Improving the health and wellbeing of people in the tropics


The Queensland Tropical Health Alliance (QTHA) Research Committee has recently endorsed eight exciting new projects that will significantly improve the health and wellbeing of people living in the tropics.


Development of novel therapeutics to control HIV-1 remains a pressing need. Associate Professor David Harrich and his team at the Queensland Institute of Medical Research (QIMR), in two QTHA-endorsed projects, are researching exactly how this virus uses specific proteins to facilitate infection and how, in turn, the host tries to regulate virus replication. The hope is that new ways to block HIV-1 will be discovered. Meanwhile, Professor Alex Loukas and his team at James Cook University are investigating how the worm parasite, Schistosoma mansoni - which infects 200 million people every year, can survive in the normally hostile environment of the human bloodstream. By applying innovative technologies, they have developed a promising potential vaccine against this important parasite.


Dr Jin Sun and Professor Nicholas Buys at Griffith University are assessing the impact for indigenous people of active engagement in community music activities.  Such socially inclusive activities may have a profound effect on health, wellbeing, with significant social and economic benefits.


Professors Peter Timms and Ken Beagley at the Queensland University of Technology are assessing the likelihood of the respiratory pathogen, Chlamydia pneumonia, crossing over from animals to humans.


QIMR researchers, led by Professor Andreas Suhrbier are studying the Ross River-like viral disease, Chikingunya, which is transmitted by mosquitoes in the tropics and is threatening to become established on the Australian mainland. At the same time, Doctors Tim Hurst, Michelle Gatton and Michael Creevey (QIMR), are developing a Queensland-wide web-based system for the timely reporting of surveillance data on medically important mosquitoes and mosquito-borne diseases like dengue, Ross River virus and Barmah Forest virus.


The Queensland Tropical Health Alliance is a world-class integrated network in tropical health and medical research focussed on the common goal of reducing the burden of tropical diseases. QTHA aims to improve the health of populations through excellence in research, training and strategic partnerships. Research is conducted within three broad programs including "Drugs, Diagnosis and Vaccines", "Indigenous Health" and "Disease Surveillance and Control".  The newly endorsed projects address all three of these programs.

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