Thursday 19 August 2010

A multidisciplinary team comprised of researchers from UQ and the University of Melbourne was selected as a finalist for the Research by an Interdisciplinary Team category of the recent Australian Museum Eureka Prizes.

Spearheaded by the Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology’s (AIBN) Professor Mark Kendall, the team brings together researchers in the areas of engineering, materials science, imaging, virology, immunology, and vaccinology.

“The team is working to develop a cheap, easy to use, painless, needle-free nanopatch to rival the traditional needle and syringe as the preferred method for delivering vaccines into the human body,” Professor Kendall said.

“The needle and syringe was invented in 1853 and has not changed since – in fact it is not particularly efficient at delivering a vaccine payload to immune cells and as a result is inhibiting the development of more advanced vaccines.

“Our project, with its focus on targeting and delivering a vaccine to the immune cells just below the surface of the skin, requires an in depth understanding of the mechanical properties of skin, human immune responses, novel fabrication techniques and vaccine development to name a few.

“Without the expertise of Professors Ian Frazer (Director of UQ’s Diamantina Institute), Michael Roberts (Director of UQ’s Therapeutic Research Unit in the School of Medicine and Professor of Therapeutics & Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of South Australia) and Lorena Brown (University of Melbourne) and their teams it is doubtful that research would have progressed to its current stage.

“Unfortunately we did not win the Prize, but to be one of just three finalists was a great achievement, particularly in light of the high quality applications,” he said.

The Interdisciplinary Team category recognises an Australian research partnership, group or team for a ground breaking research outcome that has involved collaboration and integration between researchers from two or more unrelated disciplines.

The Eureka Prizes are presented annually by the Australian Museum and reward excellence in the fields of scientific research, innovation, science leadership, school science and science journalism & communication.

ENDS

Media contact Professor Mark Kendall 0431 162 391
 

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