• 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

  • Book now @ProfPCDoherty @MelbWritersFest how science works & what non-scientists can do to reclaim power & knowledge http://t.co/pwOdqPYdiu
  • @sharonlewinPDI told @BBCNews PEP005 trial was an important advance in finding compounds that can activate latent HIV http://t.co/xrCIHhDzCQ
  • RT @Michael62688070: Celebrating 50 years since the discovery of the HBV Australia antigen. @thedohertyinst @burnetinstitute http://t.co/Qn…
  • RT @AGorzin: Celebrating the 50 years since the discovery of Au-ag @TheDohertyInst ⋅⋅⋅ a more efficient cure for #HBV is vital http://t.c…
  • RT @hepvic: Melanie Eagle & Prof S Locarnini @TheDohertyInst Hep B workshop! 50 years ago today the Hep B antigen was discovered! http://t.…
  • @Frank_McGuire #TheDoherty's designation as WHO Collaborating Centre for Viral Hepatitis reinforces its leadership in infection & immunity
  • @Frank_McGuire says the Parkville Precinct is the 'boulevard of big dreams' @unimelb @TheRMH @UniMelbMDHS
  • @Frank_McGuire is back at the #DohertyInstitute to open the Hepatitis B Research: Past, Present and Future Symposium http://t.co/a14lZUT15S
  • Prof Stephen Locarnini - no one should die of viral hepatitis.
  • Prof Stephen Locarnini - Discovery of the Australian Antigen paved the way for a hepatitis B vaccine

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: August 2015

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

Central line-associated bloodstream infections in Australian intensive care units: Time-trends in infection rates, etiology, and antimicrobial resistance using a comprehensive Victorian surveillance program, 2009-2013. Worth LJ et al. Am J Infect Control. 2015 May 28. pii: S0196-6553(15)00224-2. doi: 10.1016/j.ajic.2015.03.036. Contact: Ann Bull, VICNISS.

Diminishing surgical site infections in Australia: time trends in infection rates, pathogens and antimicrobial resistance using a comprehensive Victorian surveillance program, 2002-2013. Worth LJ et al. Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol. 2015 Apr;36(4):409-16. doi:10.1017/ice.2014.70. Contact: Ann Bull, VICNISS.

Surgical site infection in orthopaedic surgery: an audit of peri-operative practice at a tertiary centre. Tao P et al. Healthcare Infection 2015, 20, 39–45. Contact: Caroline Marshall, VIDS

Characterising the Transmission Dynamics of Acinetobacter baumannii in Intensive Care Units using Hidden Markov Models. Doan T et al. PLOS ONE, DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0132037 July 1, 2015. Contact: Caroline Marshall, VIDS

Understanding influenza vaccine protection in the community: An assessment of the 2013 influenza season in Victoria, Australia. Carville, Kylie S et al. Vaccine 33, no. 2 (2015): 341-34. Contact: Ben Cowie, VIDRL.

Estimating the global prevalence of hepatitis B. MacLachlan JH et al. The Lancet 2015. Contact: Ben Cowie, VIDRL.

Proinsulin C-peptide is the predominant antigen recognized by HLA-DQ8 and DQ8 transdimer restricted CD4+ T cells in pancreatic islets of an organ donor with type 1 diabetes. Pathiraja V et al. Diabetes 64:172-82. doi: 10.2337/db14-0858, 2015. Contact: Katherine Kedzierska, Department of Microbiology and Immunology.

Oseltamivir prophylaxis reduces inflammation and facilitates establishment of cross-strain protective T cell memory to influenza viruses. Bird NL et al. Plos One10:e0129768. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0129768, 2015. Contact: Katherine Kedzierska, Department of Microbiology and Immunology.

Conserved amino acids within the N-terminus of the West Nile Virus NS4A protein contribute to virus replication, protein stability and membrane proliferation. R.L. Ambrose et al. Virology, 481:95-106. Contact: Jason Mackenzie, Department of Microbiology and Immunology.

Differential utilisation of ceramide during replication of the flaviviruses West Nile and Dengue virus. Virology, 484:241-25. Contact: Jason Mackenzie, Department of Microbiology and Immunology.

Revisiting the role of histo-blood group antigens in rotavirus host cell invasion. Böhm R et al. Nat. Commun. 6:5907 doi: 10.1038/ncomms6907 (2015). Contact: Barbara Coulson, Department of Microbiology and Immunology.

Lessons from the mouse: potential contribution of bystander lymphocyte activation by viruses to human type 1 diabetes. Pane JA and Coulson BS (2015). Diabetologia 58: 1149-1159. Contact: Barbara Coulson, Department of Microbiology and Immunology.

A Candidate Dengue Vaccine Walks a Tightrope. Simmons CP. N Engl J Med. 2015 Jul 27. Contact: Cameron Simmons, Department of Microbiology and Immunology.

Modeling the impact on virus transmission of Wolbachia-mediated blocking of dengue virus infection of Aedes aegypti. Ferguson NM et al. Sci Transl Med. 2015 Mar 18;7(279):279ra37. Contact: Cameron Simmons, Department of Microbiology and Immunology.

Improvements in patient care: videoconferencing to improve access to interpreters during clinical consultations for refugee and immigrant patients. Schulz TR et al. Aust Health Rev. 2015 Mar 23. doi: 10.1071/AH14124. Contact: Beverley-Ann Biggs, Department of Medicine.

Antenatal and early infant predictors of postnatal growth in rural Vietnam: a prospective cohort study. Hanieh S et al. Arch Dis Child. 2015 Feb;100(2):165-73. doi: 10.1136/archdischild-2014-306328. Epub 2014 Sep 22. Contact: Beverley-Ann Biggs, Department of Medicine.

Impact of intermittent preventive treatment in pregnancy with azithromycin-containing regimens on maternal nasopharyngeal carriage and antibiotic sensitivity of Streptococcus pneumoniae, Haemophilus influenzae, and Staphylococcus aureus: a cross-sectional survey at delivery. Unger HW et al. J Clin Microbiol. 2015 Apr;53(4):1317-23. doi: 10.1128/JCM.03570-14. Epub 2015 Feb 11. Contact: Stephen Rogerson, Department of Medicine.

CD14(hi)CD16+ monocytes phagocytose antibody-opsonised Plasmodium falciparum infected erythrocytes more efficiently than other monocyte subsets, and require CD16 and complement to do so. Zhou J et al. BMC Med. 2015 Jul 7;13:154. doi: 10.1186/s12916-015-0391-7. Contact: Stephen Rogerson, Department of Medicine.

Experiences and expectations of participants completing an HIV cure focused trial. McMahon JH et al. AIDS 2015;29(2):248-50. Contact: Sharon Lewin, Doherty Directorate.

Effect of ipilimumab on the HIV reservoir in an HIV-infected individual with metastatic melanoma. Wightman, F et al. AIDS 2015; 29(4):504-506. Contact: Sharon Lewin, Doherty Directorate.

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 ImmunityDecoding Klebsiella pneumoniae (KP)

University of Melbourne Professor Dick Strugnell at the Doherty Institute is part of an international team of scientists who have decoded the genes of Klebsiella pneumoniae (KP), a bacterium found in hospitals throughout the developing and developed world.

A paper published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences involved 37 research institutions around the world and bacterial samples from six countries, representing 300 strains.

The study is the largest ever genetically-decoded collection of this bacterial pathogen and gives scientists access to valuable data to stay ahead of KP evolution, as fears grow about the emergence of strains that are both highly infectious and antibiotic-resistant.

The drug-resistant KP strain recently seen in Victoria, known as KPC, has caused significant problems in America and Europe for over a decade. There have been outbreaks in South America, Africa and Asia with the hyper-virulent strains causing serious infections in the local populations.

Until recently, the scientific community hasn’t had much information on this bacterium. This is the first large-scale study that uses genomic technology to understand what this organism is and what it’s capable of.

Professor Strugnell said this research provides a vital starting point to understand and track the evolution of the bug and even anticipate its antibiotic resistance.

”KP is commonly found in the environment and can acquire resistance genes, become established in hospitals, and then become a major health problem. The bacterium exists as a diverse population, some of which can cause severe disease in humans,” he said.

”The bacterium has evolved a thick sticky sugar ‘coat’ which stops it drying out. This ‘coat’ contributes to the formation of ‘biofilms’ of the bacteria, which are hard to remove from hospitals with traditional cleaning methods.”

Lead-author Dr Kathryn Holt, of the University of Melbourne’s Bio21 Institute, says in most cases KP infects people who are already weakened by illness, but there is a real risk that the bacteria will evolve to become a significant threat to healthy individuals.

”Almost any Klebsiella pneumoniae can cause an infection in someone who is already ill in hospital, but very few strains are virulent enough to affect a healthy person,” she said.

”The bacterium is really good at evolving through acquiring new genes. We looked at 300 different strains and every second one we looked at was completely new, so that tells you there’s a lot of diversity out there and we don’t really have a handle on this at all.”

Dr Holt says governments need to invest in learning more about KP because of the very real risk it will become both virulent and antibiotic resistant, and pose a threat to healthy individuals.

”We need more awareness at a political level. The Microbiological Diagnostic Unit at the Doherty Institute headed by Professor Ben Howden is leading the work to track KPC, but more investment from the Victorian and the Federal Governments in research and surveillance for these drug resistant organisms could go a long way.”

The study is the result of an international collaboration with genome sequencing conducted at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in Cambridge (UK) and data analysis conducted at the University of Melbourne using supercomputing resources of the Victorian Life Sciences Computation Initiative (VSLCI).

The data is available for interactive viewing at http://goo.gl/X6msv9.

This work was funded by: the NHMRC of Australia, fellowship #628930 and #1061409, Program Grant #606788; the Wellcome Trust, grant #098051 to Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, grant #089275/H/09/Z for the Oxford-Mahosot Hospital-Wellcome Trust Research Unit, Sir Henry Dale Fellowship (co-funded by the Royal Society); the Victorian Life Science Computation Initiative grant #VR0082.

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

Creative connections between different disciplines

Latest GrantsAugust 2015

University of Melbourne Professor Elizabeth Hartland, Head of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the Doherty Institute has been awarded a $150,000 grant from the International Research and Research Training Fund (IRRTF) to establish a Melbourne-Fudan Infection and Immunity Network between the Doherty and Fudan University and the affiliated Shanghai Public Health Clinical Centre and Huashan Hospitals to investigate and understand human immunity to important infectious agents and the emergence of new pathogens.

The grant will facilitate the exchange of researchers, academics and students to work at laboratories in China, which will advance investigations into mechanisms of infection and immunity and lead to joint publications and grant applications to Australian and international funding agencies. Projects will focus on emerging bacterial respiratory pathogens, influenza, hepatitis and HIV.

University of Melbourne Professor Sharon Lewin, Director of the Doherty Institute, has been awarded a $2.5 million grant from the American Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR) for a project that will look at the role of immune check point blockers in HIV cure. These drugs, ipilimumab and nivolumab (anti CTLA4 and anti PD1), are currently in use for treatment of cancer and were recently licensed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

Professor Lewin will lead a team of 15 investigators from the Doherty Institute, University of California San Francisco, University of Montreal, Johns Hopkins University, National Cancer Institute and Oregon Health Sciences University over four years who will conduct lab and monkey model studies before running the first clinical trial of ipilimumab and nivolumab in HIV-infected people with cancer. There is great hope that these immunomodulating drugs that have had outstanding success for the treatment of some cancers will also play a key role in HIV cure strategies.

Professor Lewin was the first to demonstrate in vivo that these drugs could perturb HIV latency – the first step to eliminating long-lived forms of HIV that persists on treatment. 

Dr Stephen Rogerson from the Department of Medicine at the Doherty Institute and colleagues from across Australia were awarded a $10.9 million program grant by the NHMRC titled  ‘Understanding malaria in the human host’ over five years beginning in January, 2016.

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.

Solid foundations

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

Message from the Director: August 2015Our year so far

As always, it has been a very busy few months at the Doherty Institute.

July in particular was an exceptional month, which saw us launch the Doherty Centre for Applied Microbial Genomics. The new Centre, located in the Microbiological Diagnostic Unit Public Health Laboratory (MDU PHL) at the Doherty, is home to state-of-the-art technology that utilises next-generation DNA sequencing, providing unparalleled speed and accuracy to genetically identify and track disease-causing microbes.

Directed by The University of Melbourne’s Professor Ben Howden, Director of MDU PHL, and Associate Professor Tim Stinear, this new technology will enable more rapid diagnosis of infectious diseases, more timely identification of disease outbreaks and allow clinicians to make more informed therapeutic decisions.

We also announced that the Doherty Institute has been designated by the World Health Organisation (WHO) a Collaborating Centre for Viral Hepatitis. As one of only four designated Collaborating Centres for Viral Hepatitis located around the world, the new Centre will be based within the Royal Melbourne Hospital’s (RMH) Victorian Infectious Diseases Reference Laboratory (VIDRL) at the Doherty Institute under the direction of University of Melbourne Associate Professor Ben Cowie and will work across a range of activities including surveillance, treatment and prevention initiatives. In addition, it will also develop policy and assist the WHO to implement its Global Health Sector Strategy on the virus. 

In addition, we hosted a high level delegation of leaders in government and industry from the US and Australia for the Australian American Leadership Dialogue, as well as the President and Vice President (International Affairs) of the Pasteur Institute on tours of the Doherty; opened our doors to the public for Open House Melbourne; and held two symposiums - Embracing the Genomic Revolution – Applied Microbial Genomics in Public Health and Clinical Microbiology and Hepatitis B: Past, Present and Future.

I was very honoured recently to be appointed to the Council of the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) and to chair the newly established Health Translation Advisory Committee (HTAC) for a three-year term. HTAC will advise the CEO and Council of NHMRC on opportunities to improve health outcomes in areas including clinical care, public, population and environmental health, communicable diseases and prevention of illness through effective translation of research into health care and clinical practice. It’s a huge responsibility to chair this new committee and with the recent establishment of NHMRC Advanced Health Research and Translation Centres, including one based at the University of Melbourne and associated hospitals and institutes, I think there will be significant opportunities to really strengthen Australia’s expertise and impact in health translation.

Finally, work is well underway on our five-year strategic plan, which will be an important landmark in our journey as an integrated institute.

Warmly,

Sharon Lewin

Profile: Meet Associate Professor Ben Cowie

Associate Professor Ben Cowie has been named the inaugural Director of the WHO Collaborating Centre for Viral Hepatitis at the Doherty Institute. Ben is an infectious diseases physician with VIDS, acting head of epidemiology at VIDRL, and is an honorary Associate Professor with the Department of Medicine at the University of Melbourne. Ben also works as a medical epidemiologist in Communicable Disease Epidemiology and Surveillance with the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services.

Ben said the Doherty’ Institute’s new designation was a fantastic recognition of many groups and individuals at VIDRL who have been working for years in partnership with the WHO to control communicable diseases and improve public health both on a regional level and globally.

“Our designation as a Collaborating Centre will also allow us to integrate much of the existing expertise and work in viral hepatitis across the Doherty with the WHO and other partners towards viral hepatitis control globally,” he said.

“With the world-leading research, clinical expertise, diagnostic capacity and public health experience represented within the Doherty Institute, I believe the new Collaborating Centre has the potential to make a big contribution to prevention and control of viral hepatitis. It is a huge honour for me to be involved in such an exciting new initiative.”

Ben first joined VIDS and VIDRL as an ID Registrar in 2004, and undertook a PhD (supervised by Heath Kelly, Margaret Hellard, Graham Brown and Sharon Lewin) studying hepatitis B epidemiology in Australia in the Epidemiology Unit in VIDRL from 2005. He is active in professional and community groups relating to blood borne viruses and public health, and is Vice President of the Australasian Society for HIV Medicine (ASHM).

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 NewsAugust 2015

Over the last few months, the Doherty Institute has been regularly featured in the local and international news.

Most recently, during the International AIDS Society (IAS) Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention, University of Melbourne Professor Sharon Lewin, Director of the Doherty Institute, was interviewed by the BBC and The Guardian amongst others, regarding the findings that an 18-year-old French woman was in remission from HIV despite not having taken any drugs against the virus for 12 years.

On influenza, University of Melbourne Associate Professor Katherine Kedzierska appeared on SBS, Channel 9 news and Channel 10’s The Project following her research on the roll of T cells protecting people against a novel human influenza A virus being published in Nature Communications. Articles also featured in The Australian and The Telegraph in the UK.

Dr Ian Barr, Acting Director of the WHO Collaborating Centre for Reference and Research on Influenza, was featured in an article in the Herald Sun also following his research being published in Nature, regarding the differences in how each of the four types of influenza that cause seasonal viruses is spread.

Many Doherty staff were interviewed on the outbreak of Klebsiella pneumoniae carbapenemase-producing bacteria (KPC) at St Vincent’s Hospital, as well as the outbreak of MERS in South Korea including the Sydney Morning Herald, which was syndicated to 86 publications across Australia.

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


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Reception
The Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity
Doherty-reception@unimelb.edu.au  
(+61 3) 9035 3555 

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Doherty-media@unimelb.edu.au
(+61 3) 8344 3377
(+61) 466 451 515 

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