The Univeristy of Melbourne The Royal Melbourne Hopspital

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13 Nov 2015

Thomas Gebhardt awarded Sylvia & Charles Viertel Charitable FND Senior Medical Research Fellowship

The Sylvia and Charles Viertel Charitable Foundation Senior Medical Research Fellowship is the most prestigious mid-career medical research award in Australia.

Starting this year, the national Sylvia and Charles Viertel Charitable Foundation Senior Medical Research Fellowships are being awarded to one male and one female outstanding mid-career scientist, making their mark with medical research that shows great promise for the future.

Our congratulations to Thomas who will receive $1.225 million ($245,00 pa) over the next five years for his research on 'Immune defence in peripheral organs'. 

The following is the summary for his research proposal.
The surfaces of our body are continually under threat from microbes and viruses that may cause debilitating disease. Our ability to resist or control such infections relies on our immune system, consisting of a large number of different cell types with specialised functions. While some immune cells travel through the blood, others may preferentially reside in tissues. Dr Gebhardt's team was the first to describe a type of immune cells that permanently guard barrier tissues such as skin and gut where they provide local protection from renewed infection. They will study these frontline cells in a range of models to understand how precisely they control local infection and whether they may also contribute to other diseases, such as cancer. It is envisaged these studies will find new ways to harness these peripheral immune cells in order to prevent or treat infectious diseases, chronic inflammation or cancer. 

The female recipient of this year' Sylvia and Charles Viertel Charitable Foundation Senior Medical Research Fellowship is Dr Marie-Liesse Asselin-Labat of the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research. She will use the award to further her research in the 'Regulation of lung stem cells in development and disease'.

Great to see that both recipients of this years award are from our Parkville research community.

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