Participant 11: Edith Cowan University (ECU), Australia / Prof Wei Wang. 

Organization: As a research institution, Edith Cowan University research efforts are concentrated into areas where it can demonstrate effective leadership, highlight its disciplinary/inter-disciplinary strengths and achieve sufficient concentration of resources to support long term research programs in areas of national and international significance. To achieve this, the University has established eight designated Areas of Research Strength that provide both a focal point for research and research training activities and a framework for the establishment of dedicated research centres. Collectively, these areas of research strength provide substantial interdisciplinary teams of highly productive researchers who are able to address significant research problems from a range of perspectives.
The 2010 Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) National Report results, released in January 2011, placed ECU “at world standard” in four discipline areas and within the Medical and Health Sciences discipline, Clinical Sciences and Nursing were both rated at, or above, world standard.
Team: Prof Wei Wang, Prof Alan Bittles, Dr CR Goucke; A/Prof Moira Sim; Prof XiaoMin Wang (Director of the Institute of Pain Study, Capital Medical University, Beijing China), Dr Michael Black and Mr Regis Williams.
Chief Investigators (Wei Wang, Alan Bittles, CR Goucke, Moira Sim and Michael Black) will each contribute their respective sub-specialised expertise, time commitment and institutional infrastructure to this study. The team will have access to a suite of well-equipped state of the art accredited laboratories and personnel for administration, scheduling, reception and testing. Moreover, the team will have access to specialised equipment, clinical databases, clinical networks and clinical space to conduct the research and disseminate their research findings. Access to patient samples for the Australian component of this study will be provided by Super Clinic Network, Rehabilitation Cohort on Sports and Exercise-Edith Cowan University (ECU). This represents a significant in-kind contribution by the Chief Investigators to the project. In addition to the in-kind support outlined, ECU will also provide cash support valued at $200,000 which will be targeted to supplement the salary costs of the Postdoctoral Research Fellow (Dr Michael Black) and his training in this consortium study. Sample collection and glycan analysis and testing are subject to successful funding from the NHMRC and will be supported entirely by this source.

Relevant Competences and Experience: Professor Wei Wang (MD, PhD, FFPH) is a Professor in Human Genetics in the School of Medical Sciences, Edith Cowan University, Western Australia.
Professor Wang’s current research focuses on biomarker screening. He is also director of the Key Municipal Laboratory of Clinical Epidemiology, Beijing, and adjunct professor of Capital Medical University, Beijing.
Given the multifaceted aetiology of this project, it is imperative to take a multidisciplinary approach to the scientific investigation. Thus, the project incorporates a remarkable merge of expertise within the research team particularly in the areas of biomarker discovery development and validation, and Omics (Wang, Bittles, Black), public health (Wang, Sim), Back Pain (Sim), clinical interventions (Wang, Sim,), chronic disease management and clinical trials (Wang, Newton, Sim). As such, the team is uniquely placed to effectively complete the aims and objectives of this study enabled by the Group’s extensive clinical networks. They have a demonstrated ability to successfully complete large, multi-site trials in various disease populations and translate findings into practice. The proposed study is well within their capabilities, facilities and patient recruitment capacity and as such is highly feasible. The proposed research will be extensively supported by research collaborations in which each of the collaborating partners contributes their own expertise creating synergy and ‘exponential’ opportunities for collaboration. Of fundamental importance is the clinical link. This link is critical to the ‘circular’ relationship of research with clinical practice and facilitates not only ongoing support for the research program but also builds a platform for further research linkages. This study builds on existing cross institutional research partnership between Edith Cowan University and Royal Perth Hospital researchers and represents each institutions core research objective to undertake high quality research that is inspired by engagement, research partnerships, and that offers practical benefits to the communities it serves.
Main Tasks: To recruit prospective Chronic Back Pain cases in Australia and China, to enable a prospective validation study of novel individual and composite biomarkers.

Participant: WP2, WP7.