Newsroom https://www.mq.edu.au/newsroom Macquarie University Newsroom Wed, 02 Sep 2020 22:05:54 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.6.1 Macquarie gains highest ever world ranking https://www.mq.edu.au/newsroom/2020/09/03/macquarie-gains-highest-ever-world-ranking/ Wed, 02 Sep 2020 22:04:27 +0000 http://www.mq.edu.au/newsroom/?p=47118 MACQUARIE UNIVERSITY RANKS 195 IN UNIVERSITIES WORLDWIDE

Macquarie University has been ranked among the top 200 global universities, with the announcement today of the 2021 UK Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings.

Macquarie University is now ranked 195th, and the result solidifies Macquarie’s position in the top one percent of universities worldwide.

THE World University rankings are assessed on five pillars, each of which represents a key area of higher education excellence: teaching, industry income, research, citations and international outlook.

“The result is testament to Macquarie University’s true research impact and global reputation,” says Vice-Chancellor Professor S. Bruce Dowton.

“We look forward to further building on our research strengths and continuing to provide far-reaching, transformative, and research-enriched learning experiences.”

The Times Higher Education World University Rankings was established in 2004 and is published annually. The rankings provide a list of the world’s best universities, assessed over different categories across core University areas.

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Two Macquarie University researchers successfully secure ARC 2020 Future Fellowship Grants https://www.mq.edu.au/newsroom/2020/08/27/two-macquarie-university-researchers-successfully-secure-arc-2020-future-fellowship-grants/ Wed, 26 Aug 2020 22:44:39 +0000 http://www.mq.edu.au/newsroom/?p=47115 Dr Simon Gross from the Faculty of Science and Engineering and Professor Stefan Trueck from the Macquarie Business School were both awarded funding for their projects. This is the first Future Fellowships funding for Macquarie Business School.

Australian Research Council (ARC) Future Fellowships reflects the Australian Government’s commitment to excellence in research by supporting excellent mid-career researchers to undertake high quality research in areas of national and international benefit.

Dr Gross is working on the next generation of fibre optics, to help create new, better optical fibre systems that can overcome the inherent limits that the massive increase in internet use has exposed. His research involves working on ways of enabling the vast amounts of data travelling though our land and undersea cabling, thus avoiding a capacity crunch that, with our reliance on the internet, could have catastrophic consequences.

Dr Gross says, “Capacity crunch and distortion of data on the internet is a big, and urgent problem. This grant will help to develop new collaborations, and just as importantly, train new students in cutting-edge photonics research areas.”

Professor Trueck will conduct research on the economic analysis of energy markets. He will examine the use of new financial products for funding clean energy and the transition of electricity markets from fossil-fuel fired power generation to a higher share of renewable energy. The research will help market participants to better ensure the long-term economic sustainability and reliability of the electricity sector.

Professor Trueck says, “The fellowship will allow me to spend a significant amount of my time on this important area and to work with an excellent research team and partners from academia, regulatory bodies and industry. I also believe that the project will help to answer key questions and provide solutions for some pressing problems in electricity markets.”

The University placed fourth among NSW universities for funding received in this round, seventh among this cohort for success rate, and fourth for the number of successful applications.

Macquarie University Vice-Chancellor, Professor S. Bruce Dowton says he was pleased to see Macquarie’s researchers acknowledged in this way. “This is important work, needed at a time which is particularly critical. This research funding has the capacity to impact the community and our nation directly,” he says.

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New Cochlear Chair in Hearing and Health appointed at Macquarie University https://www.mq.edu.au/newsroom/2020/08/14/new-cochlear-chair-in-hearing-and-health-appointed-at-macquarie-university/ Thu, 13 Aug 2020 23:32:51 +0000 http://www.mq.edu.au/newsroom/?p=47113 Macquarie University and Cochlear Ltd today announce the appointment of the Cochlear Chair in Hearing and Health. This co-funded role strengthens the existing partnership between the two organisations, enhancing the University’s position as a global leader in hearing research and practice, and supporting Cochlear’s goals to improve understanding of, and support access to, hearing health. The role is intended to develop a leading platform for further impactful public health research in hearing in Australia.

Professor Bamini Gopinath, an epidemiologist and a public health researcher, will take up the Cochlear Chair in Hearing and Health position at Macquarie University on 6 October. Professor Gopinath’s previous work has attracted substantial research funding to support important population health studies around health determinants and health outcomes associated with sensory loss and disability. Her internationally unique research has demonstrated the broad implications of vision and hearing loss for the health and functioning of older adults, as well as advancing knowledge of novel risk factors for age-related hearing loss.

“I am delighted to accept this role as inaugural Cochlear Chair in Hearing and Health, which I view as an exciting opportunity to work at Macquarie University Hearing and with a number of hearing health sector leaders like Cochlear as part of  strategic industry-academic engagement,” said Professor Gopinath.

“My vision is to create a national and international focus on hearing loss, and I hope to achieve this by bringing a different lens to hearing research with my public health expertise.”

Macquarie University Vice-Chancellor, Professor S. Bruce Dowton said the appointment demonstrates the strength of the partnership in driving real innovation that has the capacity to change lives. “We are delighted to support this initiative and welcome pioneering research that continues to positively impact hearing health around the globe.”

Cochlear CEO, Dig Howitt, said, “Hearing loss is one of the most prevalent medical conditions globally and one of the least treated. It is often overlooked in the public eye, getting little mention in political debate or the news. As the new Cochlear Chair, we believe that Professor Gopinath can help to uncover the true global impact of hearing loss and support policymakers to make decisions that underline the value of prevention and of effective treatments for hearing healthcare. We’re delighted to welcome Professor Gopinath.”

Professor Patrick McNeil, Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Medicine and Health, who oversees Macquarie University Hearing, said the Cochlear Chair in Hearing and Health will lead the Public Health and Policy Research Centre at the University.

“Macquarie University Hearing brings together capabilities from across the University to further enhance Macquarie’s reputation as a global centre for communication sciences research. Work within Macquarie University Hearing will be arranged into four pillars dedicated to Discovery, Hearing Innovation & Translation, Education & Practice and Public Health & Policy, the last of which we are delighted to say will be led by Professor Gopinath as the Cochlear Chair in Hearing and Health. We welcome her and look forward to her contribution.”

The Academic Director of Macquarie University Hearing, Professor David McAlpine, said that, “Bamini’s outstanding record in public health research, including hearing and vision loss, will ensure Macquarie University capitalises on its significant expertise, and that of its partners at Macquarie’s Australian Hearing Hub, in developing solutions to deafness and other hearing problems, including reducing the incidence of hearing loss over the life-course, much of which is preventable.”

 

-ENDS-

 

About Macquarie University

Founded more than 50 years ago to offer students, staff and partners a more flexible alternative to the prevailing university model, Macquarie University is now reaping the rewards of its innovative, interdisciplinary approach. Macquarie is widely regarded as a progressive institution, both locally and internationally. Ranked among the top one per cent of universities in the world, and with a 5-star QS rating, the University is considered one of the world’s best, producing highly sought-after graduates. With a strong tradition in pioneering thinking, ingenuity and exploration, Macquarie University continues to break new ground as it works to solve some of the world’s most pressing issues to build a positive future for all. www.mq.edu.au 

About Cochlear Limited (ASX: COH)

Cochlear is the global leader in implantable hearing solutions. The company has a global workforce of more than 4,000 people and invests more than AUD$180 million each year in research and development. Products include cochlear implants, bone conduction implants and acoustic implants, which healthcare professionals use to treat a range of moderate to profound types of hearing loss.

Since 1981, Cochlear has provided more than 600,000 implantable devices, helping people of all ages, in more than 180 countries, to hear. www.cochlear.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Study to look at Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander healing programs that respond to family, domestic and sexual violence https://www.mq.edu.au/newsroom/2020/08/04/study-to-look-at-aboriginal-and-torres-strait-islander-healing-programs-that-respond-to-family-domestic-and-sexual-violence/ Tue, 04 Aug 2020 02:12:49 +0000 http://www.mq.edu.au/newsroom/?p=47108 The effectiveness of ‘trauma-informed care’ and healing programs will be at the forefront of a new research project studying Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander family and domestic violence and sexual assault (FDVSA) programs.

The new project, a partnership between Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety (ANROWS) and researchers from the Department of Indigenous Studies at Macquarie University, will map and analyse “what works” in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander healing programs that respond to FDVSA nationally.

In recent years there has been considerable inquiry into the cause and impact of family, domestic and sexual violence in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. However, many researchers have assumed that the factors involved are the same as those driving violence against women in the non-Indigenous population.

“Research now shows that violence experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women should also be understood in the context of the continued trauma of colonisation,” said Professor Bronwyn Carlson, Head of Macquarie University’s Department of Indigenous Studies.

The new project, led by Professor Carlson, will examine programs and initiatives that use a trauma-informed approach to healing, often known as healing programs.

“ the ongoing trauma of colonisation experienced Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people,”  continued Professor Carlson. “Trauma manifests itself in many ways but includes internalising feelings of shame. There is a lot of unresolved pain and dysfunction that impacts families and children, resulting in what is commonly referred to as intergenerational trauma”.

“This is the context in which we have to understand domestic, family, and sexual violence experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. It’s a context of both historical and ongoing colonial violence.”

This study will build a better understanding of how healing programs reduce FDVSA in this context. While a number of studies have evaluated “what works” in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander healing programs across the nation, this is the first study with a specific focus on healing programs that respond to FDVSA. “Importantly, it will also expand the evidence base for the development of trauma-aware, healing-informed policy and practice” said ANROWS CEO Dr Heather Nancarrow.

The research team will investigate these programs by administering a national survey of healing programs as well as 13 in-depth case studies, to explore how trauma-informed practices are implemented, the strengths and challenges of the programs, and their outcomes and impacts.

Each case study will include yarning circles with service staff and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, including LGBTQIA+ women and those with disability. In some locations there will also be a yarning circle for men.

The project will be guided by a Knowledge Circle of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander experts and leaders in the field, including members from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander healing and FDVSA peak bodies.

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Dementia researchers discover world-first gene therapy that could potentially reverse memory loss from Alzheimer’s in humans https://www.mq.edu.au/newsroom/2020/07/30/dementia-researchers-discover-world-first-gene-therapy-that-could-potentially-reverse-memory-loss-from-alzheimers-in-humans/ Thu, 30 Jul 2020 00:04:09 +0000 http://www.mq.edu.au/newsroom/?p=47104  

Researchers from Macquarie University have discovered a world-first new treatment that reverses the effects of memory loss associated with Alzheimer’s disease in a study of mice with advanced dementia.

The research, co-led by two brothers, Dr Arne Ittner and Professor Lars Ittner, from Macquarie University Dementia Research Centre, builds on their work begun in 2016 involving a ground-breaking gene therapy which uses an enzyme that is naturally present in the brain, known as p38gamma.

The researchers found that p38gamma, when activated, can modify a protein such that it prevents the development of Alzheimer’s disease symptoms.

This latest finding, published in the September edition of the journal, Acta Neuropathologica, has gone a step further and showed that the gene actually improved or restored much of the memory in advanced Alzheimer mice. Importantly, their findings also suggest that the gene therapy may be effective in other forms of dementia, including frontotemporal dementia which presents in much younger patients in their 40s and 50s.

Gene therapy is a process whereby genetic material is introduced into cells to replace abnormal genes or to make a beneficial protein.

Professor Lars Ittner, who is the Director of the Dementia Research Centre at Macquarie University, says, “When we set out to develop this gene therapy we expected it to halt progression of dementia, but we were not expecting to see that it not only halts it, it completely reverted the memory loss that was already there when we started therapy.”

The team showed furthermore that the gene therapy is safe even at high doses and when applied long term, with no adverse events observed during the study.

Dr Arne Ittner, a lead author on the study, explains, “We need a better understanding of what happens to the molecules in the brain during dementia. Our work delivers a very powerful piece in this puzzle.”

The next step will be to transition to testing safety and efficacy in humans. Macquarie University is currently undertaking a detailed assessment of the development and regulatory pathway required to evaluate the gene therapy in human patients. Partnerships with potential investors and pharmaceutical partners are also being actively explored.

“It will be exciting to see how over 10 years of basic research to understand the mechanisms of Alzheimer’s disease will finally transition into clinical development to eventually benefit those most in need, people living with dementia,” Professor Lars Ittner said.

“This provides hope, as there is a lot of therapy out there focussed on prevention, but not much for those already affected by the disease.”

The two researchers predict that possible success of this new therapy could be within reach of humans in less than 10 years, “This could even be as close as a five year timeline for us to see the success we have seen in mice.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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NOVEL INSECTICIDES OFFER SUSTAINABLE OPTIONS FOR FRUIT FLY CONTROL https://www.mq.edu.au/newsroom/2020/07/28/novel-insecticides-offer-sustainable-options-for-fruit-fly-control/ Tue, 28 Jul 2020 02:49:49 +0000 http://www.mq.edu.au/newsroom/?p=47102 Pesticides are an important tool for managing horticultural pests, but to be sustainable their use must be offset against their negative impacts. Researchers at Macquarie University’s Applied BioSciences and Department of Molecular Sciences are tackling this challenge by working to develop novel pesticides which offer effective but softer options compared to their counterparts.

A key challenge for pesticide use is the unintended or off target impact upon insects, animals, plants, growers, and consumers. In practice one method of managing this is by using an insect lure or bait and a pesticide in combination. While this offers a more targeted approach and reduces adverse activity such as blanket spraying it can still have safety or effectiveness issues.

In a study published recently in the Journal of Pest Science researcher Dr Soo Park investigated the derivatives of  benzyl acetone. Benzyl acetone has a common structural feature with both cuelure and melolure, which are well-known non-toxic plant-based attractants of many pest species of fruit fly, including one of Australia’s most significant horticultural pests the Queensland fruit fly (Qfly).

Queensland fruit fly. Image by Wikipedia Commons

Queensland fruit fly. Image by Wikipedia Commons

Taking a lead from earlier work conducted with methyl eugenol, another plant based attractant, and oriental fruit flies, Dr Park theorized that incorporating the element fluorine with benzyl acetone may result in a compound which was both attractive to Qfly and toxic to them as well.

In an outdoor field cage experiment Dr Park assessed nine benzyl acetone compounds along with cuelure, and melolure to determine their attractiveness and toxicity to Qfly. Amazingly six of the compounds tested proved to be acute toxins and were as attractive to male Qfly as cuelure and melolure over the tested range.

Whilst further study will be needed to determine the mode of action and to better understand the pesticide properties, this range of new compounds may offer a class of pesticide which is attractive and toxic to fruit flies but with low toxicity to mammals. This is certainly a step forward in reducing off-target impact, limiting health risks and offering a more sustainable pesticide solution to one of Australia’s most significant horticultural pests.

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One for the ages: intergenerational program to preserve local memories https://www.mq.edu.au/newsroom/2020/07/24/one-for-the-ages-intergenerational-program-to-preserve-local-memories/ Fri, 24 Jul 2020 04:29:50 +0000 http://www.mq.edu.au/newsroom/?p=47100 A new research collaboration is bringing young and old together to discover how Australian culture, history, and identity are passed down through generations.

Macquarie University has partnered with Hunter’s Hill Council and Touched by Olivia, a charity that creates inclusive play spaces, for the ‘intergenerational remembering’ project.

As part of a five-year partnership, researchers will invite residents over 60 to exchange memories and historical knowledge with local adolescents, and will investigate the benefits of these conversations for both groups in reducing social isolation and creating community connections.

Lead researcher Dr Penny Van Bergen, Associate Professor in the Macquarie School of Education, studies how children and adolescents develop memory and emotion skills in conversations with others, and how parents, families, and educators reminisce with children and adolescents about the past.

“We’ve long predicted the positive benefits of intergenerational programs such as this,” Associate Professor Van Bergen says.

“Older adults have the opportunity to share memories and lessons from their lives with young people, while the younger generation have the opportunity to learn about the rich diversity of Australian history and society from those who have lived it.

“We’re eager to see what happens when we test these benefits. This really is a pioneering program, working with fabulous organisations, and we’re hoping in time it might have benefits for groups across Australia.”

Other academic collaborators include Associate Professor Tanya Evans and Professor Amanda Barnier from Macquarie University, and Dr Celia Harris from Western Sydney University.

Hunter’s Hill Mayor Mark Bennett says the council looks forward to better understanding, assisting and recording the special connections between older and younger residents.

“Through innovative collaborations such as this we are also seeking to meet the challenge of finding more effective and meaningful ways to connect people to address social isolation, which we have seen impacting upon very young and very old residents here in Hunters Hill,” he says.

John Perkins, director and co-founder of Touched by Olivia says: “In current times, we are looking forward to exploring ways in which we can help activate communities virtually, via technology, to help those that are socially isolated.”

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Macquarie University and GenesisCare announce research partnership to investigate the management of secondary lymphoedema in cancer patients https://www.mq.edu.au/newsroom/2020/07/20/macquarie-university-and-genesiscare-announce-research-partnership-to-investigate-the-management-of-secondary-lymphoedema-in-cancer-patients/ Mon, 20 Jul 2020 06:53:45 +0000 http://www.mq.edu.au/newsroom/?p=47097 The Australian Lymphoedema Education, Research and Treatment (ALERT) program at Macquarie University and leading radiation oncology provider, GenesisCare, have announced a new joint research partnership to investigate the risks and management of lymphoedema in cancer patients.

The new partnership will see GenesisCare and ALERT work collaboratively to co-design evidence-based protocols to identify and manage cancer patients at risk of lymphoedema.

Lymphoedema is the accumulation of excessive amounts of protein-rich fluid which results in the swelling of one or more regions of the body. Secondary lymphoedema can occur after treatment for cancer, when lymph nodes are either removed from the body by surgery or damaged by radiotherapy, stopping the lymph fluid from flowing freely through the lymphatic system.

At least 20 per cent of survivors from breast, gynaecological, prostate cancer and melanoma will experience secondary lymphoedema.1

Louise Koelmeyer, Director of the Australian Lymphoedema Education, Research and Treatment (ALERT) program at Macquarie University, said, “Over the last decade, we have seen a substantial increase in the number of cancer survivors which is absolutely fantastic, however as a result we are beginning to see some of the long-term side effects associated with different treatment therapies.”

“We are incredibly excited to be partnering with GenesisCare to develop evidence-based protocols which will allow us to better identify and manage cancer patients at risk of lymphoedema.”

“Early detection of subclinical lymphoedema can significantly improve patient outcomes and prevent the development of established lymphoedema, which can be mentally and physically burdensome for many patients.”

The ALERT Program is a flagship program for Macquarie University’s Faculty of Medicine, Health and Human Sciences.

As part of the research partnership, education materials will be developed for GenesisCare clinicians and for patients regarding lifestyle risk factors for lymphoedema, and the importance of exercise, skin and wound care.

Macquarie University’s Professor Roger Chung, said, “We are delighted to support the collaboration between ALERT and GenesisCare, which will deliver valuable evidence-based treatment that will improve the recovery journey for cancer survivors who are at risk of developing lymphoedema. This partnership delivers upon the mission of MQ Health, by delivering multidisciplinary patient-focused care that is underpinned by the integration of high-quality education and research.”

A designated research assistant at ALERT will work alongside the GenesisCare clinical team to create a risk screening assessment framework for early detection of lymphoedema and develop early intervention and management principles which will then be rolled out at GenesisCare centres across the country.

The initial focus of the partnership will be to investigate the incidence and management of lymphoedema in non-melanomatous widespread skin cancer.

Dr Chelsie O’Connor, Radiation Oncologist at GenesisCare Macquarie University, said, “GenesisCare is proud to be partnering with ALERT to develop a comprehensive care model and evidence-based protocols which will be rolled out across our entire network, both here in Australia and internationally.”

“This national research partnership is the first of its kind in Australia and will draw on the combined expertise of multiple clinical disciplines, including occupational therapy, physiotherapy, nursing, radiation oncology and primary care medicine.

“As a radiation oncologist, my number one priority is ensuring the best possible quality of life and treatment outcomes for my patients, and I’m delighted to be working alongside the team at ALERT to develop a new model for best practice in lymphoedema management.”

-Ends-

References

  1. Cancer Council 2019, After cancer treatment: lymphoedema, viewed March 2020,< https://www.cancer.org.au/about-cancer/after-treatment/lymphoedema.html>

 About GenesisCare in New South Wales:

GenesisCare has been providing high quality oncology services in NSW for more than 10 years. More than 200 doctors, nurses, engineers, physicists, radiation therapists and practice support team members deliver radiation therapy and medical oncology at nine locations across the state: St Vincent’s Clinic, Macquarie Hospital, Mater Hospital, Newcastle, Hurstville, Concord, Kingswood, St Leonards and Frenchs Forest. In the coming year, GenesisCare in NSW will also expand its comprehensive cancer care services, including theranostics and medical oncology, and world-class technology including an MR Linac.

 

 

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Macquarie University moves up in the Golden Age University Rankings ranked 24 out of 100 globally https://www.mq.edu.au/newsroom/2020/07/09/macquarie-university-moves-up-in-the-golden-age-university-rankings-ranked-24-out-of-100-globally/ Thu, 09 Jul 2020 05:38:28 +0000 http://www.mq.edu.au/newsroom/?p=47093 Macquarie University has been ranked 24 out of 100 Universities around the world in the 2020 UK Times Higher Education (THE) Golden Age University Rankings.

Macquarie University has moved up 9 spots in THE Golden Age University Rankings, previously ranked 33 out of 100 universities globally in 2019.

The Golden Age ranking uses Times Higher Education data to cast a spotlight on the best universities established for more than 50 years, but less than 80 years. THE “Golden Age” rankings are assessed on five Pillars, each of which represents a key area of higher education excellence: teaching, industry income, research, citations and international outlook.

Professor David Wilkinson, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Engagement said it was exciting to see that Macquarie University has moved up in the rankings, now ranked 24 in the world:

“In a period where the global University sector is being tested more than ever during this pandemic, it is excellent to see that our teaching, academic and professional staff at Macquarie University continue to deliver an outstanding level of education, research and ongoing support to our students during such uncertain times.

Even though international rankings only represent one way of assessing a university’s performance, we are pleased with the acknowledgement that Macquarie’s global standing and reputation is reflecting our strengths in research, international appeal and industry engagement.

Macquarie University is committed to being an exceptional, globally recognised university, and these results signify our achievements in doing so.”

The Times Higher Education “Golden Age” ranking was established between 1945 and 1967. The Golden Age ranking uses Times Higher Education data to cast a spotlight on the best universities established for more than 50 years, but less than 80 years. The ranking takes its name from what was a Golden Age in global higher education, characterised by rapid university expansion and increasing investment in research.

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Call for immunology to return to the wild https://www.mq.edu.au/newsroom/2020/07/03/call-for-immunology-to-return-to-the-wild/ Fri, 03 Jul 2020 05:38:50 +0000 http://www.mq.edu.au/newsroom/?p=47090 In an article just published in Science, a multidisciplinary research team from more than 10 universities and research institutes outlines how integrating a more diverse set of species and environments could enhance the biomedical research cycle.

The viruses that cause COVID-19, AIDS, Ebola, and rabies – among others – all made the lethal jump from wildlife into humans. Understanding how the immune system works in animals that live with coronaviruses in a natural environment, such as bats, can give us direction for developing treatments and vaccines to protect humans from viruses.

Lead author, Dr Andrew Flies from the Menzies Institute for Medical Research at the University of Tasmania, says this is not a new concept.

“The very first vaccine arose from observing people interacting with animals in a real-world environment. Specifically, milkmaids who acquired a mild cowpox infection from cows were protected from the deadly smallpox. That observation led to the idea of inoculating people with non-lethal viruses to protect them from deadly viruses. This type of discovery can only be made by studying new species in variable environments.”

Research on camels revealed a new class of antibodies. Image courtesy of Wikipedia Commons.

Research on camels revealed a new class of antibodies. Image courtesy of Wikipedia Commons

Modern research relies heavily on mouse experiments in laboratory settings, which limits the scope for this type of ground-breaking discovery. For example, a new class of antibodies, often referred to as nanobodies, was discovered in camels. Easier and faster to make than traditional antibodies used in biomedicine, camel-derived nanobodies are playing an important role in biomedical research, including the global COVID-19 response. This shows how stepping out of the lab and studying new species can yield large long-term payoffs.

“We are really excited to see how our initial group discussions held at the first Australian Wild and Comparative Immunology (WACI) workshop led to publishing a Perspective article in a world leading journal”, says co-author Dr Jérôme Le Nours,  from the Biomedicine Discovery Institute at Monash University, a co-organiser of the WACI meeting.

“There are many excellent wildlife and disease ecologists, veterinarian scientists and immunologists in Australia, and beyond. We hope that our contribution will inspire them to seek mutually beneficial, inter-disciplinary collaboration” says Anne Peters, Monash University, co-author and consortium collaborator.

WACI Consortium collaborator and co-author, Associate Professor Julie Old from Western Sydney University, says it’s important for immunology research to include more diverse species. “If we want to evolve our understanding of the immune system, and potentially get ahead of any future pandemics, the research community needs to expand. We need to broaden our scope, and bring new species and new environments into the re­search paradigm.”

‘‘Realising wild immunology needs initiatives like the WACI Consortium that harness the wide expertise of scientists and diverse technologies within individual areas’ says Associate Professor Michelle Power from Macquarie University. “The risks of emerging infectious diseases are not going away. We need new ideas, new tools and dynamic collaboration to address them”.

Director of the Menzies Institute for Medical Research, Distinguished Professor Alison Venn, says new technology has broken down research barriers to integrating new species and environments into the research cycle.

“Proactive investment in wild immunology can stimulate discoveries with real-world applications for human and veterinary medicine and conservation. It could help us prepare for the next pandemic.”

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