Associate Professor | Group Leader | Senior Research Fellow+617 3845 3679
Associate Professor David Harrich studied Experimental Pathology at the University of California where he obtained a PhD in 1994 regarding HIV-1/AIDS research. Prior to that, he worked for United Energy Corporation (Redwood City, California) on a project to create a sustainable integrated energy farm.
Associate Professor Harrich was recruited by International Genetic Engineering Inc. (Santa Monica, California) to work on a project that developed an in vitro xanthan gum synthesis system. The xanthan was used to improve crude oil extraction from deep wells. In 1989 he began HIV-1, HTLV-1 and HTLV-2 investigations at the University of California in Los Angeles. These highly cited early studies focused on identification of viral and cellular proteins required for transcription of viral mRNA. His post-doctoral training at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in 1995 focused on the role of the viral Tat protein in HIV-1 reverse transcription.
In 1997, he relocated to Brisbane, Australia to become Unit Head of AIDS Research at the Sir Albert Sakzewski Virus Research Centre. As a Senior Research Fellow for the National Centre for HIV Virology Research, his lab discovered how the HIV Tat protein regulated viral DNA synthesis, discovered inhibitors of virus replication and laid the ground work and developed methods required to identify cellular proteins that regulated early steps in HIV-1 replication. He was recruited by QIMR Berghofer MRI in 2002 and was appointed Lab Head of HIV and Molecular Virology laboratory, and subsequently promoted to Group Leader in 2009.
His research discovered a potent antiviral protein called Nullbasic that was awarded a USA patent. Another focus of his research discovered a key cellular protein that regulates the HIV-1 reverse transcription. This world leading research showed that the eukaryotic translation elongation factor 1 alpha (eEF1A) directly bound to HIV-1 reverse transcriptase (RT). Importantly, small molecules that blocked eEF1A interaction with RT represented a new class of anti-HIV-1 inhibitor. In 2017, his research into dengue virus led to the development of a novel in vitro production system making dengue defective interfering particles (DIPs). This successful project demonstrated potent inhibition of all dengue virus serotypes using DIP technology. The DIP production system was issued a provisional patent and recently attracted an Innovator Award from the Wellcome Trust. The DIP platform technology is applicable to other RNA viruses such and Zika and SARS-Co-V2.
1994: PhD, Experimental Pathology, University of California
BA, Biochemistry, Molecular and Cell Biology, University of California