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21 May 2020

NHMRC awards $15 million to Doherty Institute scientists to further vital research

Researchers at the Doherty Institute have secured $15.5 million in funding from the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) in a highly competitive Investigator Grant round.

The funding will support vital research into infection and immunity, including understanding and harnessing immunity to fight melanoma, combatting the rising challenge of antimicrobial resistance, boosting immunity with vitamin-reactive T cells, the immune system’s response to severe influenza infection and vaccinations, and more.

University of Melbourne Professor Thomas Gebhardt from the Doherty Institute, received $3 million to investigate the role of tissue-resident memory T (TRM) cells in controlling skin cancer.

“With this level of support, we will be able to take full advantage of a novel melanoma research platform that our team of basic and clinician scientists has recently developed,” Professor Gebhardt said.

“The overall goal of our work is to find ways to prevent disease recurrence and associated mortality, thereby offering real potential to be transformative for patients.”

In response to the announcement, Doherty Institute Director, Professor Sharon Lewin, congratulated the successful recipients of the NHMRC grants.

“Now, more than ever, we can see the crucial role that science plays in supporting human health,” said Professor Lewin said.

“Our researchers are doing important and innovative work to better understand the complex world of infection and immunity, and it’s positive to see a range of this research funded with the NHMRC grants today.

“Our investigators put considerable time into these applications and, despite today’s strong funding result, it’s also disappointing that a number of worthy projects weren’t supported,” said Professor Lewin.

Understanding and harnessing immunity to fight melanoma
Professor Thomas Gebhardt - $3,138,220

Targeting vitamin-reactive T cells for enhanced immunity
Dr Alexandra Corbett - $2,590,576

Understanding complex genomic and biochemical landscapes in human health microbiology
Professor Tim Stinear - $2,210,520

Genomics for combating antimicrobial resistant bacterial pathogens
Professor Benjamin Howden - $2,027,364

Developing a coherent national approach to the clinical and public health management of invasive Strep A disease
Dr Katherine Gibney - $1,449,800

Tuberculosis elimination in Australia through targeting latent infection
Associate Professor Justin Denholm - $950,000

Understanding immune responses to severe influenza virus infection and vaccination in humans
Dr Oanh Nguyen - $645,205

Enhancing control of enteric bacteria through pathogen genomics
Dr Danielle Ingle - $645,205

Understanding immunity to influenza B viruses for a rationally designed universal vaccine
Dr Marios Koutsakos - $645,205

The role of Mucosal-Associated Invariant T cells in protective and aberrant immunity
Dr Sidonia Eckle - $620,205

Characterization and targeting of precursor exhausted T cells (TPEX) for the treatment of chronic infection and cancer
Dr Daniel Utzschneider - $606,009

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