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23 May 2019

Doherty researchers part of US$34 mill grant to study kid’s immune response to flu

Doherty Institute researchers are part of a global research project which has received a huge US$34.3 million to study children’s immune responses to influenza.

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) awarded the funding to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee to examine how young children’s immune systems respond over multiple years to their initial influenza infection and their first vaccination.

Principal investigators Professor Paul Thomas of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and Dr Aubree Gordon of the University of Michigan School of Public Health, will lead studies designed to follow more than 3,000 infants and young children in Los Angeles, USA; Managua, Nicaragua; and Wellington, New Zealand for seven years.

World-leading influenza researcher, University of Melbourne Professor Katherine Kedzierska has dedicated her career to understanding the immune response of influenza in a range of different populations.

She and her research team at the Doherty Institute will share their expertise for this project on influenza-specific T cells.

“I am delighted to be involved in this grant and to be working closely with Professor Thomas on the detection of influenza-specific killer CD8+ T cells,” Professor Kedzierska said.

“This is an incredibly important collaborative project, which will lead to significant discoveries and provide key insights into generation and maintenance of influenza-specific immunity in infants and children, and as a consequence, facilitate the rational design of broadly-protective influenza vaccines.”

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