Tag Archives: malaria

Fighting disease together

Malaria kills 500,000 people every year. And 90 per cent of those are children. Griffith University researchers are screening hundreds of thousands of compounds supplied by Japanese companies to find the right compound with activity against the malaria parasite.

Japan’s Global Health Innovative Technology Fund is supporting the research as part of their search for new ways to fight malaria.

“GHIT is a fund that invests in partnerships between Japanese and non-Japanese entities,” says BT Slingsby, the Executive Director of GHIT.

“Many of those entities are in Australia including The University of Melbourne, The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, and Griffith University.”

“Currently we’re working with companies such as Daiichi-Sankyo, Takeda, Mitsubishi Tanabe, and Eisai,” says Griffith University’s Vicky Avery. 

They bring those compounds to us. We then dispense them into plates which contain the parasite we’re trying to kill.  After they’ve been incubated for a period of time we then look to see whether they’ve had an effect in killing the parasites.

“Once one defines a hit, usually it’s the pharmaceutical company that drives forward the further development of that compound to create a drug.

“This collaboration is fantastic in that it has three groups who complement each other,” Vicky says.

The Japanese pharma companies bring expertise in drug discovery and development.  GHIT has managed to pull together significant funding from both global partners as well as the Japanese Government. And Griffith University brings the biology expertise.

Identifying the Bali bombers; testing for bird flu; and better selection of anti-malarial drugs

Testing for flu, malarial drug resistance, and identifying the Bali bombers are all outcomes of an Australia-Indonesia medical research initiative that begun in 1997 and continues today.

The original Australia-Indonesia Medical Research Initiative agreement between the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research (WEHI) in Melbourne and the Eijkman Institute for Molecular Biology in Jakarta was conceived and funded by the Indonesian Minister of Research and Technology and the Australian Government, and designed to boost the capacity of the Indonesian labs while enabling more transfer of ideas and skills between the two countries.

Continue reading Identifying the Bali bombers; testing for bird flu; and better selection of anti-malarial drugs

Australian Academy of Science Early-career Awards

Julie Arblaster’s climate research is helping to explain the climate of the Australian region, particularly the ozone hole, El Niño, the monsoon, and Australian rainfall variability.

David Warton is driving data analysis in ecology, making it a more predictive science. His tools are influencing statistics across science and industry.

Christian Turney has pioneered new ways of combining climate models with records of past climate change spanning from hundreds to thousands of years.

Maria Seton has redefined the way we reconstruct the movement of continental plates and contributed to studies on the effect ocean basin changes have had on global long-term sea level and ocean chemistry. Continue reading Australian Academy of Science Early-career Awards

A malaria vaccine target

Photo: Alan Cowman’s research may lead to a vaccine against the malaria parasite, which is transmitted by the Anopheles mosquito. Credit: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, US Dept Health and Human Services

A vaccine is the holy grail of malaria control. Alan Cowman, of Melbourne’s Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, has discovered proteins that are key to the malaria parasite’s virulence, and therefore a potential vaccine target. He’s been able to weaken live parasites by manipulating their genes. It’s the culmination of over 20 years’ research into malaria and won Alan a $50,000 Victoria Prize.

Photo: Alan Cowman’s research may lead to a vaccine against the malaria parasite, which is transmitted by the Anopheles mosquito.
Credit: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, US Dept Health and Human Services

Health check for live cells

Unhealthy cells are less “squishy” than their healthy counterparts. That difference is used by a small device developed by engineers at Monash University to test living blood cells for diseases, such as malaria and diabetes. The device can then sort the cells for future culturing and experimentation without harming them.

A simulation of a red blood cell being trapped and strained for measurement in the Monash device. Credit: Yann Henon, Andreas Fouras & Greg Sheard
A simulation of a red blood cell being trapped and strained for measurement in the Monash device. Credit: Yann Henon, Andreas Fouras & Greg Sheard

The patented “lab-on-a-chip” and accompanying control system has attracted considerable interest from pharmaceutical companies, according to co-inventor Dr Greg Sheard of the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. Continue reading Health check for live cells

Australian scientists elected to Royal Society

Four of Australia’s most accomplished scientists have been elected to the oldest scientific academy in continuous existence, the Royal Society of London.

PROF IAN FRAZER LAUNCHES THE CERVICAL CANCER VACCINE GARDASIL. CREDIT: UNIVERSITY OF QUEENSLAND

Prof Ian Frazer, Prof Alan Cowman, Prof Mark Randolph and Dr Patrick Tam join 40 other scientists to be elected to the Royal Society in 2011, which celebrated its 350th anniversary last year.

Continue reading Australian scientists elected to Royal Society

Women at scientific forefront awarded new VESKI Innovation Fellowships

VESKI – Victorian Endowment for Science, Knowledge and Innovation – has awarded its latest Innovative Fellowships to two outstanding woman scientists.

VESKI was established with a $10 million endowment from the Victorian Government to entice talented expatriates home.

Continue reading Women at scientific forefront awarded new VESKI Innovation Fellowships