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Monday, June 12th, 2017

University of Queensland sweeps $22.6m in research funding

The University of Queensland has topped the nation by securing funding for more research projects than any other Australian university in the prestigious Australian Research Council grants announced in Canberra on June 5, with 17 projects set to share a total of $22.6 million.

University of Queensland sweeps $22.6m in research funding

UQ has been awarded funding for more research projects than any other university in Australia

UQ’s exceptional honour roll includes two new ARC Australian Laureate Fellowships, 14 ARC Future Fellowships and funding for an ARC Industrial Transformation Training Centre for Innovation in Biomedical Imaging Technology.

The 17 grants have been awarded to UQ research projects spanning biotechnology, electrochemical energy, ecological impacts of cattle production, antibiotic resistance, cultural history, quantum systems, and atomic physics.

UQ Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Peter Høj said it was an outstanding result for UQ and again demonstrated the strength of the university’s research.

“UQ has been awarded funding for more research projects than any other university in Australia, and we ranked number two for total funding, with $22.6 million in grants,” Professor Høj said.

“UQ has won the lion’s share of ARC Future Fellowships funding, securing $12.1 million which accounts for 15.7 per cent of the total $77 million in grants.

“These results underscore UQ as the destination of choice, given that we have been awarded more ARC Future Fellowships across the life of the scheme than any other university, and it comes less than a week after our researchers were awarded $4.3 million for 12 ARC Linkage Projects.

“This is a real testament to the quality of researchers we have at the university,” he said.

“I’m delighted to note that six of UQ’s 14 new Future Fellows are women.

“There is also an excellent spread of Future Fellowships across UQ’s broad areas of research, with five going to researchers in humanities and other non-science disciplines.”

ARC Australian Laureate Fellowships have been awarded to Professor George Zhao, who is working to develop sustainable electrochemical energy storage technology, wastewater resource recovery expert Professor Zhiguo Yuan.

Professor Zhao, of UQ’s School of Chemical Engineering, will get $2.8 million over five years for research to develop next-generation energy storage applications based upon sodium-ion capacitors.

Professor Yuan, director of UQ’s Advanced Water Management Centre, will get $2.9 million over five years for research into bioconversion of methane into higher-value liquid chemicals.

“Professor Yuan’s work on biotechnology solutions through the cost-effective production of liquid chemicals from biogas could propel Australia to the forefront of sustainable resources research,” Professor Høj said.

The University of Queensland will have a new ARC Industrial Transformation Training Centre for Innovation in Biomedical Imaging Technology, backed by $4.7 million in ARC funding and an additional $1 million provided by industry partners.

The centre will train 20 industry-ready innovation scientists to tackle skills gaps in radiochemistry and diagnostic imaging in Australia’s medical technologies and pharmaceuticals sector.

The centre will draw together leading researchers and industry partners to develop novel diagnostics, therapeutics and theranostics for cost-effective diagnostic imaging and improved health outcomes.

Professor Høj said UQ’s powerful performance across the ARC funding projects was further evidence of the university’s commitment to supporting leading researchers and enabling them to create positive change.

Discover more about studying at the University of Queensland!

Monday, June 20th, 2016

Barrier Reef rodent is first mammal declared extinct due to climate change

University of Queensland and Queensland Government researchers have confirmed that the Bramble Cay melomys—the only mammal species endemic to the Great Barrier Reef—is the first mammal to go extinct due to human-induced climate change.

In a newly published report, the scientists conducted a comprehensive survey in 2014 but failed to find any trace of the rodent.

Barrier Reef rodent is first mammal declared extinct due to climate change

The Bramble Cay melomys (Photo: UQ)

The rodent was known only to live on a small (4 ha) coral cay, just 340m long and 150m wide in the Torres Strait, between Queensland in Australia and Papua New Guinea.

“Because a limited survey in March 2014 failed to detect the species, Bramble Cay was revisited from August to September 2014, with the explicit aims of establishing whether the Bramble Cay melomys still persisted on the island and to enact emergency measures to conserve any remaining individuals,” Dr Luke Leung of the UQ School of Agriculture and Food Sciences said.

“A thorough survey effort involving 900 small animal trap-nights, 60 camera trap-nights and two hours of active daytime searches produced no records of the species, confirming that the only known population of this rodent is now extinct.

“Anecdotal information obtained from a professional fisherman who visited Bramble Cay annually for the past 10 years suggested that the last known sighting of the Bramble Cay melomys was made in late 2009.”

Dr Leung said the key factor responsible for the destruction of this population was almost certainly ocean inundation of the low-lying cay, very likely on multiple occasions, during the past decade, causing dramatic habitat loss and perhaps also direct mortality of individuals. The cay sits at most 3m above sea level.

“Available information about sea-level rise and the increased frequency and intensity of weather events producing extreme high water levels and damaging storm surges in the Torres Strait region over this period point to human-induced climate change being the root cause of the loss of the Bramble Cay melomys,” he said.

Dr Leung said the fact that exhaustive efforts had failed to record the rodent at its only known location and extensive surveys had not found it on any other Torres Strait or Great Barrier Reef island gave him confidence in the assertion that Australia had lost another mammal species.

“Significantly, this probably represents the first recorded mammalian extinction due to anthropogenic climate change.

“However, new information is provided in support of a previously presented hypothesis that the Fly River delta of Papua New Guinea is a possible source of the original melomys population on Bramble Cay, so the Bramble Cay melomys or a closely related species might occur there. “

Dr Leung said it could be premature to declare the Bramble Cay melomys extinct on a global scale.

The study was led by Ian Gynther from Queensland’s Department of Environment and Heritage Protection and in partnership with UQ researchers Natalie Waller and Luke Leung.


Are you interested in studying climate change and other environmental sciences programs at the University of Queensland? Contact OzTREKK’s Environmental Sciences Admissions Officer Shannon Tilston at shannon@oztrekk.com.

Tuesday, January 19th, 2016

UQ asks: Could we build a Star Wars lightsaber?

Unless you’ve been living in exile on Dagobah, you’ve probably noticed that Star Wars: Episode VII screened around the world recently.

Many elements of the Star Wars franchise have become icons of popular culture: none more so than the lightsaber.

While the lightsaber is a fictional weapon, it is an undeniably ingenious invention—compact and lightweight with a hypnotising beam that can effortlessly cut through steel.

But what would it take to actually build one?

The University of Queensland’s theoretical physicists from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Engineered Quantum Systems (EQuS) explain the possibilities.


According to physics researcher Martin Ringbauer, the main problem with building a lightsaber is controlling a beam of light.

“You can’t just make a laser stop without it hitting something solid or being reflected back on itself with a mirror,” Mr Ringbauer says. “Light doesn’t like to interact with itself, so two beams of light would actually pass through each other—which wouldn’t be very useful in a fight.”

Even if a beam of light could be controlled, the next problem is generating enough energy in the small hilt of a lightsaber to power a laser.

“Currently, we have very powerful industrial lasers that can cut through steel, used, for example, in car manufacturing,” Mr Ringbauer says.

“We also have laser weapons which companies like Boeing have developed to shoot down drones; however, these are more like the size of trucks to generate enough power to fire the laser—far from a handheld weapon.”

How we are using lasers today

Using lasers in everyday life might sound futuristic, but physics researcher James Bennett says they  are actually all around us.

“These days everyone has lasers in their home for digital optical storage like DVDs,” Mr Bennett says. “And of course a lot of our internet is completely reliant on lasers.”

EQuS researchers are working to take lasers to the next step in fundamental research and market applications.

“We can use lasers to control atoms, how they move and what their energy is,” Mr Bennett says.“This lets us build very sensitive machines to measure local gravity, which would let us find resources in the ground, for example.

“What I’m looking at is using light to control vibrations, so we could heat or cool objects by removing or adding vibrations.”


Contact OzTREKK for more information studying science at the University of Queensland and about how you can study in Australia! Email Admissions Officer Shannon Tilston at shannon@oztrekk.com or call 1-866-698-7355 (toll free in Canada).

Wednesday, January 6th, 2016

UQ Alzheimer’s research among the world’s most talked about in 2015

Breakthrough Alzheimer’s research from the University of Queensland has been named among the world’s most talked-about research of 2015.

The Altmetric 2015 Top 100 tracks what people are saying about academic research online, on social media, in mainstream media and includes three academic articles featuring UQ authors among the top 50.

UQ science and research

Study at the University of Queensland

UQ Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Peter Høj said it was little wonder that UQ research using ultrasound technology to treat Alzheimer’s disease and restore memory was among the most talked about, at number 37.

“Globally, 46.8 million people are living with dementia, a debilitating symptom of Alzheimer’s, so it’s not surprising that the research sparked such international interest,” Professor Høj said.

“This work opens up new hope and a new approach for treatment of the disease in future, and carries with it the potential to change many lives for the better.”

The study—authored by Gerhard Leinenga and Jürgen Götz from UQ’s Queensland Brain Institute—was initially published in Science Translational Medicine in March 2015 and attracted 39 news stories, 17 blog posts, 954 tweets, 97 Facebook posts and Wikipedia references, among other hits.

Also among the Top 100 were two studies based on the Global Burden of Disease Study 2013 published in The Lancet in June (ranked 28) and August (ranked 36) which featured UQ researchers among a number of collaborating authors.

Professor Høj said the importance of not only sharing new research findings, but also generating global discussion around them, cannot be overestimated.

“The work that goes on inside a university is conducted with a greater goal in sight: to benefit society on a wider scale. It’s integral to ensure the findings make their way onto the global stage, where they can be of greatest benefit to the greatest number of people.

“If we’re not talking about it, we’re not aware of its implications, we’re not able to build on it, generate funding for it, and we can’t bring game-changing innovations to market nearly as fast.

“This is why it is imperative we continue to talk with the academic, scientific and wider community that will benefit from the research we are doing.”

This year’s Altmetric Top 100 features papers published in 34 different journals, with contributions from nearly 2,000 authors.

The most popular paper of the year detailed the discovery of a new antibiotic that inhibits the growth of a range of drug-resistant bacteria, offering hope for efforts aimed at combating antibiotic resistance.

The next most popular topics included a major study confirming there is no harmful association between the MMR vaccine and autism spectrum disorder, and environmental issues.


The University of Queensland is one of Australia’s leading teaching and research institutions, internationally renowned for its highly awarded teaching staff, world-acclaimed researchers and superior campus facilities and services.

Do you have any questions about studying science at the University of Queensland? Email OzTREKK’s Admissions Officer Shannon Tilston at shannon@oztrekk.com or call toll free in Canada at 1-866-698-7355.

Monday, November 16th, 2015

UQ attracts top ARC funding over five years

The Australian Research Council has given the green light to more than 100 University of Queensland research projects, and will back them to the tune of almost $42 million.

Cumulatively over the last five rounds, UQ has received more funding for Discovery Projects and Discovery Early Career Researcher Awards (DECRA) than any other Australian university.

UQ environmental sciences

UQ has received more funding for Discovery Projects and DECRA than any other Australian university

UQ’s combined result in these two schemes for 2016 also tops the country, with more than $39.7 million awarded.

UQ Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Peter Høj said this reinforced UQ’s position among the nation’s leading research-focused institutions, and recognised UQ’s excellence in developing the next generation of world-class researchers.

“Our consistent success in attracting competitive research funding is evidence of our high-calibre researchers and the direct relevance of their projects to solving pressing global problems,” Professor Høj said.

UQ attracted funding across three ARC schemes:

  • In Discovery Projects, 78 UQ proposals share a total of just over $30 million. UQ enjoyed a 23.56 per cent success rate across its Discovery Project applications, well ahead of the national average of 17.7 per cent.
  • A total of 27 UQ researchers share more than $9.7 million under the Discovery Early Career Researcher Awards scheme, with UQ a clear leader in Australia.
  • Three Linkage Infrastructure Equipment and Facilities projects were funded for a total of almost $3.3 million.

“It’s fantastic to see the breadth of research that will proceed at UQ in coming years as a result of this new funding, in areas such as engineering, social sciences, biochemistry and climate change strategy,” Professor Høj said.

“As a former head of the ARC, I know how tough the competition is, and how truly impressive the research proposals need to be to succeed.

“It’s a great delight again to congratulate a group of UQ researchers who have attracted funding for their work, which is independently seen as the nation’s best in their respective areas.”

Significant highlights of the funding announcement:

  • In UQ’s largest Discovery Project grant this round, the Institute for Molecular Bioscience’s (IMB) Professor Kirill Alexandrov secured $650,000, for a four-year project to develop novel, sensitive, inexpensive and flexible electric biosensors to potentially monitor any molecule.
  • Professor Mark Moran and Professor Jennifer Corrin from UQ’s Institute for Social Sciences Research secured $628,000 for a project to address how to better manage the flow of public finances and people across international borders.

The Institute for Molecular Bioscience and Queensland Brain Institute at UQ enjoyed success rates of 55 per cent and 50 per cent respectively for Discovery Project grants, reinforcing their position as leading Australian research institutes.


The University of Queensland is one of Australia’s leading teaching and research institutions, internationally renowned for its highly awarded teaching staff, world-acclaimed researchers and superior campus facilities and services. Email OzTREKK’s Admissions Officer Adam Smith at adam@oztrekk.com for more information about UQ research.

Tuesday, September 29th, 2015

Would you trust a robot with your life?

Trusting robots to relay a medical diagnosis was the focus of University of Queensland PhD student Teegan Green’s winning UQ Three Minute Thesis (3MT) presentation at Customs House.

As the winner of this year’s UQ 3MT Final, Ms Green from the UQ Business School will go through to the 3MT Trans-Tasman competition at UQ on Oct. 2, 2015.

UQ Business School

Teegan Green’s research focuses on tele-health technologies (Photo credit: UQ)

In a tightly fought contest, Ms Green edged out the runner-up and People’s Choice winner Shaun Chen from the School of Mechanical and Mining Engineering, who spoke about his research investigating ways to help international students in engineering.

Ms Green’s research focuses on telehealth, and why the use of common technologies such as phone, video conferencing and email is still an uncommon medium to deliver a clinical diagnosis.

“This is surprising because of the benefits that exist for patients, particularly those that are living in rural and remote areas,” Ms Green said.

“We need to develop more efficient, effective and scalable ways to decrease the tyranny of distance that exists for rural and remote patients, and better cater to our ageing population.”

Ms Green said her research showed that one of the key issues is trust.

“Trust is crucial to how we communicate,” said Ms Green. “Non-verbal communication makes up most of our communication in terms of facial expressions and body gestures.”

Ms Green says the challenge is the difficulty to incorporate into technology these non-verbal cues that facilitate trust.

“If we can already remove the doctor from the room, and from the same time zone, what happens when eventually we can remove the doctor altogether,” she said.

“I would like to thank my supervisors, Dr Nicole Gillespie and Dr Nicole Hartley from the UQ Business School, and Associate Professor Anthony Smith.”

3MT is a competition that challenges research students to communicate the significance of their projects to a general audience in just three minutes.

The concept sprang from the UQ Graduate School in 2008, and competitions are now run in over 200 institutions internationally.

The event was hosted by the ABC’s Steve Cannane and the judging panel included Queensland Chief Scientist Dr Geoff Garrett.

​As the winner of the 3MT UQ Final, Ms Green was awarded a $5000 travel grant and will challenge competitors from more than 45 universities across the Asia-Pacific in the Trans-Tasman 3MT Final at UQ.

UQ Graduate School Dean Professor McEwan said the 3MT competition was an opportunity to showcase the outstanding contribution that UQ research students make to their fields, as part of their training.

“Research students at UQ develop sophisticated research skills and can provide amazing insight,” Professor McEwan said.

“3MT highlights the value of research students being able to communicate their work to a variety of audiences, from government to industry, and to the people who will benefit from their research.

“These communication skills are vital for the development of a knowledge economy.

“Communication can speed the translation of great research and outstanding outcomes for society and business.”


Do you have questions about UQ Business School? Contact OzTREKK’s Australian Business Schools Admissions Officer Rachel Brady at rachel@oztrekk.com or call toll free at 1-866-698-7355.

Monday, September 28th, 2015

UQ rewards its excellent researchers

Research into areas as diverse as avocados, batteries and climate change has shared in a $515,182 total pool in the University of Queensland’s Research Week awards.

Six early- to mid-career researchers and two supervisors were honoured at UQ’s annual Foundation Research Excellence Awards and the Awards for Excellence in Research Higher Degree Supervision at Customs House.

University of Queensland

L to R: Joseph Powell, Penelope Sanderson, Ian Hesketh, Linda Worrall, Elizabeth Worrall on behalf of Alice Hayward, Danielle Shanahan on behalf of Richard Fuller, Zhongfan Jia, Bing-Jie Ni, Eve McDonald-Madden (Photo credit: UQ)

The awards were presented by UQ Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Høj and guest speaker Professor Ingrid Scheffer from the University of Melbourne.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Robyn Ward said the awards would help these early career researchers advance their excellent research endeavours.

“All of the winners show exceptional promise to become discovery leaders of the future,” Professor Ward said.

“These awards recognise that our early career researchers are pursuing important work and developing innovations that create change for people all over the world.”

The UQ Foundation Research Excellence Awards—now in their 17th year—recognise excellence and the promise of future success in research for UQ’s early- to mid-career researchers. The awards will enable the researchers to further their exciting research endeavours.

The 2015 winners

Dr Alice Hayward ($95,733) from UQ‘s Queensland Alliance for Agricultural and Food Innovation, who aims to create a biodegradable, non-toxic, non-GM spray to induce root formation in avocados, aiming to  help the industry meet growing consumer demand and make avocados more affordable.

Dr Zhongfan Jia ($79,283), from UQ’s Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology, who is developing a totally plastic battery to power future flexible and wearable electronic devices that is suitable and safe to dispose in the recycling bin.

Dr Bing-Jie Ni ($90,500), from UQ’s Advanced Water Management Centre, who is investigating ways to transform organic waste into renewable fuel, including developing an innovative platform for storing and transporting liquid bio-products.

Dr Ian Hesketh ($52,660), from UQ’s Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities, who is examining ‘Big History’, which brings together findings from astronomy, geology, biology and anthropology to place human history within the larger story of all life—beginning with the Big Bang.

Dr Eve McDonald-Madden ($99,796), from UQ’s School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Management, who is developing methods to detect when climate predictions fail to capture how the climate is actually changing. The research will contribute to saving plant and animal species that would otherwise go extinct as a result of climate change.

Dr Joseph Powell ($97,210), from UQ’s Institute for Molecular Bioscience, who is analysing genetic data to help understand how the mutations that occur in people’s DNA contribute to disease susceptibility. This knowledge could then be translated to clinical practice to improve patient care.

View all the winners’ videos.

The University of Queensland is one of Australia’s leading teaching and research institutions, internationally renowned for its highly awarded teaching staff, world-acclaimed researchers and superior campus facilities and services.

Email OzTREKK’s Admissions Officer Adam Smith at adam@oztrekk.com or call toll free in Canada at 1-866-698-7355 for more information about UQ research.

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2015

UQ tops Nature Index

The University of Queensland has again shown its global leadership credentials, ranking as Australia’s top institution and within the global top 100 of the prestigious Nature Index.

UQ was one of only two Australian universities in the leading 100 of the global index, which is associated with the Nature publishing group and was released June 18.

Australian research programs

UQ is one of Australia’s leading teaching and research institutions

The index rates institutions and countries according to the number and quality of research publications.

Australia placed 12th, with UQ leading the charge ahead of Monash University.

UQ Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Peter Høj said Australian universities had performed particularly well in the life sciences, with UQ being the strongest performer.

“This is a credit to our researchers and collaborators, and is also reflected in the increasingly successful commercialisation of UQ’s biomedical research by the leading commercialisation company, UniQuest,” Professor Høj said.

“UniQuest has raised more than $500 million to take university technologies to market, and has established more than 70 start-ups associated with UQ research.

“We call that ‘excellence-plus’ and it is evidenced by products such as the cervical cancer vaccine, Gardasil and spin-out companies including Spinifex, Vaxxas, Dendright and Protagonist.”

Professor Høj said the index also showed a large amount of UQ research was collaborative, with more than 70 per cent of published findings involving at least one collaborating institution.

“This demonstrates the importance of building and enhancing relationships with our national and international counterparts and is illustrated by our recent establishment of the Queensland Emory Drug Discovery Initiative with one of the world’s foremost developers of therapeutic agents, Professor Dennis Liotta of Emory University.

“Professor Liotta is one of the inventors of 10 drug combinations currently on the market, and it is estimated that over 90 per cent of current HIV patients have used one of these combinations.

UQ has many excellent life scientists who advance health benefits that improve the well-being of entire communities.

“By partnering with other great minds with diverse ideas and perspectives, they can produce even greater benefits for global society.

“Their success fits with UQ’s vision of knowledge leadership for a better world.”


Do you have any questions about research or science programs at the University of Queensland? Email OzTREKK’s Admissions Officer Adam Smith at adam@oztrekk.com or call toll free in Canada at 1-866-698-7355.

Wednesday, July 8th, 2015

UQ leads the nation for prestigious ARC Laureate Fellowships

Better drugs for chronic pain, building food security, and research into evolutionary diversity have attracted more than $8 million in funding for the University of Queensland’s latest ARC Laureate Fellowships, announced June 23.

The Australian Research Council named 15 new Australian Laureate Fellows, including three UQ researchers –  the Institute for Molecular Bioscience’s Professor David Craik, the School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences’s Professor Philip Hugenholtz and the TC Beirne School of Law’s Professor Brad Sherman.

UQ Law School

UQ’s latest ARC Laureate Fellows (L – R): Prof Brad Sherman, Prof Philip Hugenholtz, and Prof David Craik. (Photo credit: UQ)

UQ’s new Laureate Fellows attracted the largest share of ARC funding in the nation. The trio will share in more than $8.72 million over five years.

UQ Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Peter Høj said the funding showed the ongoing strength of UQ’s research.

“The Australian Laureate Fellowships are the most prestigious awards funded by the ARC and are highly sought after by the research community,” Professor Høj said.

“Even with an increase in applications of almost 30 per cent, UQ has for the second consecutive year come an equal first in the number of Laureate Fellowships awarded and first outright in ARC funding dollars awarded.

“I congratulate UQ’s 2015 Laureates who have succeeded in the toughest of competitions, and justifiably so. They are brilliant researchers who will use their fellowships to push the frontiers of knowledge and translate that research into outcomes that will benefit Australia’s society and economy.”

Professor Craik has been awarded $2.97 million for his work with cyclic peptides.

His program as an ARC Australian Laureate will aim to find a way to turn peptides, produced naturally in plants, into stable, protein-based drugs that can be taken in the form of an edible plant seed (bio-pill) and used to treat a range of diseases with fewer side-effects than existing therapies.

“This funding will help support talented young researchers in my group to translate their work into tangible outcomes,” Professor Craik said.

“Peptides (mini proteins) are creating much excitement in the pharmaceutical industry, and the work funded in this fellowship will help to realise their potential as ‘next generation’ medicines.”

University of Queensland Professor Brad Sherman was awarded $2.76m for his research in harnessing intellectual property to build food security.

His fellowship project will aim to maximise the benefits and minimise the costs of using intellectual property protection to improve agricultural productivity and food security in Australia and the Asia Pacific.

UQ Professor Philip Hugenholtz was awarded $2.98m for his research in microbial ecology and genomics.

His project on reconstructing the universal tree and network of life aims to obtain 100,000 genome sequences from uncultured organisms, so called “microbial dark matter,” and systematically organise them into natural evolutionary relationships to provide a comprehensive overview of microbial diversity.

“The framework developed in this project seeks to replace the current incomplete classification of micro-organisms to provide fundamental insights into ecology and evolution,” he said.

“We hope that project outcomes can be applied to manage risk and capture opportunities in important Australian industries including agriculture, mining and biotechnology.”


Find out more about the University of Queensland and other Australian universities. Contact OzTREKK to find out how you can study in Australia!

Monday, April 13th, 2015

UQ begins first human Hendra virus clinical trials

An antibody manufactured at the University of Queensland will be used in world-first human Hendra virus clinical trials starting this month.

UQ Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (AIBN) Director Professor Peter Gray said the monoclonal antibody m.102.4 was the world’s first antibody administered to humans as a treatment for the rare but deadly viral disease.

“Queensland Health contracted us to manufacture the antibody for emergency stockpiles and for the human trials,” Professor Gray said, explaining that the antibody was engineered to mimic antibodies the human body produced naturally as an immune system response to germs, viruses and other invaders.

“It is important to understand that the antibody treatment is not a vaccine, and it needs to be administered within a short time after exposure to the Hendra virus,” the UQ professor said.

The treatment is considered an experimental therapy and will only be used in emergency situations until the human trials have been completed.

There have been 52 recorded incidents of Hendra virus in horses in Australia since 1994, with 14 in New South Wales and 38 in Queensland. Ninety horses have died from the virus.

There have been seven human cases of Hendra (including four fatalities) recorded in Australia, all in Queensland.

Professor Gray said the AIBN had developed a method of producing larger amounts of the antibody without needing to reproduce any part of the Hendra virus.

The institute has produced the antibody for collaborators at the CSIRO Australian Animal Health Laboratory in Geelong for testing in animal trials.

Professor Gray said the antibody was developed through a long-standing association between Australian researchers and the US laboratories of Professor Christopher Broder at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences and Dr Dimiter Dimitrov of the National Cancer Institute, National Institute of Health.

“The US laboratories were able to synthetically produce a portion of the virus and create an antibody that specifically recognised it,” Professor Gray said.


Learn more about studying science at the University of Queensland. Contact OzTREKK for more information about science programs available at Australian universities and about how you can study in Australia! Email OzTREKK Admissions Officer Rachel Brady at rachel@oztrekk.com or call toll free in Canada at 1-866-698-7355.