Through collaboration across UNSW and the Maridulu Budyari Gumal network, infectious diseases, inflammation and immunity research has the potential to facilitate research of greater impact, enhance education and training, harmonise clinical protocols and leverage economies of scale. The projects awarded 2020 Triple I Clinical Academic Group seed funding are substantive, cross-disciplinary initiatives that seek to answer contemporary and clinically relevant questions.  

Three projects have been awarded $75,000 in the most recent round of seed funding.

Mandeep Singh (Garvan/UNSW), Golo Ahlenstiel (WSLHD/WSU) and a team from UNSW/USYD/WIMR/ WEHI/Monash Uni receive the Maridulu Budyari Gumal Triple I E/MCR Seed Grant for a project entitled “An integrated approach to dissect the immunopathogenesis in coeliac disease by identifying lymphocytes going rogue”. Autoimmune diseases share a common pathological process that involve rare immune cells becoming “rogue” by escaping checkpoints and driving disease. Coeliac disease, an autoimmune disorder of the small intestine results from an adverse immune reaction to gluten. This project tests the idea that rogue cells acquire DNA mutations in critical genes allowing them to escape checkpoints and become pathogenic.

Philip Hansbro (UTS/Centenary Institute), Paul Thomas (SESLHD/UNSW) and a team from Garvan/UNSW/UTS receive the Maridulu Budyari Gumal Triple I Laboratory Seed Grant for a project entitled “Impact of bushfire smoke exposure on respiratory health”. The incidence of bushfires is increasing globally. Bushfire smoke (BFS) is a complex mix of inhalable particles, volatile organic compounds and carbon monoxide. People with chronic respiratory diseases (e.g. asthma, COPD/emphysema) are most affected by BFS, resulting in increased hospitalization. The impact of BFS is not known. This project aims to understand the harmful inflammatory effects of hazardous BFS.

Mark Hanly (Centre for Big Data Research in Health, UNSW Sydney) and a team from UNSW/Ingham Institute/SWSLHD/SESLHD/UTS/UNSW receive the UNSW Sydney Triple I E/MCR Seed Grant for his project entitled: “Open source modelling tools to support policy decision-making throughout the COVID-19 post-pandemic phase”. In the absence of a safe and widely available vaccine, governments face an extended period where they must balance practical suppression measures with the social and economic imperatives to reopen society. This project will provide policy-makers with a suite of decision-support modelling tools to compare COVID-19 suppression strategies. Accessible, robust, and flexible modelling tools will guide this effort.


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