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29 Aug 2019

Laura Mackay wins Eureka Prize for Outstanding Early Career Researcher

Associate Professor Laura Mackay has won the Macquarie University Eureka Prize for Outstanding Early Career Researcher, announced last night at the Australian Museum Eureka Prize dinner.

Widely regarded as a leader in the field of immunological memory, Associate Professor Mackay has discovered that a novel population of immune cells called tissue-resident T cells are critical for immune protection against infection and cancer.

Harnessing these cells will be key for the development of new immunotherapeutic strategies against disease.

“I’m thrilled and honoured to have won this Eureka Prize. These prizes are among the most prestigious science awards in Australia, it’s such a privilege to be recognised,” Associate Professor Mackay said.

“The goal of my research program is to identify ways to augment tissue-resident T cell formation and function to provide enhanced local immunity, and to develop new approaches to utilise tissue-resident T cells for next generation vaccines.”

Dr Mark Davies, Laboratory Head at the Doherty Institute is leading the Strep Genomics Team was one of three finalists in the Australian Infectious Diseases Research Centre Eureka Prize for Infectious Diseases Research.

“Our team has pioneered the use of cutting-edge genomic approaches to yield novel insight into the global population structure of streptococcal pathogens including the molecular signatures behind the alarming re-emergency of a classic Victorian era infection, scarlet fever,” Dr Davies said.

“A key focus of our team’s approach has been sampling and capacity building projects in regions where infectious disease is alarmingly rife.”

The Australian Museum Eureka Prizes are the country’s most comprehensive national science awards, honouring excellence across the areas of research and innovation, leadership, science engagement and school science.

Homepage photo credit: Dr Marguerite Evans-Galea AM