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21 Mar 2023

Doherty Researcher receives prestigious Viruses Early Career Investigator Award

Dr Carolien van de Sandt, an ARC-DECRA Research Fellow in the University of Melbourne’s Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the Doherty Institute, has seen her outstanding achievements in the field of virology recognised with the 2022 Viruses Early Career Investigator Award.

Dr van de Sandt is passionate about viral immunology. Her research focuses on understanding virus-specific immune response and its role in protection against severe disease. She is especially interested in understanding the superior viral immune protection observed in school-aged children and what causes the immune system to fail in certain high-risk groups, including the elderly and immunocompromised. Findings from her work will aid novel vaccine and treatment strategies for high-risk groups.

Throughout her early career, Dr van de Sandt has contributed to landmark studies including the world’s first publication of the SARS-CoV-2-specific immune response in the renowned journal Nature Medicine and her study on SARS-CoV-2 specific immunity in children was published in Immunity

University of Melbourne’s Professor Katherine Kedzierska is the Head of the Human T cell Laboratory in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the Doherty Institute where Dr van de Sandt works.

“Ever since Carolien joined our group, I have been very impressed with how enthusiastic and open-minded Carolien is about learning new aspects and technologies in viral immunity,” Professor Kedzierska said.

“She has established herself as a brilliant emerging leader in the field of viral immunology and I consider Carolien a promise for the future as an excellent scientist and a group leader.”

In addition to her research, Dr van de Sandt is also passionate about communicating her research findings with the public.

“I firmly believe that engagement with the public about scientific processes, progress and findings is of great importance” Dr van de Sandt said.

"You may have seen me in the Cracking COVID documentary or at one of the Science Nation events in Melbourne.”

“I am proud to be one of only two recipients of the 2022 Viruses Early Career Investigator Award,” Dr van de Sandt said.

“Seeing my work and contributions to the field recognised by such prestigious award is a great encouragement for a young female scientist like myself.”