In the News

QIMR Berghofer and UQ researchers awarded NHMRC funding to tackle world’s deadliest viruses


The vital contributions of QIMR Berghofer and University of Queensland scientists to the global research effort to combat some of the world’s most deadly viruses, has received a $6 million funding boost through recent NHMRC funding rounds.

The Global Virus Network Center of Excellence (GVN CoE) within the Australian Infectious Diseases Research Centre (AIDRC) was awarded over $6m in the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) research funding with 6 Ideas grants and an Emerging Leadership grant to progress research across SARS-CoV-2, mosquito borne viruses and future pandemic responsiveness.

“The award of funding for these projects is an extremely gratifying result and a testament to the internationally renowned virology expertise within the Center, and the extensive collaborative networks that the Centre has forged,” said GVN CoE AIDRC current Director, Prof Alexander Khromykh.

The Australian Infectious Disease Research Centre (AIDRC) is a multidisciplinary research centre linking research groups with expertise in virology, bacteriology, parasitology and clinical research at the University of Queensland (UQ) and QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute.

Professor Andreas Suhrbier, Head of QIMR Berghofer’s Inflammation Biology Lab and GVN CoE AIDRC founding co-director, explained five grants were awarded to progress various research projects on SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, several of which will use the Biosecurity Laboratory (PC3) facilities at UQ and QIMR Berghofer.

In 2020, as part of QIMR Berghofer’s global research response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Professor Suhrbier led a team that repurposed the Institute’s PC3 facilities, supported by generous philanthropic donations from Clive Berghofer and the Brazil Family Foundation. 

The GVN CoE AIDRC funded projects are:

Ideas Grants

Associate Professor David Harrich (QIMR Berghofer)

  • $815,219 Development of a defective interfering RNA based antiviral approach to treat infections by SARS-CoV-2 and emerging variants

Dr Leon Hugo (QIMR Berghofer)

  • $807,376 Mosquito-specific viruses: novel agents to control the transmission of arboviral pathogens         

Professor Alex Khromykh (University of Queensland)

  • $999,836: Predicting and preparing for the unfolding evolution of SARS-CoV-2
  • $783,516: How the synergy between flavivirus protein and noncoding RNA defeats antiviral response

Prof Frederic Meunier (University of Queensland)

  • $904,308: Targeting neuropilin in SARS-Cov-2 neuronal uptake and transport
  • $978,361: Investigating myristic acid as key mediator of memory via myristoylation

Dr Emma Gordon (University of Queensland)

  • $717,305 COVID-19-induced vascular complications: mechanisms and potential therapies

Investigator Grants

Dr Kirsty Short (University of Queensland)

$1,370,120: Pandemic-proofing our future by developing novel diagnostics and therapies for both severe influenza virus and coronavirus infections

About the Global Virus Network (GVN)

The GVN is a coalition comprised of leading virologists spanning 63 Centres of Excellence, 11 Affiliates, and 35 countries worldwide, all working to advance knowledge about how viruses make us sick and to develop drugs and vaccines to prevent illness and death.

No single institution in the world has expertise in all viral areas. GVN brings the best medical virologists together to leverage individual strengths and to focus global teams of scientists on key scientific problems.

The power of GVN lies in its global reach, the depth of its science, and its commitment to solving viral challenges facing the human population.