Infectious Diseases

Head of the Infectious Diseases Program:
Professor Christian Engwerda

The COVID-19 pandemic highlights the devastating impact infectious disease can have on human health and society. Around 400,000 Australians are hospitalised each year with infections. Sadly, infectious diseases disproportionately effects our first Australians and people living in the developing world, especially young children. The Infectious Diseases Program at QIMR Berghofer works to develop drugs, vaccines, and prevention and education strategies against globally important diseases caused by parasites, bacteria and viruses.

Our specialist labs have an international reputation in malaria volunteer infection studies and test new anti-malaria drugs for deployment in the developing world. 

We have a distinguished history studying viruses and use this knowledge to develop new treatments, as well as cellular therapies for cancer and disease of the central nervous system.

We have a strong record in vector control and work on innovations in mosquito surveillance and measures to interrupt pathogen transmission, and deliver a strong helminth control program resulting in major public health gains.

Our dedicated scabies lab researches this neglected disease that excessively effects our indigenous population.

The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the capacity of groups within the Infectious Diseases Program to adapt their research to quickly tackle new problems. Over $1.6 million dollars from generous donors was allocated to various projects addressing pressing needs, including the establishment of a core facility to grow SARS-CoV-2 virus and test new COVID-19 drugs and vaccines.

QIMR Berghofer infectious diseases researchers continue to:

  • adapt our research to meet new challenges presented by established and emerging pathogens
  • develop innovative approaches to prevent, treat and eliminate disease
  • deliver knowledge and tools to improve human health and raise people out of poverty