Immunology and Infectious Diseases
The immune system has involvement in almost every facet of health and disease; inflammation contributes to heart disease and diabetes, cancers have to evade immune surveillance, and immune dysfunction lies at the heart of autoimmunity and allergy that are increasingly prevalent in western society. Infectious disease continues to confront human health and wellbeing on a global scale. Only an improved understanding of the mechanisms by which microorganisms cause disease will result in the development of diagnostic, therapeutic and preventative strategies to combat this threat.
Immunology and Infectious Diseases research at UQ produces high quality fundamental science and translational outcomes that contribute to both the Australian health system and worldwide health challenges. UQ boasts leading researchers including two Fellows of the Australian Academy of Science and two Fellows of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering. UQ’s exceptional quality was confirmed by the 2012 Excellence in Research for Australia exercise in which Immunology and Medical Microbiology research both rated at the highest level, well above world standard.
Success in translation is exemplified by Gardasil®, the human papilloma virus vaccine that is now used globally in the fight against cervical cancer with more than 97 million doses distributed in 120 countries at last count. The work has resulted in numerous accolades including 2006 Australian of the Year to Professor Ian Frazer, the Florey Medal, Prime Minister’s Prize for Science, Fellow of the Royal Society, Ramaciotti and AMA gold medals, Honda Prize (Japan) and the William Coley Medal (USA). The Nanopatch is another example of research translation into patient outcomes, promising to shift vaccination into a needle-free era. Invented by Professor Mark Kendall and his team, the Nanopatch has received numerous awards including a Eureka Prize, Rolex Laureate and a $15 million venture capital investment to co-found Vaxxas Pty Ltd to further develop this product.
In addition, UQ’s world-leading expertise in autoimmune disease pathogenesis, including genetics and immune tolerance, has led to major breakthroughs, including the development of a revolutionary antigen-specific immunotherapy for Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), in partnership with Janssen.
UQ has a wide network of national and international immunology and infectious disease research partners, most notably with the Queensland Institute of Medical Research (QIMR), a partner in the Australian Infectious Diseases Research Centre. The $354 million Translational Research Institute (TRI) brings together immunology researchers from UQ, the Queensland University of Technology (QUT), Mater Research Institute-UQ (MRI-UQ) and Queensland Health into a facility – for the first time in Australia – that allows biopharmaecuticals and treatments to be discovered, produced, clinically tested and manufactured in one location. Key international partners include Cambridge University, Sanger Centre, University of California San Diego, Institute Pasteur, and the Harvard Medical School.
UQ has built impressive infrastructure to support biomedical research in the last 10 years: this includes facilities for GMP manufacture, human trials, genomics, PC3 facilities for handling infectious agents, cell imaging, therapeutic development and vaccine development.
Immunology and Infectious Diseases research occurs at:
UQ has particular expertise in the areas of:
IMMUNOLOGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES IN BRIEF
More than 60 full-time equivalent researchers, with collaborators in fields including Clinical Sciences and Experimental Medicine
More than 760 publications since 2008
More than $83 million in research funding since 2008
Immunology and Medical Microbiology research both rated at the highest level – well above world standard – in the 2012 Excellence in Research for Australia exercise.
Highlights of UQ IMMUNOLOGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES
The Australian Infectious Diseases Research Centre (AID): utilising leading technologies to identify, understand and prevent infectious disease
The Translational Research Institute (TRI): translating the findings of basic biomedical research into better patient outcomes
The Institute is the outcome of the collective vision of 2006 Australian of the Year Professor Ian Frazer and Professor Derek Hart, former Director of Mater Medical Research Institute, together with clinicians and scientists from the Diamantina Health Partners, an integrated health sciences centre.
The Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (AIBN): bringing together the skills of world-class researchers in the areas of bioengineering and nanotechnology
The Institute for Molecular Bioscience (IMB): advancing quality of life through personalised medicine, drug discovery and biotechnology
The Immunology & Infectious Diseases at UQ brochure is available at: