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03 Sep 2019

Doherty Institute researchers named winners of the Dean’s Innovation Grants.

University of Melbourne Dr Linda Wakim, a Laboratory Head at the Doherty Institute, has received first prize in the 2019 Dean’s Innovation Grants from the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences.

Dr Wakim received the award for her project, ‘A novel universal influenza virus vaccine that provides long term protection.’

Second prize went to University of Melbourne Dr Glen Carter, a Senior Project Officer at the Doherty Institute for his project, ‘Novel antimicrobials for the treatment of multidrug resistant priority pathogens’.

Both Dr Wakim and Dr Carter will receive $50,000 to further develop their work.

The Dean’s Innovation Grants aim to boost the Faculty’s commercial pipeline for scientific discoveries. This is achieved by supporting the development of innovative projects to a stage where they are well positioned to attract subsequent funding from government, or industry and venture capital to progress to the next phase of research and development.

Dr Wakim said that it is difficult to attract external funding for early stage product development.

“This award provides us a way forward, a means to move our product to the next phase of development by allowing us to perform key proof-of-concept experiments.”

Dr Carter was delighted with the outcome.

“It’s a great forum to get your research heard by a lot of senior people within the Faculty,” Dr Carter said.

“And you never know, you might end up winning.”

University of Melbourne Dr Marios Koutsakos, a Researcher Officer at the Doherty Institute, received an honourable mention for his project ‘Developing a universal influenza B vaccine.’

Dr Koutsakos recommends entering this award to other mid-career researchers.

“Participating in this award and pitching the project makes you think about the science from the perspective of translation and commercialisation, which we don’t always do,” Dr Koutsakos said.

“It was a great learning experience!”

Dr Annabell Bachem, Research Fellow at the Doherty Institute was commended for her entry ‘Does the microbiota-derived metabolite butyrate improve adoptive T cell therapy?’

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