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11 Oct 2017

Researchers receive $6 million in grants to tackle malaria, HIV, flu and other infectious diseases

Researchers at the Peter Doherty Institute have been awarded eight National Health and Medical Research (NHMRC) grants totalling $6.1 million to carry out essential discovery research on infectious diseases from malaria to HIV and influenza, as well as new vaccine delivery methods, and cutting-edge genomics research for precision medicine. 

Professor Stephen Rogerson will lead a $2.5 million Centre for Research Excellence in Malaria, which will play a leading role in the Asia Pacific region in helping our regional neighbours eliminate malaria.

Research Fellowships were awarded to:

  • Associate Professor Scott Mueller to study how immune cells migrate around the body and the interactions between immune and tissue cells that determine whether a pathogen is eradicated or persists
  • Professor Stephen Kent to develop better HIV vaccine and a universal influenza vaccine
  • Dr Axel Kallies to work on transcriptional and metabolic regulation of effector and memory lymphocyte differentiation
  • Doherty Institute Director Professor Sharon Lewin’s Practitioner Fellowship will focus on the future of HIV care working towards a cure and reducing co-morbidities

Career Development Fellowships were awarded to:

  • Dr Daniel Pellicci to explore the role of CD1-restricted T cells in health and disease
  • Amy Chung for a project on the importance of functional antibodies against disease, which will identify specific antibody targets on HIV and Mycobacterium Tuberculosis associated with protection and control of disease

Early Career Fellowships were awarded to:

  • Dr Jason Kwong to refine application of clinical metagenomics to pinpoint organisms that cause conditions like meningitis in individual patients. This would ultimately help doctors avoid prescribing broad-spectrum antibiotic treatments, which pose a risk of fostering antimicrobial resistance
  • Dr Jacob Coffey (CJ Martin Overseas Biomedical Research Fellowship) to develop vaccines in pill form, to enable a better defence against gastrointestinal pathogens 

Doherty Institute Director Prof Sharon Lewin congratulated the recipients.

“These projects will have profound implications for improving health globally through better vaccines, improved fundamental understanding of the immune system, and precision medicine.

“The number of highly competitive successful fellowships at both junior and senior levels and to basic and clinician scientists highlights the growth and success of the Doherty Institute, a unique environment that brings together clinicians, public health experts and researchers from the Royal Melbourne Hospital and the University of Melbourne to improve health globally through discovery research and the prevention, treatment and cure of infectious diseases.”

“It’s especially gratifying to see early career researchers recognised in these grants.”


National Health and Medical Research (NHMRC) grants in detail
Recipient Project Total funding 

Professor Stephen Rogerson: CRE

Centre for Research Excellence in Malaria Elimination $2.47 million

Associate Professor Scott Mueller: Research fellowship

Defining the coordination of immune responses to pathogens$640,210

Professor Stephen Kent: Research fellowship

Improved HIV and Influenza Vaccines


Professor Sharon Lewin: Practitioner fellowship 

The future of HIV care - long term remission and eliminating co-morbidities


Dr Jason Kwong: Early Career fellowship

The MetaFIND (Metagenomics For Infectious Diseases) project


Dr Amy Chung: Career development fellowship

Importance of functional antibodies against infectious diseases$431,000

Dr Daniel Pellicci: Career development fellowship

The role of CD1-restricted T cells in health and disease$431,000

Dr Jacob Coffey: Early Career fellowship

CJ Martin Overseas Biomedical fellowship 


Dr Axel Kallies:

Research Fellowships

Transcriptional and metabolic regulation of effector and memory lymphocyte differentiation$700,000

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