Outstanding researchers: NHMRC 2017 research excellence award

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Two brilliant minds A/Prof Andrew Steer, Principal Research Fellow, and Dr Josh Osowicki, PhD Candidate, have been recognised for their outstanding work in infectious disease research with prestigious research excellence awards from the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC).

Andrew, who is Principal Research Fellow in the Department’s Centre for International Child Health and Director of the Infection and Immunity Theme in the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, was awarded as the top ranked applicant for the Career Development Fellowship scheme in the Population Health category.

Career Development Fellowships support Australian early to mid-career health and medical researchers. The award is given to the highest ranked applicant in each of the biomedical, clinical, industry and population health pillars of the Career Development Fellowship scheme.

Andrew’s research focuses on group A streptococcus bacteria (often called ‘strep’) and the skin parasite scabies, which are causes of disease in Australia and the Pacific region, especially in disadvantaged populations. His team will investigate new ways to test group A streptococcal vaccines, and will investigate large-scale population-based interventions for the control of scabies.

Josh, a PhD student in the Department, was awarded the Gustav Nossal Award, which is named in honour of Sir Gustav Nossal and his pioneering work in the field of immunology. It is awarded to the highest ranked applicant for an NHMRC Postgraduate Scholarship in the field of medical and dental research.

Josh's PhD project, the Group A streptococcal human challenge study, aims to create a safe and reliable controlled human infection model of GAS pharyngitis ('strep throat') by applying GAS bacteria to the throats of carefully selected adult volunteers, who are then monitored and treated in an inpatient setting. A successful model will be a much-needed catalyst to fast-track development of a GAS vaccine, providing new insight into protection against GAS infection and an arena for vaccine-challenge studies. His principal supervisor is A/Prof Steer and co-supervisor A/Prof Paul Licciardi.

Big congratulations to both Andrew and Josh for their outstanding achievements!

Paediatrics Research