News and Events
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Seven members of the Doherty partnership were awarded a share in over $1million of joint funding from the National Health and Medical Research Council and Singaporean Agency for Science, Technology and Research today (10 April). Congratulations to: Dale Godfrey, Andrew Brooks and Michael Inouye (Dept M&I), Cam Simmons and Sarah Dunstan (NIGH), Aeron Hunt (VIDRL) and Ian Barr (WHO CCRRI) who will collaborate with peers from Singapore and work on new projects for the Asia Pacific region focused on: TB, Flu and Dengue Fever. For more information see the Australian Government’s announcement here.
NHMRC Project Grants
- Dr Linda Wakim awarded $573,627.60 for research into 'Virus resistant mucosal resident memory T cells'
- Professor Stephen Kent awarded $651,294.64 for research into 'Antibody-Dependent Cellular Cytotoxicity based immunity to Influenza'
- Dr Katherine Kedzierska awarded $833,522.48 for research into 'Understanding influenza-specific T cell immunity in the Indigenous population'
- Dr Kathryn Holt awarded $478,769.66 for research into 'How are Klebsiella pneumoniae infections acquired in hospital?'
- Dr Kathryn Holt awarded $789,320.61 for research into 'Identifying key players in the spread of antimicrobial resistance'
- Professor Elizabeth Hartland awarded $565847.10 for research into 'Death receptor signaling during E. coli and Salmonella infection'
- Assoc Professor Barbara Coulson awarded $517,097.10 for research into 'Elucidating the pathogenic role of rotavirus infection in type 1 diabetes development'
- Dr Odilia Wijburg awarded $623,996.83 for research into 'Mechanisms of respiratory virus induced pneumococcal infection in the middle ear'
- Dr Nicole La Gruta awarded $458,264.14 for research into 'Determinants of CTL recruitment into the immune response'
- Assoc Professor Tim Stinear awarded $324,260.53 for research into 'Is Mycobacterium ulcerans a zoonotic agent spread by mosquitoes?'
- Assoc Professor Tim Stinear awarded $536,518.32 for research into 'Understanding the role of the essential regulator WalKR in Staphylococcus aureus
This is an excellent result when you consider the success rate was 48%: eleven of twenty three project grant applications received funding.
- Professor David Jackson was the recipient of a SPRF fellowship and was awarded $883,375
- Professor Stephen Kent was the recipient of a PRF fellowship and was awarded $789,745
- Dr Daniel Pellicci was the recipient of the Peter Doherty - Australian Biomedical Fellowship and was awarded $299,564
- Dr Linda Wakim was the recipient of the R D Wright Biomedical Fellowship and was awarded $397,724
CIB / External / Associated with Department
- Professor Cameron Simmons was the recipient of a SRF B and was awarded $652,765
- Drs Michael Inouye and Kathryn Holt received a CIB award for their research project 'Systems biology of asthma development in early childhood' and were awarded $742,750.13
- Dr Kirsty Short received a CJ Martin award from the University of Queensland to the value of $333,964
- Dr Andreas Kupz received a CJ Martin award from James Cook University to the value of $325,084
Recipients of ARC Discovery Project Grants
Professor Elizabeth L Hartland and Dr Carmen Buchrieser
Project title: Biology and evolution of intracellular parasitism
Awarded: $427,000 over 3 years
Project summary: This project will investigate the development of intracellular parasitism in environmental amoebae. The outcomes of this work will help to understand the mechanisms by which bacteria have evolved to survive inside cells and in some cases cause disease.
Professor William R Heath
Project title: Defining the immune properties of killer T cells resident in organs
Awarded: $420,000 over 3 years
Project summary: Infections induce immune cells that are thought to recirculate through the blood. Recently, we discovered a population of immune cells that live in tissues like the skin and other tissues, providing critical protection against infections. This project aims to better describe this new immune population and determine ways to harness its potential.
Professor Richard A Strugnell and Dr Ji Yang
Project title: Understanding how bacteria form multicellular biofilm communities on surfaces: the role of cyclic diguanylate as a potent biofilm activator
Awarded: $284,000 over 3 years
Project summary: Bacteria usually exist as multicellular communities called biofilms when attached to surfaces, frequently to the detriment of the environment, industry and health. This project will explore the strategies bacteria use to switch from living as free-floating, individual cells to forming biofilms by studying how bacteria 'switch on' their biofilm genes.
Emeritus Professor Nancy Millis
Nancy first joined the University of Melbourne in 1952 when she was appointed as a Senior Demonstrator by Professor Syd Rubbo in the then Department of Microbiology. In 1953 she was appointed as lecturer. Early in her career she set up the first Applied Microbiology course in Australia and in 1982 was appointed as a Professor in our Department, a position she held till her retirement. Notably, she was the fourth woman to be appointed Professor at the University of Melbourne.
Nancy’s PhD thesis from the University of Bristol, was on the spoilage of cider and she was involved in much of the early pioneering work in fermentation technology in Australia. The connection with cider made her popular as a judge in cider making competitions. Her own mead was said to be the stuff of legend. Her scientific interests were wider than just fermentation technology and included microbial physiology, environmental ecology (nutrient cycling in natural aquatic systems), food and drinking water and public health and the surveillance of genetic engineering.
Throughout her career she has been instrumental in bringing together the two worlds of academia and industry serving as Chairperson for the Cooperative Research Centre for Water Quality and Treatment, a board member of the CRC for Freshwater Ecology, a committee member of Australian Water Advisory Resources Committee, the Council of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences, the National Commission for UNESCO plus many others.
Nancy was also Chancellor of La Trobe University from 1992, a position she held until her retirement in 2006.
In the latter part of her career Nancy became involved in the Surveillance of Genetic Engineering and in the early ‘80s she was head of the Genetic Manipulation Advisory Committee and was chairperson of the Commonwealth government’s agency for the surveillance of genetic engineering. She sought to champion this cause through interviews with the media.
She received a number of honours over the course of a long career. In 1977 she was awarded a MBE for her work in biological sciences and in 1990 she was made a Companion of the Order of Australia (CA). She was a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (FTSE), a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science (FAA), an Honorary Life Member of the Australian Society for Microbiology, and an honorary life member of AusBiotech. In 1993 the University of Melbourne awarded her an honorary Doctorate of Science. Nancy was widely regarded as a national treasure and was one of five Australian scientists to be featured on postage stamps. The CEO of Bio21 Cluster at the University of Melbourne, Dr Jan Tennent, very aptly described her as the “undisputed First Lady of biotechnology in Australia”.
In 1987 Nancy was made Emeritus Professor and continued working within the Department up until a motor vehicle accident in July.
We will always remember her with great affection as a kindly spirit who was a lively conversationalist with a great sense of humour. Nancy was happy to strike up a conversation with anyone and she enlivened many conversations in the tearoom with her sharp intellect and her sense of fun. She was, and continues to be, an inspiration to many women in science: as a role model, Nancy will continue to be admired and respected by later generations of microbiologists. Nancy accomplished so much during her lifetime but always showed humility to others. She will be remembered for her feisty spirit, her humour, that sharp intellect underscored by a wonderful humility: she is sadly missed in the Department.
Office of the Gene Technology Regulator - Tribute to Nancy.
One of the projects was led by Professor Lorena Brown and included Kathryn Edenborough, Brad Gilbertson and David Jackson from our Department. This is a wonderful achievement for Lori and her team.
Members of our Department, David Jackson and Dick Strugnell, were also members of Professor Marshall Lightowlers’ team which was another top ten project.
This is national recognition of the very high calibre of research from our Department. For more information.
Andreas Kupz from the Strugnell lab received the Dean's Award for Excellence for his PhD thesis: Mechanisms of Immunity and Innate IFNγ Production During Murine Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium Infections.
This is a very well deserved reward for Andreas’s outstanding work during his PhD and great news for our Department.
Fresh Science Victoria Finals (6 September 2012)
L - R: Professor Stephen Kent, Dr Marit Kramski, Ms Margaret Lam,
Associate Professor Damian Purcell.
Two of the 11 Victoria State finalists were from our Department. Marit Kramski, supervised by Damian Purcell and Stephen Kent, presented her work on “Working with cows to prevent HIV” and Margaret Lam, supervised by Tim Stinear, presented her work on “Tiny terror unveiled - superbug genome mapped”. Our two finalists are pictured together with Stephen and Damian.
Participants spent a day media training at Scienceworks learning how to present their work to journalists and lay audiences.
Emeritus Professor Nancy Millis celebrating her 90th birthday
Emeritus Professor Nancy Millis on her 90th birthday
On her 90th birthday, Nancy celebrated with her friends and colleagues in the Departmental tearoom. The University publication, Voice, featured an article on Nancy on the occasion of her birthday.
Musse (Melbourne University Staff / Student E-news) also had a feature article on Nancy.
The Australian Academy of Science recently elected 21 new Fellows. The Australian Academy of Science represents Australia’s leading research scientists and each year elects a small number of Australian scientists to be awarded a Fellowship for their outstanding contributions to science. To be elected to Fellowship of the Australian Academy (FAA) is the highest honor that Australian scientists can award to their peers.
Jim joins an elite group of Fellows of the Academy in our Department, including Laureate Professor Peter Doherty, Emeritus Professors Nancy Millis and Jim Pittard, and Professors Bill Heath and Frank Carbone. Our extraordinary number of high achievers is an indicator of the high esteem in which our Department is held.
The University of Melbourne awards Brookfield Multiplex the contract to build the Peter Doherty Institute (13 July 2011)
The University of Melbourne is pleased to announce today that Brookfield Multiplex has won the contract to build the $210 million Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity.
Located on the corner of Grattan and Elizabeth Streets, the Doherty is suitably positioned right in the heart of Melbourne’s hub of healthcare, research and education excellence; the Parkville Precinct. The Institute is scheduled to be fully-operational by mid-2014.
The project attracted outstanding interest from industry and Brookfield Multiplex won the contract by demonstrating that it would offer the best value for money and meet or exceed the highly technical requirements of the project.
The University’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), Professor Jim McCluskey congratulated Brookfield Multiplex saying, “Following an exhaustive tender process, we’ve now engaged a construction partner that brings the highest level of building expertise required to complete this state-of-the-art research and teaching facility. In practical terms today’s announcement will help us focus our expertise on bringing together a powerful coalition of infection and immunity experts, unique to the southern hemisphere, to produce better outcomes in the fight against global public health problems,” Professor McCluskey said.
Melbourne Health CEO, Linda Sorrell commented, “The Doherty further enhances the Parkville Precinct by bringing together more than 700 scientists, researchers and staff in a world-leading facility,” Ms Sorrell said.
About the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity:
Named after Melbourne-based, Nobel Laureate Peter Doherty, the Institute will be the first of its kind in the southern hemisphere. Around 700 researchers, technicians and scientists will share the new space, creating a strong base from which Australia can strategically respond to the spread of diseases like pandemic influenza and SARS arising from the Asia-Pacific region and to unknown or emerging diseases. The Vision for the Doherty once operational in 2014 is to produce better health outcomes that boost national and global wellbeing and prosperity.
The Peter Doherty Institute is an un-incorporated Joint Venture Partnership between the University of Melbourne and Melbourne Health. The Doherty partners and their affiliates gratefully acknowledge the significant funding assistance provided by the Commonwealth Government’s Education Investment Fund and support from the Victorian Government.
Professors James McCluskey and Dale Godfrey recipients of NHMRC Program Grants For Funding Commencing in 2012 (March 2011)
Title: Antigen Presentation, Recognition, and the Immune System
Recipients: Professor James McCluskey, Professor Bill Heath, Professor Frank Carbone, Associate Professor Andrew Brooks at Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Professor Ken Shortman and Dr Jose Villadangos at WEHI and Professor Jamie Rossjohn at Monash University.
Funding: $14,724,550 over 5 years
This program focuses on understanding the development of immune response to viruses and other infectious agents using a broad array of techniques to dissect the function of various immune cell types and to explore the relationship between structure and function of important cell surface molecules. These studies will improve our ability to design new generation vaccines for combating infectious diseases, controlling cancer, or limiting autoimmune diseases like diabetes.
On behalf of the Program, Prof McCluksey accepted the award for the highest ranked NHMRC Program grant for the 2010-2011 round from the Hon Mark Butler, Minister for Mental Health and Ageing at the announcement of the NHMRC Program funding results held at The WaLter and Elisa Hall Institute on Tuesday 8th March.
Title: Immune regulation, effector function and therapy
Recipients: M Smyth, J Trapani, R Johnstone, D Godfrey, M Prince, M, Kershaw
Funding: $12,615,220 over 5 years
This team will seek to understand how white blood cells detect and destroy disease, and how molecules of the immune system punch holes in diseased cells. The investigators wish to learn how cancer can sometimes evade the immune system. Their work will also find out how some common treatments for cancer, like chemotherapy, can be used to boost the immune system and eliminate tumours. Through knowledge gained from these studies, they aim to develop new therapies that can help patients with devastating diseases like cancer.
Prof James McCluskey, Dr Stephanie Gras, A/Prof Scott R Burrows
Investigating the molecular basis of T-cell receptor cross-reactivity
Awarded $300,000 over three years.
This project will explore the basis of unexpected immune reactions whereby the immune system mistakes one molecular structure for another, a phenomenon known as cross-reactivity. This project will examine how often this is due to molecular mimicry, potentially explaining why immune T cells sometimes react inappropriately to different agents.
Dr Timothy P Stinear, Dr Kellie L Tuck, Dr Hui Hong, Prof Peter F Leadlay
A microbiological platform for the production of complex small molecules with important biological activities
Awarded $480,000 over three years.
Currently making complex chemicals such as medicines relies on harvesting rare natural resources or using complicated, energy intensive laboratory-based processes. This project will overcome these limitations by using a natural biological system to produce these chemicals, returning significant health and economic benefits to the nation.
Prof Dale I Godfrey, Dr Onisha Patel
Atypical T cell receptor recognition of monomorphic CD1 antigen-presenting molecule
Awarded $300,00 over three years.
T lymphocytes are white blood cells that respond to foreign molecules (antigens). Until recently, most known antigens were proteins. This project will study how T lymphocytes recognise a different class of antigen (glycolipids) that are likely to play an equally important role in the immune system.
Associate Professor and Reader Ian Hamilton Holmes
It is noted with great sadness that Associate Professor and Reader Ian Hamilton Holmes, an illustrious Australian Virologist, died unexpectedly at his Red Hill property near Melbourne on August 2 2010 aged 75 years.
Ian was a highly respected senior member of the academic staff of our Department from 1963 until his retirement in 2000. In 1973, Ian applied his expertise in electron microscopy to intestinal biopsies collected by colleagues at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne from children with non-bacterial gastroenteritis. In these samples he discovered a new human virus, rotavirus, which he quickly identified as orbivirus-like. Later he showed that rotavirus belongs to a new group within the family Reoviridae. Ian’s rotavirus research over 27 years has greatly contributed to the development of rotavirus vaccines, which are starting to have a dramatic impact on infant morbidity and mortality in many countries.
He received the David Syme Research Prize from The University of Melbourne (1977) and the Clunies Ross National Science and Technology Award (1998) for this work.
Ian was a friend to all and a wonderful mentor to his many students. He enthusiastically passed on his passion for science and the importance of nurturing the next generation of researchers. He will be greatly missed.
Professor Frank Carbone Recipient of one of nine 2010 NHMRC Australia Fellowships recently announced by the Australian Government. Professor Mark Smyth, an honorary of the Department, also received a NHMRC Australia Fellowship (February 2010)
In a media release, dated 28 January 2010, the Honorable Mark Butler who is the Parlimentary Secretary for Health, announced the recipients of the 2010 NHMRC Australia Fellowships.
The Rudd Government recognised the extraordinary work of nine of Australia’s best health and medical researchers today with the announcement of the National Health and Medical Research Council Australia Fellowships.
The Australia Fellowships are Australia’s most prestigious award for excellence in the fields of health and medical research and recognise those researchers with the vision and application to tackle some of the biggest health issues facing society today.
The Parliamentary Secretary for Health, Mark Butler, made the announcement at Monash University saying that the awards were proof of Australia’s wealth in research talent.
“It is important as a nation that we recognise and support the excellence of our health and medical researchers whose dedication, drive and innovation help unravel the mysteries behind disease and relieve human suffering,” Mr Butler said. “The Rudd Government applauds these nine outstanding people and is proud to support their research and the contribution it can make to improving health in Australia and across the world.”
Recipients of the Australia Fellowship each receive a specially minted commemorative medal and $4 million in funding towards their nominated research project.
The citation for Prof Carbone's award:
Professor Francis Carbone from the University of Melbourne who specialises in the study of immunity at the body surfaces which are the common points of entry for a variety of infectious agents. His Australia Fellowship will be used to propose how best to include this type of peripheral immune protection and how we can exploit these mechanisms for the purpose of infection control.
The citation for Professor Mark Smyth's award:
Professor Mark Smyth from the University of Melbourne who sees immunology emerging as a fundamental discipline of oncology. Professor Smyth’s major goal with his Australia Fellowship is to understand why some tumours may be controlled by the immune response while others are apparently not.
Melbourne is recognised as a centre of Academic excellence with four of the nine Fellowships going to Universities within the city of Melbourne. The other two Melbourne recipients were Professors Shaun Jackson and Charles Mackay, both from Monash University.
Project Title: Studies on peripheral T cell memory
Awarded $1,649,000 over five years.
Success in vaccination depends on the ability of the immune system to remember prior encounter with an infectious agent. This immune memory appears to work well for certain infections but not others, essentially meaning that for these diseases, effective vaccines remain unavailable. This application describes experiments based on a new leukocyte or white blood cell population that has been overlooked in studies of immune memory. The work involves identifying how they are formed and how they behave within the body. This work will therefore contribute to the development and production of new generation vaccines to these so far uncontrollable infectious diseases.
- Dr Nicole LaGruta awarded $303,750 for research into 'Direct characterisation of naive epitope-specific T cell populations and their influence on immune responses'.
- Prof Stephen Kent and Dr John Stambas awarded $588,750 for research into 'Comparative effectiveness of vaccine-induced SIV-specific CD8 T cells'.
- Dr Thomas Gebhardt awarded $324,750 for research into 'Generation and maintenance of effective T cell memory in peripheral organs'.
- Dr Timothy Stinear awarded $288,750 for research into 'Understanding the biosynthesis of complex polyketide lipid toxins in pathogenic mycobacteria'.
- Dr Sammy Bedoui awarded $324,750 for research into 'Dissecting the contribution of CD103+ DC to priming of virus-specific CD8 T cells'.
- Dr Benjamin Howden, Dr Timothy Stinear and Prof John Davis awarded $425,000 for research into 'Molecular mechanisms of low-level vancomycin resistance in clinical Staphylococcus aureus'.
- Dr Matthew Perugini, Dr Con Dogovski, Dr Renwick Dobson, Prof Roy Robins-Browne and Dr Craig Hutton awarded $445,125 for research into 'Multi-Targeted Inhibition of an Essential Tetrameric Enzyme from Drug -Resistant Streptococcus pneumoniae'.
- Prof Richard Strugnell, A/Prof Michelle Gee and Prof Trevor Lithgow awarded $415,125 for research into 'Role of LPS in encapsulation'.
Dr Liz Hartland awarded a Future Fellowship (Australian Research Council Future Fellowships scheme) (9th September 2009)
The following is the Project Title and Project Summary of Liz's successful application.
The biology, structure and function of bacterial virulence effectors
This project is closely aligned with the National Research Priority of Promoting and Maintaining Good Health and will establish a research framework to investigate novel virulence processes that allow bacterial pathogens to infect humans and cause disease. This fresh approach to the study of bacterial pathogenesis will sit outside classic genetic methods to investigate infection and immunity which rely heavily on genetic manipulation of the pathogen. Other than providing fundamental information on hostpathogen interactions, this work may lead to novel disease interventions by inhibition of bacterial virulence factor activity and/or enhancement of host inflammatory and immune responses.
Dr Amy Sexton (Kent Laboratory) received the award for best oral presentation at the recent VIIN Post-doc Symposium held at The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, Parkville (20th August 2009)
The following is the program abstract for her presentation
Nanoengineered Layer-by-Layer capsules as a novel delivery system for HIV vaccines
A Sexton, PG Whitney, R De Rose, AN Zelikin, S Feng Chong, APR Johnston, F Caruso, SJ Kent. Depts of Microbiology & Immunology and Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering, University of Melbourne
Overlapping Gag peptides have demonstrated potential in stimulating T cell immunity to HIV and slowing the progression of AIDS. However, peptides administered alone are poorly immunogenic and rapidly degraded in vivo before they can reach antigen presenting cells (APCs). Hence, novel technologies that can efficiently deliver antigens to APCs are desperately needed to create safe and effective vaccines.
Nanoengineered Layer-by-Layer capsules represent a novel technology for the delivery and protection of protein/peptide antigens. This technology is flexible and multi-functional allowing for fine-tuning to facilitate efficient delivery to APCs and optimize immune responses. We have successfully encapsulated whole proteins and small peptides within biodeconstructible capsules and demonstrated that capsules are internalized by APCs. Furthermore, dendritic cells that associated with capsules demonstrated an increase in activation markers (CD86, CD83 and MHC-II). Protein/peptide loaded capsules administered to mice activated peptide-specific CD4 and CD8 T cells.
We are now administrating capsules containing SIV peptides to macaques to further investigate the immunogenicity of this vaccination strategy. Work is underway to further optimize this technology by incorporating adjuvants and through surface functionalisation to specifically target DCs. This multidisciplinary project represents a novel and exciting advance in vaccine delivery that could have a major impact on HIV/AIDS.
Dr Margaret Peel , Principal Scientist at MDU 1976-2000, has been awarded a DSc from the University of Queensland (July, 2009)
Margaret Peel, Principal Scientist at the Microbiological Diagnostic Unit Public Health Laboratory (MDU), University of Melbourne (1976-2000) made significant contributions to microbiology, within Victoria and in wider national and international spheres.
Margaret‘s qualifications –PhD (Lond), Dip Bact (Lond), BSc Hons (Qld), Dip Med Lab Sc (Qld), FASM - were teamed with her keen and enquiring mind and a genuine enthusiasm for the practice of microbiology. From her original research on the immunology of tetanus, at MDU she moved into new areas, such as legionellosis, Toxic Shock Syndrome, pathogenic Neisseria species and the detection of cyanobacterial toxins.
However, Margaret’s keenest interest at MDU was the identification of unusual or difficult bacterial isolates, a task that requires perseverance, patience and experience. Margaret successfully identified many rare or recently described species and contributed extensively to the scientific literature, writing a number of reports that were Australian or world firsts, and collaborating with national and international colleagues.
Margaret co-authored, with Dr Joan Gardner, three editions of an authoritative textbook on sterilization, disinfection and infection control. As a member of advisory committees, working parties and task forces, Margaret contributed to Victorian and Australian Guidelines, Codes of Practice and Standards for Biosafety, lectured on this topic to University of Melbourne students and gave advice to individuals, institutions and government departments. In 1995, she was awarded Honorary Life Membership of the Sterilizing Research Advisory Council of Australia – Vic.
Margaret’s high standards, enthusiasm and leadership have left a lasting legacy to Australian microbiology.
Dr Margaret Peel shortly after her Graduation Ceremony, Friday 24 July
QIAGEN proudly sponsors the QIAGEN PhD Achievement Award to recognise highly productive PhD students from the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Melbourne.
This year the Award has been presented to Ella Bridie Day from the Doherty Laboratory. During her PhD studies, Bridie investigated factors that influence and shape the T cell receptor (TCR) diversity of CD8+ T cell responses to virus infection. Her findings have provided new insights into the role TCR-a and -b chains in determining antigen-specificity. Bridie's work has resulted so far in three publications and several manuscripts under review. She has presented her studies both nationally and internationally and has contributed to teaching in our Department.
The 2009 QIAGEN Award was presented by the Head of Department Professor Roy Robins-Browne, the Managing Director of QIAGEN Australia Laurent Dapremont and their visiting VP of Commercial Operations (based in the UK) Philip Sefton.
|Pictured from left to right : the Managing Director of QIAGEN Australia Laurent Dapremont, QIAGEN visiting VP of Commercial Operations (based in the UK) Philip Sefton and Ella Bridie Day.|
|The Department of Microbiology and Immunology gratefully acknowledges the contribution of QIAGEN in sponsoring this award. QIAGEN provides innovative enabling technologies and products for the separation, purification and handling of nucleic acids and proteins and has developed a comprehensive portfolio of more than 320 proprietary, consumable products for nucleic acid and protein separation, purification and handling, nucleic acid amplification, as well as automated instrumentation, synthetic nucleic acid products and related services.|
Fast-tracked NHMRC Grants for the investigation of swine flu awarded to Departmental staff (July 2009)
Our congratulations to Prof Lorena Brown, Dr Katherine Kedzierska, Prof David Jackson and Dr John Stambas, each of whom was awarded a fast-tracked NHMRC Grant to work on influenza A H1N1 09 ("swine flu").
Of nearly $7 million awarded Australia-wide, the University of Melbourne received more than $2 million, which included $750,00 to our Department.
Well done to all concerned.
Liyen Loh (Kent Laboratory) received a Commendation in the 2009 Premier's Awards for Health and Medical Research (June 2009)
Liyen Loh, a PhD student in the Kent Laboratory in the Department of Microbiology & Immunology, has been awarded a Commendation in the 2009 Premier's Awards for Health & Medical Research for her work on factors governing how HIV evades the immune system.
Each year the Premier's Awards for Health and Medical Research are awarded to outstanding Victorian postgraduate health or medical research scholars. The Awards recognise the contributions made by early-stage researchers and are an initiative of the Victorian Government and the Australian Society for Medical Research. The Premier's Awards for Health and Medical Research are open to PhD students or recently completed postgraduates whose research has or is being undertaken in a Victorian research institution in any field of medical research including public health, basic, applied or clinical research and health-related technology research. The Award program provides $40,000 in prize money: $16,000 for the winner and $8,000 each for three commended applicants.
|Liyen Loh receiving her Commendation from the Premier, John Brumby|
Dr Elizabeth Hartland has been awarded the 2010 Australian Society for Microbiology Frank Fenner Award (June 2009)
The Australian Society for Microbiology (ASM) Frank Fenner Award honours Professor Frank Fenner's significant contribution to Australian microbiology and is offered by the Australian Society for Microbiology to recognise distinguished contributions in an area of Australian research in microbiology by scientists in the formative stage of their career.Applicants were required to show that their area of research excellence was work done substantially in Australia and will enhance the nation’s international reputation in microbiology.
Dr Elizabeth (Liz) Hartland and her team study Legionella pneumophila, the bacterium responsible for Legionnaires' disease and pathogenic types of E. coli that cause diarrhoea. “This award is important to me as it promotes our research profile and contribution to the discipline of microbiology in Australia, but it is also valuable recognition of Infection and Immunity research here at the University,” says Liz.
Dr Hartland will present the Fenner lecture at the ASM Annual meeting in Sydney in 2010.
Further information : http://www.mdhs.unimelb.edu.au/news/2010_asm_frank_fenner_award_dr_elizabeth_hartland
|Dr Liz Hartland - ASM Frank Fenner Award winner 2010|
Professors Roy Robins-Browne and David Jackson and their team have been awarded a $US100,000 Grand Challenges Explorations Grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (May, 2009)
University of Melbourne scientist and Head of Microbiology and Immunology Professor Roy Robins-Browne, his colleague Professor David Jackson and their team have been awarded a $US100,000 Grand Challenges Explorations grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation, which provides seed funding for research into new treatments and technologies to tackle infectious disease. The team are working on a prototype vaccine against diarrhoea-causing bacteria in the developing world. The key target of the vaccine is a toxin produced by E. coli bacteria that causes diarrhoea in children in less developed countries, and in travellers to those countries.
Professor David Jackson and his team devised a strategy to make the toxin antigenic by linking it to a short protein sequence that is recognised by lymphocytes and also to a lipid-based immuno-stimulatory molecule.
In keeping with the objectives of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the target population of the vaccine is children in less developed countries. However, it may also be effective in adult travellers from developed to less developed countries, and the grant money will be used to produce different vaccine prototypes.
Further information can be found in MUSSE newsletter: http://blogs.unimelb.edu.au/musse/?p=1256
|Professors David Jackson and Roy Robins-Browne|
Philippa Saunders (McCluskey Laboratory) received Best Abstract award from 23rd European Immunogenetics and Histocompatibility Conference (May, 2009)
Philippa's abstract was selected as one of a handful of best abstracts out of nearly 300 submitted at the 23rd European Immunogenetics and Histocompatibility Conference (EFI) held conjointly with the 17th Annual Meeting of the German Society for Immunogenetics (DGI) in Ulm Germany in May. Philippa received a medal, a book and a framed certificate recognising her achievement.
The paper, entitled "The dependence of HLA class I allotypes upon the Peptide Loading Complex influences their susceptibility to viral inhibitors", was presented at the conference by Philippa's supervisor, Professor Jim McCluskey.
|Philippa Saunders pictured with her supervisor, Professor Jim McCluskey|
Our congratulations to Drs Sumone Chakravarti, Lucy Sullivan, Viv Peut, Linda Wakim, Hayley Newton and Fiona Samson who have been awarded NHMRC post-doctoral training awards commencing 2009 (February, 2009)
Dr Sumone Chakravarti has received a prestigious NHMRC Career Development Award, an RD Wright Fellowship, to further her work on the potential role for NKT cells in the suppression of EAE, a model for multiple sclerosis.
Dr Lucy Sullivan has received a prestigious NHMRC Career Development Award, an RD Wright Fellowship, to further her work on the biology of non-classical MHC class 1 molecules.
Dr Viv Peut from the Kent Lab has been awarded a NHMRC Overseas based Biomedical Fellowship to further her research on HIV vaccines at the Fred Hutchison Research Centre in Seattle.
Dr Linda Wakim from the Carbone lab has been awarded a NHMRC Overseas based Biomedical Fellowship to further her work on T cell immunity at the University of Washington in Seattle.
Dr Hayley Newton was awarded a NHMRC overseas postdoctoral training award and will travel to Professor Craig Roy's Lab at Yale University to work on virulence factors of Coxiella.
Dr Fiona Sansom was awarded a NHMRC Australian based postdoctoral training award and will join Professor Malcolm McConville's Lab at Bio21 to work on Leishmania.
Dr Ivan Stratov (Kent Laboratory) awarded a $50,000 CSL Fellowship from the Royal Australian College of Physicians (February, 2009)
|Dr Stratov (R) seen receiving the award from Darryl Maher of CSL Limited|
Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity receives $90m in funding (February, 2009)
The University has received $90 million in funding from the Commonwealth Government's Higher Education Fund (HEEF) for the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity.[see MUSSE for further details]
Departmental Research Team Recipient of $10.4 Million Program Grant For Vaccine Development (February, 2009)
On behalf of the acting Head of Department, Prof. Roy Robins-Browne and Deputy Head of Department, Prof James McCluskey, we are delighted to congratulate Prof’s.Peter Doherty, David Jackson, Lorena Brown, Stephen Turner, Anne Kelso (WHO) and Weisan Chen (Ludwig) on their success on being awarded $10.4 Million for their 2010 Program Grant. The team will develop and evaluate vaccines that induce long-lasting ‘killer’ T-cell immunity to protect against seasonal and pandemic influenza.
Our congratulations are also extended to all the team leaders: Dr’s Karen Laurie (WHO), Weiguang Zeng, Brendan Chua (Jackson Lab), Nicole La Gruta, Dr. Katherine Kedzierska (Doherty Lab), Brad Gilbertson (Brown Lab), Deborah Middleton (AAHL), Patrick Reading (WHO), Lisa Ebert (Ludwig).
This program grant represents a major boost to the success of the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity.
QIAGEN proudly sponsors the QIAGEN PhD Achievement Award to recognise highly productive PhD students from the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Melbourne. This year, the Award has been presented to Liyen Loh from Kent laboratory for her successful PhD studies. Liyen has established novel kinetic analyses of CTL escape in SIV Gag epitopes. She subsequently used these assays to show that vaccination influences the rates of viral escape and reversion. Liyen's PhD work has resulted in 7 publications, with 3 of those being first-author manuscripts. Liyen has presented her studies both nationally and internationally and contributed to teaching in the Department.
The award was presented by the QIAGEN Business Director Dr Hun-Sun Hwang and Head of Department Professor Jim McCluskey.
|Pictured from left to right : Dr Liyen Loh, the QIAGEN Business Director Dr Hun-Sun Hwang and Head of Department Professor Jim McCluskey.|
|The Department of Microbiology and Immunology gratefully acknowledges the contribution of QIAGEN in sponsoring this award. QIAGEN provides innovative enabling technologies and products for the separation, purification and handling of nucleic acids and proteins and has developed a comprehensive portfolio of more than 320 proprietary, consumable products for nucleic acid and protein separation, purification and handling, nucleic acid amplification, as well as automated instrumentation, synthetic nucleic acid products and related services.|
The importance of the publication "Control of Viremia and Prevention of AIDS following Immunotherapy of SIV-Infected Macaques with Peptide-Pulsed Blood", published in the Public Library of Science journal PLoS Pathogens, is highlighted by the fact that Reuters chose to publish an article on it.
Because of copyright restrictions we cannot include the Reuters article here but it is available on line.
The publication is also available on line.
Premier gives 3 out of 4 Medical Research Awards to Department of Microbiology & Immunology (June 2008)
The 2008 Premier's Award for Health and Medical Research was presented in a special ceremony at Government House on June 5. PhD student, Linda Wakim (Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Carbone laboratory), was awarded a prestigious commendation from Premier John Brumby for her pioneering work on killer T cells.The Award recognises the outstanding contributions made by early career health and medical researchers to Victoria's leading role in health and medical research in Australia. Fellow commendee and PhD scholar Hilary Hoare (Monash University) was co-supervised by Jamie Rossjohn and Andrew Brooks (Department of Microbiology and Immunology). The winner, Benjamin Wei from the Bionic Ear Institute (University of Melbourne), worked on streptococcal meningitis following Cochlear implants under the co-supervision of Roy Robins-Browne (Department of Microbiology and Immunology). Priscilla Kelly, from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute also received a commendation for her research into preventing lymphoma formation. The Award is a joint initiative of the Victorian Government and the Australian Society for Medical Research.
Professor Brendon Crabb, formerly a Veterinary Science PhD student and senior lecturer in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, was appointed as Director of the Burnet Institute in March this year.
Following his PhD graduation (from the University of Melbourne) in 1992 he joined the staff of the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research. Prior to his appointment as Director of the Burnet Institute, he was head of the malaria research laboratory within the infection and immunity division of WEHI. He has a international reputation as an outstanding medical researcher.
He is also a National Health and Medical Research Council Senior Principal Research Fellow and an International Research Scholar at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (USA). He received the David Syme Research Award in 2006 for his work toward developing a malaria vaccine.
[Source: Melbourne University Magazine for Alumni, April edition 2008]
The Melbourne University Magazine for Alumni (April 2008) featured an article on Misty, her current work, her reaction to Australia's apology to its indigenous people, and her recollections of her time in the Department.
Dr Jenkins is presently a research associate at the University of Cambridge where her research is focused on the mechanisms of T cell cytotoxicity. This is a far cry from her days as an undergraduate student at the University of Melbourne when she had to work part-time so that she could afford to continue her studies. She has fond recollections of her time spent in the Department and of the support and stimulus received from her PhD supervisors Professor Peter Doherty and Dr Stephen Turner.
The article gives an insight into a person who is proud of her Gunditjmara heritage and acutely aware of the poor health status of many of the indigenous people of Australia. She plans to return to Australia at the conclusion of her studies in Cambridge and to integrate her research interests with Aboriginal health issues.
[Source: Melbourne University Magazine for Alumni, April edition 2008]
Professor Heath was one of 17 of Australia's leading scientists to be made a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science on March 19. Election to the Academy is in recognition of an individual's significant contribution to scientific knowledge in their specialist area.
Professor Heath's election to the Australian Academy of Sciences was in recognition of his work on the immune response to pathogens.
Professor Heath will be joining the Department in June as an ARC Federation Fellow
Professor Stephen Kent and Dr Damian Purcell, and co-investigators Dr Rob De Rose and Dr Rob Center, co-recipients of NHMRC program grant
Prof Stephen Kent and Dr Damian Purcell, together with co-investigators Dr Rob De Rose and Dr Rob Center, are part of a multi-centre team which has recently been awarded a 5 year $17.7 million 2009 NHMRC program grant.
The development of vaccines and better treatments for HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis C are urgent global health priorities.
The Program Grant will be used to undertake studies which will give a better understanding of effective immunity against HIV and hepatitis C, thus allowing the rational design and testing of novel vaccines and treatments. The multi-centre team includes researchers with skills in basic virology, immunology, and expertise in translating findings in the laboratory into human clinical trials.
[Source: Successful Program Grants for 2009 - NHMRC website]
Professor James McCluskey awarded Rose Payne Distinguished Scientist Award (December 2007)
Professor James McCluskey, head of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology in the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sicences, has recently been awarded the prestigious Rose Payne Distinguished Scientist Award by the American Society for Histocompatibility and Immunogenetics. This award, made in recognition of Professor McCluskey’s work in immunogenetics, the study of how genes control immunity, has never before been made to an Australian.
‘This area of research underpins our understanding of the basis for individual differences in response to infections, cancer and susceptibility to autoimmune diseases,’ Professor McCluskey said.
Immunogenetics is also concerned with how genetic differences between a donor and recipient determine the outcome of solid organ and blood stem cell transplantation.
Professor McCluskey is currently President of the International Histocompatibility Workshop Group that convenes collaboration between research groups around the world. His award was followed by a lecture at the 33rd Annual Scientific meeting of the American Society for Histocompatibility and Immunogenetics (ASHI), held in Minneapolis, USA. ASHI is the main scholarly body that oversees both technical and scientific aspects of organ transplant matching in the US and is the largest society of its kind in the world. ASHI also governs the standards of laboratory practice in transplant matching in North America, Canada and most of Asia.
The Rose Payne Distinguished Scientist Award was established by ASHI in 1984 to honour Stanford University Professor Rose Payne for her long-standing contribution to the field of immunogenetics.[Source: Faculty of Medicine, Dentisty and Health Sciences website]
Melbourne Unversity has recently published "A Light History of Hot Air" (MUP RRP $32.95) which is described as "an atmospheric pleasure of a book ... about balloons, national symbols, hydrogen, large and small wars, spontaneous combustion, with cameos from Albert Einstein, Samuel Pepys, Charles Dickens, Thomas the Tank Engine and the Charles Schultz".
See the recent interview with Prof Peter Doherty on hot air which was reported in The University of Melbourne Voice [Vol. 1, No. 18 12 - 26 November 2007] and a review which appeared in the The Sydney Morning Herald.
Also see "The Beginner's Guide to Winning the Nobel Prize" by Peter Doherty (MUP 2005).
- Dr John Stambas awarded $401,625 for research into ‘Evaluation of immune correlates for virus-specific CD8+ T cells following prime-boost vaccination’.
- Dr Justine Mintern awarded $473,250 for research into ‘Cytolytic mechanisms required for virus elimination’.
- Dr Anthony Purcell, Dr Stephen Turner and Dr Craig Clements awarded $518,250 for research into ‘Molecular basis of T cell Receptor bias in viral immunity’.
- Dr Barbara Coulson awarded $330,000 for research into ‘Immune cell interactions and cell signalling pathways important for rotavirus infection’ and $397,125 for research into ‘Modulation of type 1 diabetes development by rotavirus infection’.
- Dr Andrew Brooks and Associate Professor Thomas Kotsimbos awarded $518,250 for research into ‘The role of HLA-E in innate and adaptive immunity’.
- Dr Francis Carbone and Dr David Tscharke awarded $483,750 for research into ‘TSLP and dysregulation of anti-viral immunity in atopic dermatitis’.
- Dr Patrick Reading awarded $382,125 for research into ‘Identification of innate receptors for influenza viruses’.
- Professor Lorena Brown, Dr Deborah Middleton and Associate Professor David Jackson awarded $493,125 for research into ‘The progression of influenza virus within the respiratory tract’.
- Professor Lorena Brown and Associate Professor David Jackson awarded $453,750 for research into ‘Heterosubtypic T cell-inducing vaccines for influenza in humans’.
Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities (LIEF)
- Dr A Purcell, Professor J Rossjohn, Associate Professor M Aguilar, Professor J McCluskey, Associate Professor T J Lithgow, Professor R O’Hair, Dr R Pearson,and Professor P McIntyre awarded $300,000 for research into ‘Mass spectrometry facility for the quanitation and analysis of post-translationally modified peptides’.
Thomson Scientific Australian Citation Survey (October 2007)
The University of Melbourne has led the recently published Thomson Scientific Australian citation survey with 21 ‘Top Three’ appearances. With more than 51 000 citations, Melbourne appeared in 11 scientific fields ranked by total citations and 10 fields by impact.
The University also ranked in the ‘Top Three’ in both citations and impact in five fields – neurosciences, physics, microbiology, pharmacology, and psychology/psychiatry.
On the CNN Money website Christopher King, editor of Thomson’s ScienceWatch, said the University of Melbourne displays both productivity and influence.
Thomson Scientific analysed data from its Australian University Indicators 1981-2006, a database containing publication and citation statistics for more than 50 universities and research institutes which evaluates universities and research institutions based on total citations and impact – the average number of citations per paper.
It then ranked institutions by impact and total citations across 21 fields, as well as overall output and impact.
ScienceWatch editor Christopher King is not surprised a ‘powerhouse’ like Melbourne ranked highly in citation surveys as large institutions tend to be the most productive and have the highest research output.
University of Melbourne affiliate, the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute (WEHI) of Medical Research, topped all other universities and institutes in overall impact with an average of nearly 20 citations per paper.
ScienceWatch notes that papers from research institutes such as WEHI and the Howard Florey Institute were not included with those from the University of Melbourne even in instances where the institutions appear together.
[Source: The University of Melbourne Voice Vol. 1, No. 17 29 October - 12 November 2007 ]
Dr Stephen Turner is one of the recipients of this year’s 10 Victorian Young Tall Poppy Science Awards (October 2007)
Dr Stephen Turner is one of four University of Melbourne scientists who are recipients of this year’s 10 Victorian Young Tall Poppy Science Awards.
The awards, from the Australian Institute of Policy Science, recognise the achievements of outstanding young researchers in the sciences.
Melbourne’s 2007 Young Tall Poppies are Dr Murat Yücel (Psychiatry / ORYGEN Research Centre), Dr Stephen Turner (Microbiology and Immunology), and Dr Ben Croker and Dr Benjamin Kile (Medical Biology / Walter & Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research.
Dean of Science Professor Peter Rathjen, ‘Tall Poppies’ campaign ambassador in Victoria, says the awards recognise exceptional young scientists who have a passion for their work and for communicating it to society.
Dr Yücel was recognised for his work in cognitive neuroscience and neuropsychiatry; Dr Turner for research into how our immune system controls viral infections; Dr Croker for research into infection and heart failure; and Dr Kile for work in molecular genetics and haematology.
[Source: The University of Melbourne Voice Vol. 1, No. 16 15 - 29 October 2007]
Professor Anne Kelso (honorary staff member) awarded the Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List (June 2007)
Professor Anne Kelso has been given the award Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in recognition of her service to science (immunology) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List. The citation for the OA award also recognises her contribution as an academic and as a mentor.
Professor Kelso’s particular area of interest has been in the development and control of specialised functions in effector and memory T lymphocytes. and vaccine research. She is a graduate of Melbourne University and after her postdoctoral work at the Swiss Institute for Experimental Cancer Research at Lausanne, she spent 10 years at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research in Melbourne. This was followed by eight years at the Queensland Institute of Medical Research (QIMR). During her time there, she was appointed Director of the CTC-VT based at QIMR. In 2006, Anne was appointed Director, WHO Collaborating Centre for Reference and Research on Influenza based in Melbourne Health at Victorian Infectious Diseases Reference Laboratory. She has served as president of the Australasian Society for Immunology and secretary-general of the International Union of Immunological Societies and is a former or current member of a number of government, institutional and private sector scientific advisory committees and boards.
Three internationally outstanding researchers have been awarded prestigious Federation Fellowships to conduct ground-breaking research at the University of Melbourne.
They are part of a new round of 20 Federation Fellows announced last week by Commonwealth Education Minister Julie Bishop. The Fellowships, each worth around $1.5 million over five years, are funded under the Australian Research Council’s National Competitive Grants Program.
Melbourne’s new Federation Fellows are physicist Professor Tony Gherghetta (University of Minnesota), an expatriate Australian returning to Australia; immunologist Professor Bill Heath (Walter and Eliza Hall Institute); and nanotechologist and biotechnologist Professor Frank Caruso (University of Melbourne) who has been re-appointed as a Federation Fellow. They will join 15 Federation Fellows at the University.
Professor Heath is deputy head of the Immunology Division at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research. His research into the interaction between malarial parasites and dendritic cells could lay the groundwork for development of new and more effective treatments for human malarial infections.
He has received two prestigious international research grants from the US-based Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the latest a $400 000 grant for malaria research in 2005.
Professor Francis Carbone, a world leading immunologist from the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at The University of Melbourne, is one of two Australians to win a 2007 Fulbright Senior Scholarship. Professor Carbone will travel to the Scripps Institute, California, to conduct collaborative research into the role of cross-presentation in the immune responses to virus infection. He will be working in the laboratory of the world leading immunogeneticist, Dr Bruce Beutler.
Emeritus Professor Nancy Millis awarded the 2007 Clunies Ross Lifetime Contribution Award (April, 2007)
Recipients of the ATSE Clunies Ross Lifetime Contribution Award are selected solely at the discretion and consideration of the Board of Governors of the ATSE Clunies Ross Foundation, and the award given to a person who has made an outstanding contribution to the application of science and technology in Australia. Recipients are presented with a certificate and a 10oz fine silver medal created by the Australian Mint.
Professor Millis has made significant and broad contributions to science
through her research, leadership in government policy and initiatives,
and educating the next generation of scientists. A pioneer of the study
of fermentation technology early in her career, Professor Millis spent
three years at the University of Bristol working on fermentation of
cider and completing a PhD before joining the Department of Microbiology
at the University of Melbourne and creating the first applied microbiology
course taught in an Australian university.
She later became prominent in the emerging science of genetic engineering, chairing the Commonwealth government’s surveillance committees for 20 years from 1981. Professor Millis has also had a long association with the water industry, and has been independent chairman of the Cooperative Research Centre for Water Quality and Treatment since its inception in 1995. Dedicated to finding solutions to be shared across jurisdictions with common problems such as blue-green algae, water shortage and recycling methods, Millis is admired by colleagues for her ability to progress a complex agenda and achieve consensus among stakeholders with varied interests. She also currently chairs the Water Resources Strategy Committee for the Melbourne area, which was established to plan for the future of Melbourne’s water use for the next 50 years.
Professor Peter Doherty presented the 38th Halford Oration: PLAGUES, PESTILENCE AND HOW WE DEAL WITH THEM (Tuesday 1st August, 2006 )
The Black Death that ravaged Europe during the Middle Ages killed from one third to a half the population of many cities. The social consequences were enormous and, because we had no understanding of the nature of contagion, fear and prejudice were rife. Human beings paid a terrible price for the preceding centuries of ignorance and intellectual suppression. Over the next 500 years we turned away from the idea that the natural world can be explained by assertion and "revealed" truth, and learned again to apply the linked approaches of questioning and experiment that allowed human understanding to advance in Ancient Greece. Along the way we explained the nature of infectious diseases and triggered the Industrial Revolution that has led to the world we live in today.
Now, while we are living in a time of extraordinary opportunity, we are beginning to understand that we must correct some of our past mistakes. The application of hygiene, the development of vaccines, the discovery of antibiotics, and improvements in agriculture have led to an explosion in human numbers. There are six times more people on the planet than there were in 1800 at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. Forests are being cleared with extraordinary rapidity, soil quality is being degraded, the oceans are being fished out and we are losing biological species at an incredible rate. So far as the natural world is concerned, it would be better if human beings had remained mired in superstition, ignorance, and the early and unpredicted death that goes with those approaches to life. Now we are realising that, with the increasing evidence for global warming, we must take rapid corrective measures. We also perceive that there are threats out there, like the possibility of a severe influenza pandemic that we may find difficult to handle. However, these challenges also offer enormous opportunities.
If, as Australians, we decide to seek solutions to these global problems, we will at the same time lay the groundwork for great prosperity that is based on something other than digging this country up and selling it off. That will require education, communication, and the commitment of financial resources to the development of new and innovative technologies. It will require that we strengthen our universities and our higher education and research sector. It means that we must think out of the box and identify, then focus on, areas where we have great selective advantage and stand to make major breakthroughs. The future is our hands. There are great challenges. It is time to do away with the boredom of being relaxed and comfortable.
Assoc/Professor David Jackson awarded 2004 David Syme Prize (May, 2005)
Associate Professor David Jackson was one of two Melbourne University researchers to be awarded the prestigious David Syme Prize.
The David Syme Prize is awarded for the best original research work in biology, chemistry, geology or physics, produced in Australia during the preceding two years.
Dr. David Jackson was rewarded for creating a totally synthetic vaccine that is effective against viruses, harmful bacteria and tumours and could lead to a powerful new arsenal of vaccines for humans and animals. He is also the Chief Scientist at VacTX Pty Ltd, a company established by EQiTX Limited and the CRC-VT to commercialise synthetic peptide technology.
QIAGEN awards PhD students Rhys Allan and Angus Stock (June, 2005)
World-class research publications by Rhys Allan and Angus Stock, PhD students from the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, have been recognised by two awards, sponsored by life science company QIAGEN Pty Ltd. The awards were used to support travel expenses to the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) conference in San Diego, where Rhys and Angus presented abstracts of their work on the ways that T cells respond to viruses and how T cell immunity is generated following viral infection. Both students (who are supervised by Professor Frank Carbone) are first authors on papers published in prestigious journals - Rhys in Science and Angus in the Journal of Immunology.
The awards were presented by Mr Duncan Jones, Managing Director of QIAGEN, and Professor Roy Robins-Browne, Head of Department, at a ceremony attended by academic staff and students.
|Pictured from left to right : Mr. Duncan Jones, Professor Roy Robins-Browne, Rhys Allan, Angus Stock, Professor Frank Carbone.|
After attending the conference, Rhys and Angus reported enthusiastic response to their work and commented on the tremendous opportunity to discuss their research with leading international scientists from around the world. Both students are considering job offers from Institutes and Universities in London, Paris and Oxford.
The Department of Microbiology and Immunology gratefully acknowledges the contribution of QIAGEN in sponsoring these awards which we trust will be an annual event. QIAGEN provides innovative enabling technologies and products for the separation, purification and handling of nucleic acids and proteins and has developed a comprehensive portfolio of more than 320 proprietary, consumable products for nucleic acid and protein separation, purification and handling, nucleic acid amplification, as well as automated instrumentation, synthetic nucleic acid products and related services.
Major discovery in the fight against AIDS
A team of researchers, led by Assoc/Prof Stephen Kent have made a major discovery in the fight against AIDS - they have developed a novel, simple and safe technique for boosting the body's immune response to deadly viruses like HIV, which is even effective against drug resistant forms of the disease.
Dr Stephen Kent says the findings hold great promise for the treatment of HIV, other chronic viral infections, and drug resistant infections, which are becoming a major problem.
The researchers call the therapy Overlapping Peptide Pulsed Autologous Cells (OPAL). They have been awarded NHMRC funding of almost $500,000 to refine the technique so that it can be studied in humans.
Read details of the discovery:
Assoc/Prof David Jackson was interviewed about an "Easy-to-make Vaccine"on Radio Australia's Innovations Program (February, 2005).
Dr David Jackson (Assoc/Prof, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, The University of Melbourne & Program Leader - Cooperative Research Centre for Vaccine Technology) described how Australian researchers have created a totally synthetic vaccine that is effective against viruses, harmful bacteria and tumours and could lead to a powerful new arsenal of vaccines for humans and animals.
Read the transcript of the interview:
2004 IgV Conference "Best Speaker" Awarded to Postgraduate Student, Misty Jenkins
Misty's presentation entitled "Granzyme and perforin expression by influenza-specific CD8+ T cells" won her a travel scholarship to attend the national conference of the Australian Society for Immunology in Adelaide from 12th to 16th December to present her work.
World First Discovery by Researchers in the Dyall-Smith Laboratory
PhD student Mr David Burns, Dr Mike Dyall-Smith and others have successfully grown an unusual square-shaped bacterium found in salt lakes that has mystified scientists for a quarter of a century. Read details of the discovery at: http://uninews.unimelb.edu.au/articleid_1830.html
Departmental seminars are held every Monday during semester at 12 noon in the Woodruff Theatre.