CSL Centenary Fellows


2019



Connie Wong

Dr Connie Wong

2019 CSL Centenary Fellow

Why do people with stroke die from infections?

Connie Wong wants to understand why as many as one fifth of deaths following stroke are caused by pneumonia and other infections.

Connie and her team have discovered that stroke not only damages the brain but weakens the immune system and allows bacteria in the gut to escape and cause infection in other parts of the body.

The CSL Centenary Fellowship will enable Connie to investigate how the brain communicates with the immune system as well as researching new strategies to restore the gut barrier’s integrity following stroke.

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Daniel Pellicci

Dr Daniel Pellicci

2019 CSL Centenary Fellow

Recruiting unconventional T-cells in the fight against disease

Daniel Pellicci plans to recruit specialist white blood cells, in the fight against tuberculosis (TB).

Unconventional T-cells’ are among the immune system’s first responders. They can kill infected cells and recruit other parts of the immune system to destroy the attackers. Until now, these cells have been difficult to study but Daniel has developed diagnostic tools to uncover the basic biology of how these cells work in the immune system.

Daniel will use his Fellowship to focus on people suffering from tuberculosis. He hopes his work will lead the way to an improved vaccine plus other new immune therapies.

In the longer term, he believes it will be possible to develop potent lipid molecules to stimulate these cells to help fight various infectious diseases, plus other diseases that involve the immune system such as cancer, autoimmunity and allergies.

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2018



Associate Professor Sarah-Jane Dawson

2018 CSL Centenary Fellow

Blood Tests for Early Diagnosis and Management of Cancer

Associate Professor Sarah-Jane Dawson is pioneering the use of ‘liquid biopsies’ for gentler, more thorough cancer testing. She’s developing blood tests as an alternative to painful, invasive tissue biopsies for cancer patients. The tests identify the tiny fragments of DNA shed by tumour cells into a patient’s blood stream.

Having already been trialled in breast cancer patients, Sarah-Jane says the new tests will help in every phase of treatment, quickly identifying the type of cancer, tailoring treatment to the individual, monitoring their progress, and—once treatment is completed—checking for signs of relapse.

The CSL Centenary Fellowship will give Sarah-Jane the opportunity to develop the tests for some of the most common cancer types, and accelerate the translation of these tests from the lab into the clinic so they can benefit more of the 400,000+ Australians living with diagnosed cancer.

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Associate Professor Andrew Murphy

2018 CSL Centenary Fellow

What really causes our arteries to clog?

We’ve long known the lifestyle risk factors for heart attack and stroke. But Andrew Murphy wants to know what is happening at a cellular level. What’s happening in our bone marrow that causes excess white blood cell production and leads to the clogging of our arteries?

Cracking this mystery could lead to a new generation of drugs to fight cardiovascular disease and contribute to new blood cancer treatments.

In 2011 Andrew discovered that an increase in white blood cells accelerates the development of artery-blocking plaque. Now, with the help of his $1.25 million CSL Fellowship, he’s planning to find out what is happening in the bone marrow where these cells are made.

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2017



Professor Geoffrey Faulkner

2017 CSL Centenary Fellow

Are memories stored in DNA?

Geoff Faulkner is testing a bold idea— he thinks long-term memory might be stored in our brain's DNA. If he's right, it will revolutionise both our understanding of life's blueprint and how we manage diseases like schizophrenia and Alzheimer's.

During the course of his CSL Centenary Fellowship, Geoffrey will use single cell genomics, optogenetics, stem cells and genome editing to examine how and when during life these mobile DNA changes occur, whether they play a role in memory function, and whether they contribute to Alzheimer's disease.

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Associate Professor Steven Lane

2017 CSL Centenary Fellow

Improving survival for patients with acute leukaemia

Leukaemia is one of Australia's deadliest types of cancer. However, as Steven Lane knows, it's not just one type—it's hundreds of different types, each with its own genetic fingerprint.

As a recipient of the CSL Centenary Fellowship, Steven's research will focus on understanding why most patients with blood cancers relapse following chemotherapy. His team have developed new laboratory models which will be used to develop and test new treatments for leukaemia and prevention of relapse.

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