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Researcher awarded Queensland International Fellowship

Dr Colleen Olive from the Queensland Institute of Medical Research (QIMR) has been awarded one of only 28 Queensland International Fellowships awarded in 2010.

The Fellowship, provided by the Queensland Government, is designed to strengthen the State’s global knowledge alliances. It provides funding for Queensland researchers to travel overseas and undertake a project with an international colleague.

Dr Olive, head of QIMR’s Immunity and Vaccinology Laboratory, plans to travel to the USA to expand her research into rheumatic heart disease.

“It is a great opportunity to expand my research collaborations and professional connections,” said Dr Olive.

“I want to thank the Queensland Government for providing funding for such important projects that allow Queensland researchers to liaise more effectively on a global scale, bringing Australian medical research onto a world stage.”

“I will be using my Fellowship to investigate new strategies to improve the effectiveness of vaccines. I am particularly interested in how to trigger the Toll-like receptors on dendritic cells, immune cells that are critical to kick-starting the immune response.”

Rheumatic heart disease affects 12 million people worldwide, killing an estimated 500,000 each year. Dr Olive’s research seeks to create an effective vaccine against the bacterium that causes this disease, group A streptococcus.

“This Fellowship will allow me to design and evaluate new types of vaccines that are tailor-made to specific pathogens, including strep A.”

The Queensland International Fellowships are awarded every year, with up to AU$44,000 awarded per fellowship. The amount depends on the project duration and covers return economy airfare for the Fellow and a weekly contribution of AU$1,000 towards the fellow’s cost of living for the duration of the fellowship.

Applications for travel in 2011 will open in late 2010.