NHMRC Centres of research excellence

The CRE Scheme seeks applications from teams of researchers to pursue innovative, high quality collaborative research activities in the following priority areas:

  • clinical research
  • research into asbestos related diseases
  • population health research
  • electromagnetic energy research
  • health services research

The CRE builds capacity and supports research that will lead to improved community health outcomes, and ensures effective translation of research outcomes primarily into practice.

Critical Infections

Professor Jon Iredell

Professor Jon Iredell

In 2010 Medical researchers at the University of Sydney's Westmead Millennium Institute were awarded a $2.5m National Health and Medical Research Council grant to establish a Centre for Research Excellence (CRE) in Critical Infectious Diseases at Westmead. The internationally recognised team, led by the University of Sydney's Professor Jon Iredell, has a distinguished track record for its pioneering work in infectious diseases.

This program is designed to address infections and infection risk in the people most likely to die from them, in which research is most difficult and most urgently needed. We define critical infections threats as those with the greatest impact on mortality and morbidity of the seriously ill, in which the health system is most invested (e.g., septic shock in the ICU; opportunistic infections in transplant patients, etc.), and/or are most damaging to public health and the health infrastructure (e.g., pandemic respiratory viruses and antibiotic-resistant bacteria).

Apparently disparate threats such as antibiotic resistance, viral pandemics, and emerging fungi have several features in common, including their capacity to emerge from a background of like infections in the form of a new epidemic, often due to some genetic change that allows them to bypass antimicrobials or vaccines. The most rapidly evolving of these (antibiotic resistant Gram-negative bacteria, and RNA viruses such as influenza) also share a pattern of rapid recombinant evolution in their gene pools which has previously defeated our attempts at surveillance and control, but which are open to new tools in the fields of genomics, biotechnology and information systems. We will bring these tools to bear to train researchers, clinicians, and policy makers in their use, and develop data to underpin multidisciplinary research programs by teams of investigators with complementary expertise.

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Tuberculosis control: from discovery to public health practice and policy

Professor Warwick Britton

Professor Warwick Britton

Professor Warwick Britton, was awarded $2.49 million towards a Centre of Research Excellence on tuberculosis control: from discovery to public health practice and policy.

Control and, ultimately, the elimination of one of the world’s major infectious diseases, TB, is a key goal of the WHO and is captured in the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals (Goal 6). This multidisciplinary CRE in TB control will strengthen and extend existing national, regional and international networks and provide a major resource for training, strategic research and translation into policy.

There will be a specific focus on the neglected area of TB in children and the emerging problem of drug resistant TB.

The following major challenges will be addressed:

  1. Improved TB prevention
    Development and evaluation of new vaccines essential for the long-term control of TB, evaluation of pragmatic risk assessment and prevention strategies
  2. Enhanced case detection and management
    Exploration of novel biomarkers, field evaluation of feasible rapid diagnostics, implementation of active case finding strategies
  3. Advanced tracking of transmission events
    Understanding and limiting transmission; development and application of highly discriminatory strain typing methods, linked to targeted public health responses
  4. Ethical-legal barriers to TB control
    Detailed analysis of contentious ethical and legal issues to improve TB legislation and policy; infection control, patient confidentiality, individual preventive therapy to minimize community risk, provision of optimal care

This is a collaborative program with colleagues from:

  • University of Sydney
  • Woolcock Institute for Medical Research
  • University of Melbourne
  • Vietnam
  • Indonesia

Chief Investigators are:

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More information can be found on the TB CRE website