Monash BDI researchers secure six NHMRC Fellowships

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Monash BDI researchers secure six NHMRC Fellowships

L-R: Professor Jian Li, Dr Tristan Chaplin, Dr Nitin Patil, Dr Kate McArthur, Associate Professor Stephanie Gras and Associate Professor Zane Andrews.
L-R: Professor Jian Li, Dr Tristan Chaplin, Dr Nitin Patil, Dr Kate McArthur, Associate Professor Stephanie Gras and Associate Professor Zane Andrews.


Six Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute (BDI) researchers have received fellowships in the latest round of National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) funding announced this week. This funding, totaling more than $3 million, will enable these researchers to continue their cutting-edge discovery research and ensure that Monash BDI remains at the forefront of innovative biomedical research in Australia.

With the support of their NHMRC Fellowships, the successful researchers will tackle a number of global health priorities, including cell death, antimicrobial resistance and ‘superbugs’, neurological disease, obesity, and viral infections. Monash BDI researchers secured three Early Career Fellowships, two Senior Research Fellowships and one Principal Research Fellowship.

Professor John Carroll, Director of the Monash BDI, congratulated the researchers involved.

“The success of these researchers is a testament to the high calibre of the research conducted here at the Monash BDI. Congratulations to all who were awarded NHMRC funding,” Professor Carroll said.

A full list of grant recipients is available on the NHMRC website.

Monash BDI 2018 NHMRC Fellows:

  • Professor Jian Li was awardeda Principal Research Fellowshipfor his research titled A systems approach to combat the significant antibiotic resistance challenge: Novel therapeutic strategies, mechanistic discoveries, and drug development. Antibiotic-resistant ‘superbugs’ are a significant global medical challenge. Polymyxins are the only effective antibiotics against Gram-negative bacteria, although limited pharmacological data are available for their optimal use. In the next five years, Professor Li will redevelop polymyxins and discover novel antibiotics against high-priority pathogens.
  • Associate Professor Zane Andrews was awarded a Senior Research Fellowship for his research titled Hunger-sensitive neural pathways influence appetite and behaviour. Hunger does more than just make us want to eat. Associate Professor Andrews will examine how and why hunger can also influence our mood, motivation and memory. This is important because inability of the brain to process hunger correctly can significantly affect behaviours that underlie anorexia and bulimia nervosa or food addiction and binge eating disorders leading to obesity.
  • Associate Professor Stephanie Gras was awarded a Senior Research Fellowship for her research titled T cell-mediated responses to influenza and Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infection. Influenza and HIV are major global health challenges. Associate Professor Gras’ research will identify why certain individuals are at high risk of viral infections and their associated complications, whereas others can combat and control the infection effectively.  Understanding the strengths and weaknesses of the immune system towards viral infection will provide astounding opportunities to design new therapies to control (reprogram or boost) the immune system to fight off infection.
  • Dr Tristan Chaplin was awarded an Early Career Fellowship for his research titled Unravelling the neural circuits that mediate visuospatial integration. When we move, our brains are bombarded with moving visual stimulation from the outside world. We must collect all this information and piece it together to form coherent picture in order to navigate our way around. To understand how this integration occurs, Dr Chaplin aims to unravel a neural circuit that links our visual and spatial perceptual systems. This will have important implications for understanding Alzheimer’s disease, which affects these brain regions.
  • Dr Kate McArthur was awarded an Early Career Fellowship for her research titled mtDNA release and novel applications for caspase inhibition. Mitochondria contain DNA (mtDNA) which, if it escapes outside the mitochondria, sends danger signals to our immune systems. mtDNA escape has been reported in many human diseases, but how it occurs and how it drives disease is unknown. Dr McArthur’s project will use cutting-edge microscopy to visualise the mechanism of mtDNA release, the understanding of which could impact a wide range of diseases, including autoimmune diseases and viral infections.
  • Dr Nitin Patil was awarded an Early Career Fellowship for his research titled Targeting pan-drug resistant (PDR) Gram-negative pathogens with novel antisense drug technology. Dr Patil aims to address the urgent global health issue of antimicrobial resistance through the discovery and development of innovative new drug technology that restores the activity of our existing antibiotics drugs, that bacterial ‘superbugs’ have developed resistance against. This drug technology will shut down bacterial resistance mechanisms at the genetic level, making antibiotic drugs effective again.

Congratulations to all of these researchers on their NHMRC success.

Period15 Aug 2018

Media coverage

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Media coverage

  • TitleMonash BDI researchers secure six NHMRC Fellowships
    Media name/outletMonash Biomedicine Discovery Institute News Letters
    Media typeWeb
    CountryAustralia
    Date15/08/18
    DescriptionSix Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute (BDI) researchers have received fellowships in the latest round of National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) funding announced this week. This funding, totaling more than $3 million, will enable these researchers to continue their cutting-edge discovery research and ensure that Monash BDI remains at the forefront of innovative biomedical research in Australia.
    URLhttps://www.monash.edu/discovery-institute/news-and-events/news/monash-bdi-researchers-secure-six-nhmrc-fellowships
    PersonsNitin Patil