Finding solutions to prevent, treat and cure infectious diseases and understanding the complexities of microbes and the immune system requires innovative approaches and concentrated effort. This is why the University of Melbourne – a world leader in education, teaching and research excellence – and the Royal Melbourne Hospital – an internationally renowned institution providing outstanding care, research and learning – partnered to create the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity (Doherty Institute); a centre of excellence where leading scientists and clinicians collaborate to improve human health globally.
Located in the heart of Melbourne’s Biomedical Precinct, the Doherty Institute is named in honour of Patron, Laureate Professor Peter Doherty, winner of the 1996 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for discovering how the immune system recognises virus-infected cells. Under the expert guidance of Director, University of Melbourne Professor Sharon Lewin, a leader in research and clinical management of HIV and infectious diseases, the Doherty Institute has more than 700 staff who work on infection and immunity through a broad spectrum of activities. This includes discovery research; diagnosis, surveillance and investigation of infectious disease outbreaks; and the development of ways to prevent, treat and cure infectious diseases.
The Doherty Institute comprises of units from both the Royal Melbourne Hospital and the University of Melbourne, including several departments of the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences.
The Doherty Department is led by Professor Lewin and supports cross-Institute and multi-disciplinary research in translational, clinical and public health research in infectious diseases.
In particular, the Doherty Department works across antimicrobial resistance and healthcare associated infections, epidemiology, genomics, global health, Indigenous health, public health, translational and clinical research and viral infectious diseases.
The Department of Microbiology and Immunology is also located at the Doherty Institute, as well as research groups from the Department of Medicine who work in infectious diseases, including malaria, tuberculosis, viral hepatitis, global health, maternal and child health and antimicrobial utilisation.
Through the University of Melbourne, the Doherty Institute offers undergraduate and graduate courses.
The Department of Microbiology and Immunology delivers specialised coursework in the areas of bacteriology, virology and immunology along with more generalist infection and immunity subjects.
The Doherty Institute has also partnered with the Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, and the Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences to develop a new ‘One Health’ undergraduate breadth subject, Our Planet Our Health.
Research projects are available through the University Departments represented in the Institute, including the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, the Department of Medicine and the Doherty Department.
The Department of Microbiology and Immunology is a research and research-led teaching department of the School of Biomedical Sciences in the Faculty of Medicine Dentistry and Health Sciences. Researchers are focused on key themes in Immunology, viral and bacterial infectious diseases, host-pathogen interactions, antimicrobial resistance and healthcare associated infections.
The Department of Medicine sits within the Melbourne Medical School and offers projects through the Doherty Institute that focus on malaria, global health, maternal and child health, and infectious diseases.
The Doherty Department focuses on HIV and clinical and translational research in infectious diseases across Indigenous health, public health and host genomics.
Students will generally be based at the Doherty Institute, however, in certain cases, they may be based at affiliated institutes with a co-supervisor at the Doherty Institute, including (but not limited to) the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute and Sequiris.
Associate Professor Scott Mueller
Phone: (03) 8344 9044
Professor Damian Purcell
Phone:(03) 8344 6753
Professor Katherine Kedzierska
Phone: (03) 8344 6753
Ms Rebecca Whitsed, Academic Programs Officer
Phone: (03) 8344 5679
Marie Greyer, PhD Program Manager
Phone:(03) 8344 0875
Jodie McVernon’s group uses established and emerging biostatistical, epidemiologic and modelling methods to address infectious diseases questions of public health relevance. We bring a suite of collaborators from animal health and ecology to provide a ‘One Health’ perspective on emerging human pathogens.
Elizabeth’s group investigates novel ways to block cancer growth with a focus on the gastrointestinal tract – stomach, bowel and liver. A cell-cell communication pathway called Wnt is hyperactive in these cancers. Their research shows inhibiting Wnt has potent anti-cancer effects.
The focus of the Mahanty group's research is on the pathogenesis and immunology of malaria. The goal of their research studies is to elucidate the mechanisms underlying the clinical severity of illness caused by human infections with Plasmodium falciparum, the parasite responsible for the majority of cases of severe malaria, and to better understand protective immune mechanism in the human host.
The Tong Group conducts clinical trials to optimise the treatment of infections due to methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and other bacterial pathogens. It investigates the epidemiology and genomics of streptococcal infections, hepatitis B, influenza, and antimicrobial resistance in Australian Indigenous communities.
The Lewin Group
The main focus of the Lewin group is to understand why HIV infection persists on antiretroviral therapy, to develop new strategies to eliminate latency and to define the biological determinants of immune reconstitution and factors that drive liver disease in HIV-hepatitis B virus co-infection.
The Dunstan Group is using host and pathogen genomics to better understand infectious diseases. They perform genome-wide association studies of the host, genomic studies of the pathogen, and investigate the interaction of both genomes in tuberculosis, enteric fever and malaria patients.
Stinear Group research addresses priorities across four connected themes that including hospital superbugs, pathogenic mycobacteria, natural product discovery and public health genomics that aim to understand and contain the spread of bacteria causing serious human disease.
Vaccine and Immunisation Research Group (VIRGo)
The Vaccine & Immunisation Research Group (VIRGo) led by Terry Nolan conducts research that advises policy makers on the optimal use of vaccines in national immunisation schedules, and in pandemic preparedness and response. VIRGo has completed industry and investigator-initiated clinical trials whose findings have been vital for the licensure of several vaccines now in use throughout the world.