Emerging Infectious Diseases and Travel Medicine

Research Overview

This group leads key research in emerging infection diseases, travel medicine and antimicrobial stewardship. This includes research preparedness platforms for emerging infectious diseases, biobanks and data linkage for infectious disease registries. Dr Thevarajan is the lead investigator in a prospective observational project in APPRISE, Sentinel Travellers and Research Preparedness Platform for Emerging Infectious Disease (SETREP-ID), that rapidly detects and characterise emerging infectious diseases by enabling in-depth data collection, biological sampling and bio-banking. The Platform was activated in the Pandemic with a prospective cohort of hospitalised COVID-19 cases. This collaborative research preparedness platform is funded by NHMRC and APPRISE (Australian Partnership for Preparedness Research on Infectious Disease Emergencies). It was one of Australia’s first research platforms to be mobilised for the COVID-19 pandemic and has led to one of the earliest publications in Nature Medicine in the immune responses to a recovering COVID-19 infected individual (Nature Med Thevarajan et al. 2020). The SETREP-ID protocol is aligned with the International platform, International Severe Acute Respiratory and Emerging Infection Consortium, has facilitated national groups including the Australian paediatric network in collaborative large-scale research and, has a well-characterised COVID-19 biobank that is supporting multiple COVID-19 investigator initiated studies. In addition, the group is involved with qualitative studies on health care workers approach to diseases of high-consequence (Viral Haemorrhagic fevers) and the impact of COVID-19 on healthcare workers.

More about Dr Irani Thevarajan

Dr Irani Thevarajan is an infectious disease physician based at the Royal Melbourne Hospital and Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity and is in the clinical and infection prevention pillar of APPRISE. In addition to clinical infectious disease expertise, Dr Thevarajan is part of the Anti-microbial stewardship team at the Royal Melbourne Hospital. Dr Thevarajan conducted her PhD in the epidemiology of influenza, dengue virus and japanes encepahlitis infections in travellers and following on from her PhD has been involved with research in emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases. She is the the principal investigator of Sentinel Travellers Research Preparedness Platform for Emerging Infectious Diseases (SETREP-ID) and has led the development of the research preparedness platform that is mobilised to capture early data in the context of a disease outbreak or pandemic. Dr Thevarajan is an Associate Investigator on a University of Queensland funded vaccine grant and MRFF COVID-19 immunological studies grant. She has supervised MPH students, scholarly students and speciality registrars for their college research requirements and published in widely cited journal articles in the area of emerging and re-emerging viral infections.


  • Dr Irani Thevarajan
  • Jennifer Audsley – SETREP-ID Project Manager
  • Barb Scher – SETREP-ID Ethics and Governance Manager


  • NHMRC and APPRISE funding

Research Publications

  1. THEVARAJAN I., …..Lewin, SR*., Kedzierska, K*. (2020) Breadth of concomitant immune responses prior to patient recovery: a case report of non-severe COVID-19. Nature Med. DOI 10.1038/s41591-020-0819-2. 122 cites. Lead author on one of the earliest publications in a premier journal in the immune responses to a recovering COVID-19 infected individual.
  2. THEVARAJAN I., Torresi, J., Simmons, C., (2020) Exploring the role of a recently licensed dengue vaccine in Australian travellers 212(3):102.  Med J Aus. Lead author in publication characterising the role of a dengue vaccine in this population and delivered key massages to healthcare providers that were aligned with ATAGI recommendations.
  3. Bialy, C.,…….RATNAM, I., Woolley, I. (2015)  International travel in the immunocompromised patient: a cross-sectional survey of travel advice in 254 consecutive patients. 45(6):618-623 Int Med J. Author in a publication on the diversity of travel advice and vaccine uptake in immunocompromised population.
  4. Heriot, G., Yeoh, J., Street, A., RATNAM, I. (2015) Echocardiography has minimal yield and may not be warranted in Staphylococcus aureus bacteremia without clinical risk factors for endocarditis 34(6):1231-1236. Eur J Clin Micro & Infect Dis. Senior author of the a practice-changing publication in bacterial infection associated high morbidity and high mortality.
  5. Huang, G.K.L… THEVARAJAN I., ……Druce, J. (2017) Prolonged Detection of Japanese Encephalitis Virus in Urine and Whole Blood in a Returned Short-term Traveler 4(4). Open Forum Infec Dis. An example of bed-side clinical practice to research publication of novel diagnostics in arboviral infections.

Research Projects

For project inquiries, contact our research group head.

Faculty Research Themes

Infection and Immunology

School Research Themes

Ageing, Neuroscience & Psychiatry, Critical Care, Musculoskeletal , Cardiometabolic

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact Research Group Leader Dr Irani Thevarajan

Department / Centre

Infectious Diseases

Unit / Centre

Emerging Infectious Diseases and Travel Medicine

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