I combine my clinical work with research, focused on pain. In collaboration with AIA Australia, we developed an education-coaching based approach to clients on income protection cover due to chronic pain. Working with over 1,000 clients using this approach, 70% have returned to work or begun the process of returning to work. This has improved the outcomes for people living with chronic pain and reduced the need for income protection payments.

Professor Lorimer Moseley AO

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Professor Lorimer Moseley AO

Find a research expert

Health, medical & care training and development

UniSA offers a range of bachelor, master, PhD and Executive Education programs across the allied health fields and clinical sciences that align to the sector’s needs in developing and transforming its future workforce.

Health, medical & care news from UniSA

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