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15 Aug 2018

$6.5 million in grants awarded to Doherty Institute researchers

Seven researchers from the Doherty Institute have been awarded National Health and Medical Research (NHMRC) grants totalling $6.5 million in the latest funding rounds.

$3.3 million will be provided specifically for essential research projects to be undertaken at the Doherty Institute. Early Career Fellowships were awarded to University of Melbourne Doctors Hui-Fern Koay to investigate the characterisation and development of MAIT cells and Claire Gordon for a project characterising human tissue resident T cells in health and autoimmune disease. A Research Fellowship was also awarded to University of Melbourne Professor Bill Heath to study immunity to intracellular infections and Professor Jose Villadangos for his project on antigen presentation in health and disease in collaboration with the Bio 21 Institute.

Doherty Institute Director, Professor Sharon Lewin, congratulated the recipients and said, “It’s fantastic to see that we’ve received funding for researchers just starting their career, right through to those at the most senior level.

“These grants will enable us to continue our fundamental work as we strive to improve health in Australia and globally through an improved understanding of the immune system.”

In addition, Doherty Institute researchers received grants for work being undertaken at other organisations. Dr Michelle Yong, a clinician scientist recently awarded her PhD under Sharon Lewin’s supervision, was awarded an Early Career Fellowship for her research into improving outcomes of cytomegalovirus infection in recipients of haematopoietic stem cell transplantation with the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre and Professor Karin Leder from the Royal Melbourne Hospital’s Victorian Infectious Diseases Service was awarded a Research Fellowship for her project on environment and host interactions: impact on the burden of gastrointestinal infections through Monash University.

Director of the Royal Melbourne Hospital’s Victorian Tuberculosis Program, Associate Professor Justin Denholm, was also part of a successful grant for a Centre for Research Excellence (CRE) in Tuberculosis (TB). Led by the University of Sydney’s Professor Warwick Britton, the CRE will aim to build Asia-Pacific partnerships in an effort to find, treat and prevent TB in the region, by focusing on knowledge transfer and on enhancing the existing collaborative networks of researchers, practitioners and policy makers.