CCA Young Investigator Award

Established in 2005, the $10,000 CCA Young Investigator Award is aimed at encouraging an early-career investigator research into the cause and/or treatment of Inflammatory Bowel Disease within Australia.


Dr Rebecca Hill

Queensland’s Dr Rebecca Hill was awarded the inaugural Young Investigator Award in 2005-06 for her project titled Nutritional Status, linear growth and body composition in children with Inflammatory Bowel Disease.

Many children with IBD have impaired linear growth and fail to grow appropriately for their age, due to both the activity of the disease and its treatment. The study contributed to the medical treatment and wellbeing of the participants as well as aiding the development of future research in the area of nutritional interventions.

Dr Nicola Eastaff-Leung

Dr Nicola Eastaff-Leung was awarded the 2006-07 Young Investigator Award for her project Investigation of Regulatory Cells in Inflammatory Bowel Disease.

Her research showed that an imbalance exists within the immune system of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) patients compared with healthy individuals. The finding of this study may provide a simple diagnostic tool in the future to identify those at risk, and this blood test may also be able to determine the effectiveness of treatments.

Dr Josef Wagner

Dr Josef Wagner was awarded the 2007-2008 Young Investigator Award for his research The identification of novel bacterial agent(s) present in clinical specimens collected from Children with early onset Crohn’s disease.

The study showed that the gut microbiota not only differs at higher bacterial level between Crohn’s Disease and non-IBD patients but also at the genus level.  The significance of this work was further recognised with support from the Jack Brockhoff Foundation obtained to continue the research in paediatric Crohn’s disease.

Peter de Cruz

THE CCA’s Young Investigator Award 2008-2009 was awarded to Dr Peter De Cruz for his research project, Post-operative Crohn’s disease: cause and prevention.

Eighty percent of patients with Crohn’s disease need an operation at some time in their life. Unfortunately even if all the diseased intestine is removed, the disease nearly always recurs, and 70 per cent of those who have had an operation will require another one. This project aimed to determine whether regular bowel examination after surgery, together with drug treatment if the disease is recurring, will prevent severe disease, symptoms, and the need for another operation. It  also aimed to investigate in the laboratory whether particular bowel bacteria or the immune system cause recurrent disease.