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

06 Dec 2017

Doherty Institute secures major NHMRC support to continue its vital work tackling infectious disease

Includes major funding for discovery of ways to prevent, treat and cure infectious diseases, including HIV, influenza, malaria, viral hepatitis, sexually transmitted diseases, tuberculosis, and multi-drug-resistant bacterial infections, and to understand how our immune systems tackle infections and cancer.

Researchers at the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity have been awarded grants totalling more than $29 million by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC). The Doherty Institute is a joint venture between The University of Melbourne and the Royal Melbourne Hospital.

Welcoming the NHMRC support, Doherty Institute Director, University of Melbourne Professor Sharon Lewin congratulated the grant recipients and said:

“I am thrilled to see such a wide range of NHMRC support for our vitally important work to improve health in Australia and globally through discovery research and the prevention, treatment and cure of infectious diseases. The breadth of this funding reflects the unique capacity of the Doherty Institute made possible by our bringing together in a single institute many of the world’s best researchers, scientists and clinicians in the fields of infection and immunity.”

Program Grant awarded to:

  • Professors Stephen Kent and Sharon Lewin, together with Professor Frank Caruso from the Faculty of Engineering at The University of Melbourne and investigators from the University of New South Wales and the University of Sydney: funding for HIV cure, treatment and vaccine research – $16,136,775. More information here.

Partnership Grant awarded to:

  • Professor Ben Howden to realise the potential of microbial genomics to revolutionise the diagnosis, surveillance and control of communicable diseases – $1,427,000

Project Grants awarded to:

  • Professor Patrick Reading to investigate mechanisms to restrict respiratory viral infections – $956,898
  • Dr Linda Wakim to research Cd8 T-cells (immune system “suppressor cells”) in the upper airways to combat influenza – $633,371
  • Professor Dale Godfrey to further investigate how MAIT cells (a subset of T-cells) defend against microbial activity and infection – $725,005
  • Dr Daniel Fernandez-Ruiz to combat malaria using the body’s own liver-resident memory T-cells – specialised immune cells that produce pathogens specific to the malaria parasite before it can affect the rest of the body – $1,196,853
  • Professor Francis Carbone to research T-cell memory in tissue – $466,858
  • Associate Professor Justin Denholm to continue an investigation into a novel antimicrobial agent, Structurally Nanoengineered Antimicrobial Peptide Polymers, which act against a wide range of multidrug resistant pathogens – $1,303,736
  • Professor Fabienne Mackay to investigate leukaemia and the cerebral infarctions that affect blood flow in the brain as an “immunity checkpoint” – $874,462
  • Dr Deborah Williamson for advanced genomics to investigate and interrupt transmission of sexually transmitted pathogens – $787,687
  • Dr Daniel Pellicci to study natural killer T-cells and their role in disease progression – $853,885
  • Associate Professor Peter Revill to improve liver cancer treatment outcomes through development of an early detection strategy using hepatitis B Splice Variants – $943,566
  • Professor Stephen Rogerson to explore a new way of identifying the specific antibody characteristics that may protect pregnant women from malaria – $1,011,222
  • Professor Tim Stinear received two grants: The first to research ways to modify genes to help combat strands of multi-drug-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (golden Staph), and the second to investigate invasive staph, which is a particular threat to people living with compromised immune systems – $784,451 and $772,710 respectively

Career Development Fellowships were awarded to:

  • Dr Daniel Pellicci to investigate specialised CD1 restricted T-cells and their role in health and disease – $431,000
  • Dr Amy Chung to research functional antibodies and their importance in fighting against infectious diseases – $431,000

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