• The Doherty Institute for Infection and ImmunityThe Doherty Institute is a world-class institute combining research, teaching, public health and reference laboratory services, diagnostic services and clinical care into infectious diseases and immunity.

  • Melburnian of the YearProfessor Sharon Lewin - inaugural Director of the Doherty, leading HIV scientist and Melburnian of the Year 2014.

  • Great advances in science and medicine need teamworkCollaboration is at the heart of the Doherty: working with the best people, using the best technology. All of the Doherty's researchers are top-level investigators who are collaborating with the best across the city, country and world.

  • Peter DohertyThe Doherty Institute is named after immunologist Laureate Professor Peter Doherty. For over 50 years, Professor Doherty has dedicated his life to science with a vision to improve global health and wellbeing.

Despite the extraordinary advances of the 20th century, old and new infectious diseases remain a major cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. The Doherty Institute is a joint venture of the University of Melbourne and Melbourne Health (The Royal Melbourne Hospital). Our vision is to be the world leader in responding to and managing infectious diseases.
- Professor Sharon Lewin
  Director, Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity

Twitter

  • Medical research institutes push for gender balance in science http://t.co/zZuSnWpSNj via @ABCNews #WiSSP #womeninscience
  • Can AIDS Be Cured? | The New Yorker @slewinAIDS2014 #hivcure http://t.co/cz8I38QUAi
  • @slewinAIDS2014 on abc midday talking about new research about antibodies for HIV produced in llamas #HIVvaccine http://t.co/nBhT2JUqum
  • RT @nytimes: A doctor shares his story of surviving an Ebola infection that nearly killed him http://t.co/epTJ8X3Nni http://t.co/PgnxLUbGjW
  • RT @abcnews: Cambodian health authorities say 82 people who tested positive for HIV/AIDS may have been infected by dirty needles http://t.c…
  • RT @theMJA: MJA podcast/video: Prof Lyn Gilbert talks all things #ebola. Pod: http://t.co/QyRZEFHfsA and video: http://t.co/oOF6KwDsC2 @syd…
  • Researchers found 1st reported incidence of an antibody that can neutralise all 4 types Dengue and help new vaccines http://t.co/uzgDoYsSIa
  • Health check: how to avoid getting ill from chicken http://t.co/a30Bo2YqUf via @ConversationEDU
  • We're looking for someone to develop our website... contact doherty-media@unimelb.edu.au for details. Closing date 31 Dec. #DohertyInstitute
  • @ProfPCDoherty standing up against the dumbing down of Australia and risks of cuts to research funding @abc730 right now #csiro

Vision and key ideas

A world-class institute combining research into infectious disease and immunity with teaching excellence.

The Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity

"... detect, investigate and respond to known and emerging infectious diseases ..."

The Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity

The Doherty Institute is a world-class institute combining research, teaching, public health and reference laboratory services, diagnostic services and clinical care into infectious diseases and immunity.

The establishment of the Doherty Institute represents a radical change in the capacity of Australia and the world to detect, investigate and respond to existing, emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases and agents, with a major focus on diseases that pose serious public and global health threats such as influenza, tuberculosis, HIV, viral hepatitis and drug resistant bacteria. The Doherty’s activities are multi-disciplinary and cross-sectoral, placing great emphasis on translational research and improving clinical outcomes. Teams of interdisciplinary scientists, clinicians and epidemiologists collaborate on a wide spectrum of activities - from basic immunology and discovery research, to the development of new vaccines and new preventative and treatment methods, to surveillance and investigation of disease outbreaks.

The Parkville Precinct: a powerhouse of 10,000 minds

"... transforming the ability of scientists and clinicians to conduct research ..."

The Parkville Precinct: a powerhouse of 10,000 minds

Located in the heart of Parkville’s biomedical precinct, the Doherty is a partnership between the University of Melbourne and Melbourne Health. The Parkville Precinct is a great global research and teaching powerhouse and among the top five biomedical precincts in the world.

A powerhouse of 10,000 minds, the Parkville biomedical precinct is one the world’s top biomedical hubs, blending teaching, research and clinical practice. The sheer quantity of life sciences research facilities, institutes, researchers, clinicians, fellows and postgraduate students in the Parkville Precinct and surrounds, and the comprehensive breadth of bioscience disciplines, is without parallel in the Southern hemisphere and one of the few such concentrations of research excellence worldwide. The critical mass achieved through the co-location of so many leading global research institutes with major world-class hospitals, a great University and successful global industries, is a key factor fostering the collaborative research ecology and culture that is so characteristic of the Parkville Precinct. This is transforming the ability of scientists and clinicians to conduct research and training, enabling previously standalone research organisations to collaborate more effectively and accelerating research outcomes for the benefit of patients within Australia and around the world.

Peter Doherty

"... 1996 Nobel prize winner; 1997 Australian of the Year ..."

Peter Doherty

The Doherty Institute is named after immunologist Laureate Professor Peter Doherty. For over 50 years, Professor Doherty has dedicated his life to science with a vision to improve global health and wellbeing.

In 1996, Professor Doherty and his Swiss colleague Rolf Zinkernagel were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for discovering how the immune system recognises virus-infected cells.

Professor Doherty was Australian of the Year in 1997 and has attracted many prestigious international awards, including the Paul Ehrlich Prize (1983), the Gairdner International Award for Medical Science (1986), and the Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award (1995). Professor Doherty is based at the University of Melbourne's Department of Microbiology and Immunology and since 1985 has been a member of the Department of Immunology at St Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis.

Among many other activities occupying his time, Professor Doherty is a prolific tweeter. Follow him at @ProfPCDoherty.

Bridging the gap in the control of infectious disease

"... develop and test the vaccines and therapies of the future ..."

Bridging the gap in the control of infectious disease

The Doherty Institute is working across the spectrum of biomedical, public health, population and clinical science to be ready to respond to known and emerging infectious diseases and to develop and test the vaccines and therapies of the future.

Media

"...research informing public debate and clinical practice..."

MediaMedia coverage and releases

The Doherty Institute is active in the media. Here is a selection of media coverage and releases.

Media Releases
18.11.14: 
One-health approach can combat increasing levels of antimicrobial resistance
17.11.14: Alliance to promote gender balance among research leaders
15.11.14:
 Congratulations Professor Sharon Lewin – Melburnian of the Year
16.10.14:
New Institute for Infection and Immunity is well prepared to support Australia's response to Ebola 

The Doherty in the Media

7.12.14 Three Triple RRR Einstein a Go-Go, Sharon Lewin interview, 5mins 08 seconds.

2.12.14 BBC World Service Newsday, Paul Cameron interview, 27 mins 26 seconds.

2.12.14 El Economista La cura para el VIH, elusiva

2.12.14 Huffington Post World AIDS Day 2014: The Year that Was, the Year Ahead 

1.12.14 Star Observer World AIDS Day Commemorated around Australia

1.12.14 JOY 94.9 World AIDS Day broadcast

25.11.14 The Conversation What price a life? Hepatitis C drug out of reach for millions 

24.11.14 The Australian Jewish News Melburnian of the Year

22.11.14 ABC World Today (radio). Hitmen of the human body give up their secrets for fighting infection

22.11.14 Herald Sun. Melbourne Awards featuring Professor Sharon Lewin, Melburnian of the Year 2014 (subscription only)

18.11.14 The Lancet: HIV. Ebola and HIV: managing febrile times

17.11.14 ABC Health Report (Radio National). Antibiotic resistance

4.11.14 AFP Scientists see mechanism for spontaneous HIV 'cure'

31.10.14 Up Close (University of Melbourne podcast) How HIV works at the cellular level 

30.10.14 ABC World Today (radio) World Today 

21.10.14 TV New New Zealand
Australasia's sole ebola testing lab
Melbourne lab holds key to ebola detection 

21.10.14 ABC Australia's ebola safety measures 

16.10.14 The Age The front line against ebola in Australia 

16.10.14 The Drum (ABC) Is ebola likely to become a global pandemic 

6.10.14 The British Medical Journal (BMJ) Blog The challenge of infectious diseases 

3.10.14 New York Times Italy: Child thought to be rid of HIV suffers a relapse

29.09.14 The Huffington Post Continuing the fight against infectious diseases 

From bench to bedside

"... publishing results in scientific journals, setting industry standards and guiding policy ..."

Latest Publications: December 2014

Here is a selection of recent publications from across the departments at the Doherty, giving an indication of the breadth and diversity of expertise.

Facilitating surveillance of pulmonary invasive mold diseases in patients with haematological malignancies by screening computed tomography reports using natural language processing. Ananda-Rajah MR. et al. PLoS One. 2014 Sep 24;9(9):e107797. Contact: Monica Slavin and Karin Thursky, VIDS.

A molecular basis underpinning the T cell receptor heterogeneity of mucosal-associated invariant T cells. Eckle, SB., et al. The Journal of experimental medicine 211:1585-1600. Contact: Dale Godfrey, DMI.

Activation of HIV Transcription with Short-Course Vorinostat in HIV-Infected Patients on Suppressive Antiretroviral Therapy. Elliott JH., et al. PLOS Pathogens. November 2014, Volume 10, Issue 11, e1004473.
Contact: Julian Elliott, Fiona Wightman and Sharon Lewin, Doherty.

MAIT cells are depleted early but retain functional cytokine expression in HIV infection. Fernandez, CS., et al. Immunology and cell biology, in press. Contact: Dale Godfrey and Stephen Kent, DMI.

Antibody landscapes after influenza virus infection or vaccination. Science. Fonville JM, et al. 2014 Nov 21;346(6212):996-1000. doi:10.1126/science.1256427. PubMed PMID: 25414313; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4246172. Contact: Aeron Hurt and Ian Barr, WHO Collaborative Centre for Influenza and Annette Fox, DMI.

Hemagglutination inhibiting antibodies and protection against seasonal and pandemic influenza infection. Fox A. et al. J Infect. 2014 Sep 16. pii: S0163-4453(14)00282-5. Contact: Annette Fox, DMI and Ian Barr, WHO Collaborating Centre for Influenza.

Postnatal growth outcomes and influence of maternal gestational weight gain: a prospective cohort study in rural Vietnam. Hanieh, S. et al. BMC Pregnancy Childbirth. 2014 Sep 30;14:339. Contact: Beverley-Ann Biggs, VIDS.

What's new in the treatment of serious MRSA infection? Holmes NE. and BP Howden. Curr Opin Infect Dis. 2014 Dec;27(6):471-8. Contact: Ben Howden, MDU.

The epidemiology and spread of drug resistant human influenza viruses. Hurt AC. Curr Opin Virol. 2014 Oct;8:22-9. Contact: Aeron Hurt, WHO Collaborating Centre for Influenza.

Melittin peptides exhibit different activity on different cells and model membranes.
Jamasbi E, et al. Amino Acids 2014; 46:2759-2766.
Contact: Roy Robins-Browne, DMI.

Down-regulation of IL-18 mediated cell signalling and IFN-γ expression by the hepatitis B virus e antigen. Jegaskanda S. et al. Journal of Virology 2014 Sep 15; 88(18):10412-20. Contact: Peter Revill and Stephen Locarnini, VIDRL and Stephen Kent, DMI. 

Ebola and HIV: Managing febrile times. Lewin S. The Lancet HIV, Volume 1, Issue 3, Pages e101 - e102, December 2014. Contact: Sharon Lewin, Doherty Directorate.

The glucocorticoid receptor 1A3 promoter correlates with high sensitivity to glucocorticoid-induced apoptosis in human lymphocytes. Liddicoat, DR., et al. 2014. Immunology and cell biology 92:825-836. Contact: Dale Godfrey, DMI.

Ex vivo response to histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors of the HIV long terminal repeat (LTR) derived from HIV-infected patients on antiretroviral therapy. Lu HK, et al. Plos One (in press). Contact: Paul Cameron and Sharon Lewin, Doherty.

Regulatory i NKT cells lack expression of the transcription factor PLZF and control the homeostasis of Treg cells and macrophages in adipose tissue. Lynch L. et al. Nature Immunology. Contact: Dale Godfrey, DMI.

Evaluation of oseltamivir prophylaxis regimens for reducing influenza virus infection, transmission and disease severity in a ferret model of household contact. Oh DY.et al. J Antimicrob Chemother. 2014 Sep;69(9):2458-69. Contact: Anne Kelso, Ian Barr and Aeron Hurt, WHO Collaborating Centre for Influenza.

CD3 signals on gammadelta T cells identify IL-17A-producing Vgamma6Vdelta1 T cells. Paget, C., et al. 2014. Immunology and cell biology, in press. Contact: Dale Godfrey, DMI.

The molecular bases of delta/alphabeta T cell-mediated antigen recognition. Pellicci DG et al. The Journal of Experimental Medicine, in press. Contact: Dale Godfrey, DMI.

Partial inhibition of gp130-Jak-Stat3 signaling prevents Wnt-b-catenin-mediated intestinal tumor growth and regeneration. Phesse, TJ et al. Science Signaling 7 (345), ra92 (2014). Contact: Dustin Flanagan and Elizabeth Vincan, VIDRL.

Impact of antiretroviral therapy (ART) timing on chronic immune activation/inflammation and end-organ damage. Rajasuriar R, et al. Curr Opin HIV AIDS. Contact: Sharon Lewin, Doherty.

Early respiratory infection is associated with reduced spirometry in children with cystic fibrosis. Ramsey KA, et al. Am J Respir Crit Care Med 2014; 190:1111-1116. Contact: Roy Robins-Browne, DMI.

Panobinostat. A histone deacetylase inhibitor for latent virus reactivation in HIV-infected patients on suppressive antiretroviral therapy: a phase I/II single group clinical trial. Rasmussen TA, et al. Lancet HIV, Sept 23rd, 2014 epub. Contact: Sharon Lewin, Doherty.

Distinct Epigenetic Signatures Delineate Transcriptional Programs during Virus-Specific CD8+ T Cell Differentiation. Russ BE. et al. Immunity 41, 1–13, November 20, 2014. Contact: Stephen Turner, DMI and Anne Kelso, WHO Collaboraitve Centre for Influenza.

No difference in the rate of change in telomere length or telomerase activity in HIV-infected patients after three years of darunavir/ritonavir with and without nucleoside analogues in the MONET trial. Solomon A, et al. Plos One. Contact: Sharon Lewin, Doherty.

Using stool antigen to screen for Helicobacter pylori in immigrants and refugees from high prevalence countries is relatively cost effective in reducing the burden of gastric cancer and peptic ulceration. Schulz TR, et al. PLoS One. 2014 Sep 30;9(9):e108610. Contact: Emma McBryde and Beverley-Ann Biggs, VIDS.

Outbreak of locally acquired azithromycin-resistant Shigella flexneri infection in men who have sex with men. Valcanis, M. et al. Pathology. 2014 Dec 3. In Press. Contact: Ben Howden, MDU.

Influenza vaccination of Victorian healthcare workers: will a higher target increase vaccine uptake? Wang, D., L. Worth, et al. (2014). Aust N Z J Public Health 38(5): 490. Contact: Ann Bull, VICNISS.

Staphylococcus aureus blood stream infection as a quality indicator in Australian hospitals: reduction in infections detected by a Victorian surveillance system. Worth LJ, S. T., Bull AL, Richards MJ (2014). Med J Aust(200): 282-284. Contact: Michael Richards, VICNISS.

Great advances in science and medicine need teamwork. Collaboration is at the heart of the Doherty: working with the best people, using the best technology. All of the Doherty's researchers are top-level investigators who are collaborating with the best across the city, country and world.


Themes

The Doherty is working across the spectrum of biomedical science, public health, population and clinical science responding to known and emerging infectious diseases with the overall goal to develop and test novel vaccines and treatments.

New vaccines, treatments and diagnostics 

"... The Doherty Institute is tackling some of the major communicable disease threats of our time ..."

New vaccines, treatments and diagnostics

Despite the extraordinary advances of the 20th century, known and emerging infectious diseases remain a major cause of death and illness worldwide.

There are 35 million people infected with HIV.

"… strategies are needed to prevent, treat and ultimately cure HIV infection …"

HIV

Better strategies are needed to prevent, treat and ultimately cure HIV infection. There are 35 million people infected with HIV and over 2 million new infections a year.

Although there is effective treatment available, treatment is lifelong and comes at considerable cost. Therefore there is a need to understand why HIV persists in patients on antiviral therapy, which immune responses control HIV and how to improve diagnostics required for long term management of HIV. A better understanding of the basic biology of the immune response and virus replication will expand the pipeline to novel treatment and prevention strategies with the overall goal of developing a cure and a vaccine.

At the Doherty Institute we have projects to study where and how HIV persists in patients on treatment and how to wake up the virus from its hiding place. This work has the ultimate goal of finding a cure for HIV. We are also studying the immune response to HIV and how HIV can evade the body’s natural response, including antibodies and T-cells. We test for drug resistance mutations so that appropriate treatment choices can be made. We have projects developing novel vaccine strategies that include nanoparticles, where tiny capsules are loaded with bits of the virus to induce a powerful immune response. Other projects are exploring the use of microbicides to prevent HIV transmission.

Viral hepatitis is a major public health issue.

"… there are over 450,000 Australians living with hepatitis B and C …"

Hepatitis viruses

Viral hepatitis is a major public health issue, with over 450,000 Australians living with hepatitis B and C. Liver cancer, predominantly caused by viral hepatitis, is the second leading cause of cancer deaths worldwide.

The Doherty Institute has a strong multidisciplinary research program that includes: understanding how these viruses replicate and the role the immune response plays, understanding how these viruses evade current treatments, how these viruses effect Indigenous communities and how they cause cancer. In addition, we are actively involved in new clinical trials for treatments, strategies to increase treatment uptake and epidemiological and public health research that informs policy in Australia and internationally.

Influenza viruses cause many deaths and much illness in the community.

"… tackling the challenges of seasonal and pandemic influenza …"

Influenza

Seasonal influenza viruses cause many deaths and much illness in the community every winter. Although annual vaccination reduces this burden, seasonal influenza vaccines must be frequently updated to keep up with these rapidly changing viruses.

From time to time, novel influenza viruses emerge from animal reservoirs and spread rapidly around the world, causing a pandemic. The timing and severity of each pandemic are unpredictable but the human impact can be enormous. Seasonal influenza vaccines do not protect against these new viruses.

The Doherty Institute is tackling the challenges of seasonal and pandemic influenza across a wide front. A large multi-institutional research program is investigating the mechanisms underlying effective cellular immunity to influenza viruses and collaborating with clinicians and others to explore why certain groups of people (including Indigenous Australians, pregnant women and the elderly) experience particularly severe disease. The program is also developing prototype cross-protective vaccines that would reduce the need for frequent updating of seasonal vaccines and provide some protection against pandemic influenza. The WHO Collaborating Centre for Reference and Research on Influenza works with laboratories throughout the Asia-Pacific region to monitor changes in circulating influenza viruses and assists WHO in recommending viruses for the updating of seasonal influenza vaccines each year. Epidemiologists at the Doherty are undertaking GP-based community surveillance of influenza and evaluating influenza vaccine effectiveness. Doherty scientists also contribute to the development of local, national and international policy and pandemic influenza preparedness.

Tuberculosis remains amongst the most significant causes of death and disability.

"… eliminating TB as a public health issue by 2050 …"

Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis (TB) remains amongst the most significant causes of death and disability around the world.

However, thanks to persistent TB control efforts for many decades, the World Health Organization recognises Australia as one of the countries in a position to achieve the Millennium Development Goal of eliminating TB as a public health issue by 2050. In order to do so, new approaches are needed, and teams across the Doherty are working together towards developing innovative and influential strategies that draw on the wide range of expertise within the Institute.

The Doherty provides a state-wide service for public health management of TB, including clinical care, epidemiology, contact tracing and rapid diagnosis of infection and drug resistance. There is an active program of population health and mathematical modelling research, assisting with evaluation of effective and ethical TB strategies both in Australia and internationally. Finally, basic research on TB includes understanding the TB genome and the immune response to TB.

The close collaboration amongst these groups with complementary expertise means that the Doherty is an exciting environment for developing and implementing novel, high-impact strategies towards global TB elimination.

Major research projects in enteric infection.

"… better treatments and vaccines to prevent these infections …"

Enteric infections

We are investigating transmission patterns of enterovirus infection in Australia and the Western Pacific region, and studying the molecular changes that accompany the emergence of new virulent strains of norovirus and other bacteria.

Research involving large-scale atomistic molecular dynamics simulations of poliovirus and other enteroviruses has been performed to examine specific mechanisms relating to antiviral resistance.

Major research projects in enteric infection include understanding what makes these organisms more virulent by understanding their genetic structure. Several research groups are studying the organisms that are the major causes of diarrhoea, including E. coli, Shigella, Salmonella, rotavirus and norovirus as well as the host immune response to infection. These studies could lead to better treatments and vaccines to prevent these infections.

Hospital-acquired infections

"... in Australia there are over 200,000 healthcare-associated infections annually ..."

Hospital-acquired infections

In Australia there are over 200,000 healthcare-associated infections annually (approximately 4% of all admissions), resulting in prolonged hospitalisation, significant morbidity and increased mortality. Hospital acquired pneumonia, surgical site infections, urinary tract infections, and blood stream infections are common examples and many are preventable.

Australia needs, and is developing, a comprehensive strategy to address this challenge. The partners in the Doherty Institute, with other collaborators, are leading initiatives for surveillance of infections in hospital settings. These studies will allow investigators to identify and characterise resistant bacteria and use state of the art genomics to map the evolution and understand why resistance is developing in order to design new antibiotic agents. Within the Doherty, infectious diseases physicians, pharmacists and epidemiologists are leading innovative programs on “antimicrobial stewardship” – the promotion of optimal use of antibiotics. Key relationships with other groups in the Parkville precinct include the School of Veterinary Science, the School of Land and Environment and the School of Pharmacy.

Antimicrobial resistance is recognised as a global threat to human health.

"... “super bugs” pose challenges in community and hospital settings ..."

Antimicrobial resistance

Antimicrobial resistance is widely recognised as a global threat to human health, and listed by the World Health Organisation as a priority issue for our time.

Emerging multidrug resistant pathogens, commonly called “super bugs” pose challenges both in the community and hospital settings especially, for example, when intensive antibiotic therapy is required for the support of patients in intensive care units, after major surgery, and in the setting of immunosuppression for the treatment of cancer or transplantation.

Mechanisms of infection, disease and immunity

"... eliminate the infection and develop immunological memory, the basis of successful vaccination ..."  

Understanding the immune system

The Doherty Institute has world-leading scientists working to understand how the human immune system recognises infectious agents and makes an effective response to eliminate the infection and develop immunological memory, the basis of successful vaccination. Collaboration with public health experts, laboratory scientists, epidemiologists and clinicians is bridging this work on immunological mechanisms to vaccine development, new treatments and improvements in population health.

Research at the Doherty Institute is exploring the fundamental ways cells of the immune system fight infections. We are studying the innate immune system, specialised T cells such as NKT cells and killer T cells and Mucosal Associated Invariant T (MAIT) cells. We are investigating the genes that control "memory" of the immune system. We are using exciting ways to directly image cells from the immune system in action, fighting infections in different parts of the body. These studies will one day lead to new treatments and new vaccines.

Public health

"... Australia’s leading infectious disease reference and public health laboratory ..."

Public Health

The Doherty Institute provides Australia’s leading infectious disease reference and public health laboratory services through its Victorian Infectious Diseases Reference Laboratory (VIDRL) and Microbiological Diagnostic Unit Public Health Laboratory (MDU) and the WHO Collaborating Centre for Reference and Research on Influenza (VIDRL).

 

 

Latest Science

"... amazing images produced at the Doherty such as this crystal structure of flu ..."

Latest Science: Navigating ImmunityInfluenza, individuals and their antibody landscape

Researchers at the Doherty have been part of an international team that has been involved with ground-breaking research that may improve the effectiveness of the seasonal influenza (flu) vaccine.

Published in Science on 21 November 2014, the results suggest that it might be better to pre-emptively vaccinate against likely flu strains than to use a strain of flu already circulating in the human population.

The research introduces the antibody landscape, which is a computer-based modeling of an individual’s immune response to flu vaccination and infection over time. To create images of the landscapes of each individual, the scientists studied immune profiles covering 43 years of influenza A/H3N2 virus evolution, from 69 adults and children in a Vietnamese cohort that were monitored for the flu infection over 6 years, and from 225 Australian adults pre- and post-vaccination.

“The opportunity to work with samples collected over a 6 year period, from families that may have been exposed to a number of different strains of the flu, gives us insight into differences in individual reactions to infection,” says Associate Professor Aeron Hurt. “Each individual’s antibody landscape can be quite unique, almost like a finger print - and we can also link this profile with the age, location and other demographic characteristics of the individual.”

Dr Annette Fox has been one of the leading researchers in Vietnam, and says that the results highlight the need to understand how immune memory impacts on responses to variant flu strains and vaccines in order to optimise vaccination strategies. “The ongoing cohort in Vietnam provides an important platform for these studies” says Fox.

A key finding from the work is that upon infection, a person’s antibody response is seen not just to the infecting flu strain, but to strains of virus that an individual has encountered in the past far beyond the extent of the current primary infection. This identification of ‘back-boost’, and the relationship between current and prior strains of flu infection, forms the basis for an alternative approach to updating flu vaccines.

Dr Ian Barr, the Deputy Director of the World Health Organization Collaborating Centre of Reference and Research on Influenza, describes the research as innovative because it provides a new analysis tool to inform us on vaccine selection. “It may be too soon to say if the results will translate into more effective flu vaccines, which would require a major trial which is beyond the capacity of a research group – it would need industry or government support, and would face logistical and ethical challenges to perform,” says Barr. “At this stage, it suggests to us that there may be benefits to expanding the flu vaccine to include anticipated strains as well as current strains of the virus, especially for those who have previously had the flu.”

The team from the Doherty included Dr Ian Barr, Associate Professor Aeron Hurt, Dr Annette Fox and Malet Aban.

Illustration produced by Dr. Jason Roberts, VIDRL, based on the crystal structure (PDB 1QFU; www.rcsb.org) of the influenza haemagglutinin trimer (blue molecule) bound by neutralizing antibodies (red/green molecules). (Fleury et al, A complex of influenza hemagglutinin with a neutralizing antibody that binds outside the virus receptor binding site. Nat Struct Biol. 1999 Jun;6(6):530-4.).

Photo taken by Dr Annette Fox at one of the study sites in Vietnam.

Reference

Antibody landscapes after influenza virus infection or vaccination.
Fonville, JM et al.
Science. 2014 Nov 21;346(6212):996-1000. doi: 10.1126/science.1256427. PubMed PMID: 25414313; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4246172.
Contact: Ian Barr and Aeron Hurt, WHO Collaborative Centre for Influenza and Annette Fox, DMI.

"... the sky is the limit for ideas and innovation at the Doherty ..."

Creative connections between different disciplines

Latest GrantsDecember 2014

It has been a successful end to the year for several Doherty colleagues successfully securing grants for their work.

NHMRC Project Grants: CIAs Frank Carbone, Dale Godfrey, Catherine Kennedy, Laura Mackay, Jason Mackenzie, Scott Mueller, Daniel Pellicci, Michaela Petter, Patrick Reading, Roy Robins-Browne, Cameron Simmons and Tim Stinear.

NHMRC Centres for Research Excellence: Karin Thursky

NHMRC Early Career Fellowships: Christina Chang, Ella Bridie Clemens, Joe Doyle and Jaclyn Pearson.

University of Melbourne Early Career Research Grants: Ella Bridie Clemens, Sidonia Eckle, Geraldine O’Connor, Jaclyn Pearson, Sacha Pidot and Paul Whitney.

Peter Revill (VIDRL) received funding of $175 000 for two years to work on HBV cure, from the Melbourne Health “DW Keir Medical Research Fellowship.

Matt Parsons (Kent lab, DMI) was awarded a 4 year Canadian Institutes of Health Research Fellowship.

Stephen Kent (DMI) is a Chief Investigator on a $26m ARC Centre of Excellence in Nanomedicine.

Sharon Lewin and Paul Cameron received an RO1 grant together with investigators from the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) and The University of Montreal from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to study how HIV integrates and persists in different T-cells.

The Doherty is a state-of-the-art building that is more than just bricks and mortar. Within the buidling are experts across disciplines in many aspects of infection and immunity. The Doherty connects people and ideas, with an ambition to better inform policies and practices while improving the quality of clinical care. 


Who's who

More than 700 people make up the human infrastructure at the Doherty... meet some of the team here.

A team of dynamic professionals

"... congratulations Dr Alan Street for being a role model for us all ..."

Profile: Meet Dr Alan StreetAllen Yung award for Excellence in Clinical Teaching in Infectious Diseases

For Excellence in Clinical Teaching in Infectious Diseases

At Forbes Week in November, Dr Alan Street from the Victorian Infectious Diseases Service (VIDS) was awarded the prestigious Allen Yung award for Excellence in Clinical Teaching in Infectious Diseases (ID). The award recognizes an individual doctor who makes an outstanding and sustained contribution to the clinical teaching of ID in Victoria, and to encourage a new generation of physicians to aspire to teaching excellence.

Alan Street has been a key member of the ID staff at Royal Melbourne Hospital for over 20 years, and in this time taught and inspired generations of students, residents and ID registrars, and awed his colleagues with the breath of his knowledge of our speciality. 

“Alan Street is a very worthy recipient,” says Professor Michael Richards, the Director of VIDS. “Recognised nationally for his encyclopaedic knowledge and commitment to his work, yet humble and reserved, Alan is the ID physician others often seek out for advice in the most challenging clinical situations.  His reputation attracts the best and brightest of trainees to work within VIDS and this ensures that education stands with patient care and research as an important focus in the unit.”

“I had the great privilege of being Alan Street’s ID registrar many many years ago. Alan’s teachings and expertise in the “art” of Medicine remain a major influence in the way I still approach and treat my patients” says Professor Sharon Lewin, Director of the Doherty Institute. “I am delighted that Alan has received this incredible honor from his peers”.

About receiving the award, Alan says: “I feel very honoured to be the recipient of this award. I was lucky enough to have worked with Allen at Fairfield Hospital, and he had an enormous influence on my career and that of many of my colleagues. Allen was not only a passionate teacher, he also recognised the importance of close interactions between infectious diseases clinicians, microbiologists and laboratory scientists, researchers, public health physicians and epidemiologists. I am sure he would have been very excited by the coming together of all these collaborating partners in the Doherty Institute.”  

As the Doherty develps as a “learning environment” for all staff, not just students, Alan is a role model for us all.

About the Allen Yung Award

Allen Yung has played a key role in the development of the specialty of ID in Australia. This was particularly at the Fairfield Infectious Diseases Hospital, through his bedside teaching of a generation of junior doctors and young physicians in the formative days of infectious disease as a specialty in Australia.  His passion there was clinical teaching and exemplary patient care.  His enthusiasm and passion for the specialty of ID inspired many of the young doctors who worked with him. 

About Dr Alan Street, MBBS, FRACP 

Dr Alan Street is the Deputy Director of VIDS. He is head of the HIV Service at the Royal Melbourne Hospital (RMH), which is an active participant in clinical trials of new HIV treatments and treatment strategies. He is also a senior physician in the RMH TB Clinic, where he works in close collaboration with the Victorian Tuberculosis Program which is based with VIDS at the Doherty.

Solid foundations

"... standing on the shoulders of giants, there is a grand vision for the Doherty ..."

Message from the Director: December 20142014 - What a Year!

As we near the end of the year, it’s amazing to reflect on what an incredibly successful year it has been for the Doherty Institute. Counting back from our official birthday on September 12th 2014, the Doherty has been up and running for almost 10 months and in the making for many more years.

Over the past few months we’ve seen the start of new ways for internal and external communications, some great seminars and learning opportunities for staff and students alike, significant research grant success, several new collaborative projects across the Institute, and opportunities for strategic engagement with partners across Victoria, nationally and internationally.

The recent Ebola outbreak was and remains a major challenge for the global health community but also for many members of the Institute – even without a case yet in Australia! Planning our response to Ebola locally and nationally was expertly managed by many individuals across the Doherty and I commend the incredible hard work of staff from VIDRL and VIDS. The recent outbreak has also started a very positive collaborative dialogue around enhanced clinical research within the Institute and ways to better engage media around appropriate messaging. The challenge also gave us the opportunity to work more closely with key partners including the Australian Animal Health Laboratories (AAHL), CSL and the Burnet Institute. Hopefully, the numbers of new Ebola infections will continue to decrease in West Africa but the enthusiasm from the Doherty to make a meaningful contribution will continue to strengthen in the coming years.

I want to thank everyone across the institute for the great work throughout 2014, for the support and enthusiasm for the shared vision for the Institute, and for the incredibly warm welcome to me, members of my lab, and my team in the Doherty Directorate. The really hard work starts next year when we develop, finalize and start to implement our strategic plan for the next 5 years! I will be in touch with the process and timelines for this early in the New Year.

Wishing you all a wonderful, restful and reflective end to 2014 and I look forward to seeing you in January – re-energized and inspired - for our work together.

Sharon

The Doherty is a hub for seminars, conferences and events across all aspects of infection and immunity. National and world leaders in their field come to the Doherty. Updates from these events occur on social media - everyone can join in the conversation.


Events

Since it's official launch on the 12th September 2014, the Doherty has hosted several major national and international events. Some of the highlights are outlined here.

Innovation and collaboration

"... international collaboration and new partnerships makes for the best possible results ..."

Latest EventsDecember 2014

The Doherty Seminar Series has started well, with terrific local and international guest speakers covering a range of topics from Ebola to HIV to cost-effectiveness of national hand hygiene strategies. The Doherty Seminar Series will continue in 2015, taking place on a Thursday in the Auditorium on the ground floor, and a special thanks to Damon Eisen of VIDS for his efforts to organize the interesting and timely series of expert speakers.

Two international conferences were hosted at the Doherty this quarter: the 38th Asia Pacific Histocompatibility and Immunogenetics Association (APHIA) from 15th -19th November 2014, and the 10th Australian Influenza Symposium by the World Health Organisation Collaborating Centre for Reference and Research on Influenza.

On the 17th of November, the Doherty co-hosted the launch of the Women in Science Parkville Precinct (WiSPP) launch. 

On 20th November 2014, Professor Elizabeth Hartland and Associate Professor Katherine Kedzierska from DMI visited the Shanghai Public Health Clinical Centre (SPHCC) for the opening of the new Fudan-Melbourne University Sino-Australia Joint Laboratory for Emerging and Re-emerging Infectious Disease Research.

The Doherty hosted a Parkville Community Leaders Breakfast in the lead up to World AIDS Day (1 December) this year, that attracted a crowd from the local medical and scientific community, as well as other interested members of the general public.

"... linking science with better policies and quality of care starts with a conversation ..."

Engaging media to inform public debate

Doherty in the NewsDecember 2014

The work of the Doherty has been relevant for recent media and other public debates about infection and immunity.

On HIV, the Doherty was in the news around World AIDS Day in December and invited to comment on scientific breakthroughs in HIV virulence, progress towards a cure, and stigma and discrimination. Coverage included national radio, print and TV in Australia, community radio for the LGBT community, and the BBC World Service. Comment was given by Sharon Lewin, Paul Cameron, Edwina Wright, Megan Crane, and Lucy Stackpool-Moore.

On Ebola, the PC4 lab at the Doherty was front page news in a CSI style photograph in The Age. National and international media interest has been in-depth on Australia’s preparedness, testing and role in the international response to Ebola has been very topical and many from the Doherty have given comment in the media including Mike Catton, Julian Druce, Mike Richards, Caroline Marshall, Sharon Lewin and Peter Doherty.

On antimicrobial resistance, Karin Thursky was interviewed for the ABC’s Health Report coinciding with the launch of the new Centre for Research Excellence at the Doherty and national antibiotic resistance awareness day.

On T cells and immunity, Stephen Turner was interviewed for ABC’s PM news program.

On Hepatitis C and the unaffordable cost of treatment for many who need it most, Ben Cowie co-authored an article published online by The Conversation.

On the Doherty, Sharon Lewin and Peter Doherty have spoken in-depth about the history, vision and innovative make up of the Institute, as have many others.

On Melburnian of the Year, Sharon Lewin was interviewed about her response to being honoured with the award in 2014.

Issues of major significance are discussed in the corridors of the Doherty. We invite you to join the conversation.


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The Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity
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(+61 3) 9035 3555 

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