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Prized work from QIMR Berghofer researcher

QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute visiting scientist Dr Franziska Bieri has won the Research Australia Discovery Award.

The award recognises an early career researcher who has already demonstrated work of importance or impact.

While still a PhD student at QIMR Berghofer, Dr Bieri helped produce an animated cartoon promoting hygiene to counteract intestinal worm infections in rural China.

When the DVD was shown in Chinese schools, the parasitic worm infection rates halved in the Hunan province.

The work, led by QIMR Berghofer’s Professor Don McManus in collaboration with Chinese colleagues and scientists at University of Queensland, was published earlier this year in the prestigious and influential New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM).

“This is wonderful recognition of a highly promising young researcher,” Professor McManus said.

“As part of her PhD, Fransizka developed and trialled an education package, including a DVD called ‘Magic Glasses’ which was tailored for school children.

“Intestinal worms are one of the most wide-spread and disabling chronic infections, affecting more than a third of the world’s population. This work has the potential to help eliminate infections globally and we’re continuing to develop the program here at QIMR Berghofer and with our collaborators.”

The Research Australia Awards are an annual event recognising and celebrating achievements across health and medical research.

QIMR Berghofer also successfully nominated Rio Tinto for the Corporate Giving Award, in recognition of their ongoing financial support of the Rio Tinto Ride to Conquer Cancer.