Major NHMRC Program Grant unites Australia’s best HIV researchers

By Melbourne School of Engineering

Professor Frank Caruso from the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering is part of a team of leading HIV researchers that was last week awarded $16 million in National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) funding by Greg Hunt MP, Federal Minister for Health. The grant will support a five-year program to tackle priority areas in HIV prevention, management and cure discovery.

Doherty Institute-based University of Melbourne Professor Stephen Kent will lead the team of world-class experts in HIV, including University of Melbourne Professor and Doherty Institute Director, Sharon Lewin. (See below for a full list of Project Chief Investigators.)

Professor Kent outlined the three key areas of focus for the program:

“We will improve our understanding of how the virus persists in people living with HIV on antiretroviral therapy as a path towards a cure. We aim to develop a vaccine to ensure complete prevention. And we will study how HIV interacts with other common infections such as hepatitis B and tuberculosis.”

Professor Sharon Lewin added:

“HIV remains one of the defining health challenges of our time. Globally, there are 37 million people living with HIV, including 27,000 Australians, and there are close to two million new infections each year worldwide, which has a major impact on health systems and economies. It is fantastic to see this major program funded because it will advance our understanding of HIV, ultimately leading to significant clinical benefits for people living with HIV and for those at risk of acquiring HIV.”

About NHMRC Program Grants

NHMRC Program Grants support teams of the highest quality researchers to pursue broad-based, collaborative research addressing complex problems. They provide substantial, long-term, flexible funding to integrated groups of researchers with well-established track records of high impact health and medical research. They are awarded on the basis of recent past achievements.

Program Grants support research teams to:

  • contribute new knowledge at a leading international level in important areas of health and medical research
  • develop novel ideas and approaches
  • tackle problems for which longer term stable funding is essential
  • develop and implement training and career development opportunities within the team.

Chief Investigators for the Addressing the major challenges in HIV vaccine and cure research Program Grant

  • Professor Stephen Kent, University of Melbourne at the Doherty Institute
  • Professor Sharon Lewin, University of Melbourne at the Doherty Institute
  • Professor David Cooper, University of New South Wales, Kirby Institute
  • Professor Frank Caruso, University of Melbourne, Chemical Engineering
  • A/Professor Sarah Palmer, University of Sydney, Westmead Institute
  • Professor Anthony Kelleher, University of New South Wales, Kirby Institute
  • Professor Miles Davenport, University of New South Wales, Kirby Institute