The Univeristy of Melbourne The Royal Melbourne Hopspital

A joint venture between The University of Melbourne and The Royal Melbourne Hospital


12 Dec 2018

Doherty Institute researchers awarded $11.5 million from NHMRC

Researchers from the Doherty Institute have received more than $11.5 million in the latest National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) and Australian Research Council (ARC) funding rounds, including a Project Grant to tackle invasive fungal infections, a significant issue among immunocompromised patients.

The Royal Melbourne Hospital’s Professor Karin Thursky, Director of the National Centre for Antimicrobial Stewardship at the Doherty Institute, was awarded $1.5 million from the NHMRC for her project that will bring together health services researchers in antimicrobial stewardship and invasive fungal infections (IFIs).

“Deaths from invasive fungal infections such as candida, aspergillus, pneumocystis and cryptococcus are estimated to exceed 1.4 million every year around the world,” Professor Thursky said.

Professor Thursky’s project will develop and implement a nationally standardised approach to IFI surveillance in high-risk patient groups, establish process and outcome measures for antifungal stewardship programs, develop a module for antifungal stewardship in the National Antimicrobial Prescribing Survey and develop pilot data-based methods to enable electronic surveillance for invasive fungal infections in high risk patients.

Doherty Institute Director, Professor Sharon Lewin, congratulated the successful grant recipients.

“The 15 projects that were funded demonstrate the breadth of research being undertaken at the Institute to improve health globally,” Professor Lewin said.

“Projects range from investigating how the antibiotic resistant pathogen, vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus (VRE), colonises the gut with the aim of developing new strategies to prevent and treat it, to understanding how and why H5NI ‘bird flu’ viruses are mixing more freely with other flu viruses to understanding how the immune system is damaged following severe infection.

“And the good news is there will be further opportunities for our researchers with the recent release of the Medical Research Future Fund Research Priorities 2018 – 2020 in the areas of antimicrobial resistance, emerging infectious diseases, One Health, Indigenous health and health security,” Professor Lewin concluded.


NHMRC Grant Recipients

Professor Karin Thursky - $1,516,000

Meeting the challenges of invasive fungal infection: antifungal stewardship and effective surveillance in high risk patient groups.

Professor Jose Villadangos - $1,273,624

Functional impairment of mouse and human dendritic cells following Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (SIRS): towards novel diagnostics and treatments.

Associate Professor Sammy Bedoui – $976,560

Understanding and exploiting how different cell death pathways control intracellular infections.

Professor Ben Howden - $829,220.20

Understanding the mechanisms of gastrointestinal colonisation with vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium (VRE).

Dr Adam Wheatley - $802,836.00

Rational design of novel vaccines for the control of influenza B.

Professor Kanta Subbarao - $784,418.20

Identification of molecular factors that influence reassortment and pandemic potential of highly pathogenic avian influenza H5 viruses.

Dr Adam Uldrich - $778,386.00

Functional and molecular studies of an interaction between the antigen-presenting molecule MR1 and LILR immune regulatory receptors.

Dr Amy Chung - $737,192.00

Identification of functional antibodies that control mycobacterium tuberculosis.

Associate Professor Scott Mueller - $736,653.00

The neuro-immune interface in lymphoid tissues.

Dr Sidonia Eckle - $667,192.00

Discovery of novel, microbial antigens recognised by Mucosal Associated Invariant T cells.

Dr Mark Davies - $480,788.00

Contribution of carbohydrate metabolism to the maintenance of endemic streptococcal pathogens.


ARC Grant recipients

Professor Katherine Kedzierska - $575,000 & $361,000

Lifespan-dependent molecular shaping of the T cell receptor repertoire

Investigating the evolution of innate and adaptive cellular immunity

Professor Jose Villadangos – $520,000
A novel link between metabolism and host defence

Associate Professor Scott Mueller - $580,000

A cellular hub for the organisation of T cell priming