The National Health and Medical Research Council awards celebrate health and medical research excellence, and were presented at an awards ceremony held at the Shine Dome in Canberra on 29 March 2023.
Professor Greg Fox won the 2021 NHMRC David Cooper Clinical Trials and Cohort Studies Award, and Professor Eddie Holmes won the 2022 NHMRC Peter Doherty Investigator Grant Award (Leadership).
The NHMRC uses expert peer review to decide on funding grants, and Professor Fox’s application was the highest ranked application within the 2021 Clinical Trials and Cohort Studies grant scheme. Professor Holmes’ application was the highest ranked 2022 Investigator Grant in the Leadership category.
Professor Emma Johnston, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) said, “Congratulations to Eddie and Greg on winning these prestigious awards, which honour their impact and leadership within infectious diseases research.
“Through their outstanding research tackling some of the world’s greatest health challenges, they are each making an important contribution to improving people’s lives. It is fitting that their work has been recognised and honoured by their peers in the health and medical research sector.”
Professor Fox’s project titled: ‘The FLIRT-TB study: A fluoroquinolone-based regimen to treat the commonest form of drug-resistant tuberculosis’ was the top ranked grant application in the NHMRC’s 2021 Clinical Trials and Cohort Studies grant scheme.
“Tuberculosis is an infectious respiratory disease affecting 10 million people each year worldwide. Resistance to isoniazid, one of the most important first-line antibiotics used to treat TB, leads to increased mortality and more advanced drug resistance,” explained Professor Fox.
“Drug resistant TB threatens to set back global efforts to control this airborne infectious disease. Isoniazid-resistant TB is the commonest form of drug-resistant TB in Australia and worldwide.
“We will undertake the first clinical trial to evaluate the effectiveness of new-generation fluoroquinolone antibiotics in treating isoniazid-resistant TB. This trial will be conducted in 54 clinics in Australia, Vietnam and Canada.”
Professor Holmes’ project titled: ‘A Metagenomics Platform to Prevent Future Pandemics’ was the top ranked grant application in the NHMRC’s 2022 Investigator Grant in the Leadership category.
“The COVID-19 pandemic highlights the devastating impact that zoonotic viruses can have on human populations. It’s imperative to build new platforms that can rapidly and accurately identify viruses with the potential to emerge and cause human disease,” said Professor Holmes.
“Fortunately, metagenomic sequencing represents a powerful frontline technique for the rapid detection of novel viral pathogens, and provides us with a mechanism for the next generation of disease surveillance and pandemic mitigation strategies.
“This project will provide the technological foundation for a global ‘pandemic radar’ for emerging human viruses, establishing a metagenomics platform of fundamental importance in the fight against infectious diseases that will help protect Australia from future pandemics.”