NEWS 2018

photo of news story

A world first trial is underway in Sydney which could hold the key to tackling antibiotic resistant superbugs.
Researchers at Westmead Hospital have developed a new way to use viruses to treat potentially deadly bacterial infections - Nina Stevens, Channel 7 Watch now

alma wu

Australian Society for Microbiology annual scientific meeting in Queensland.
Alma Wu is a first year PhD student at WIMR, she is pictured here with colleagues (L-R) Dr Aleksandra Petrovic-Fabijan, Dr Muhammad Kamruzzaman (sup.) and Ms Bethany Bowring.
Poster title: Functional diversity of toxin-antitoxin systems in antibiotic resistance plasmids in Enterobacteriaceae

NEWS 2017

Sydney Health Partners Launches Website

The Sydney Health Partners website has been launched.

This an important first step in telling the story of Sydney Health Partners to the wider community, and demonstrating how our Partnership is bringing together world leading researchers and clinicians to transform the way research improves the health of our patients and communities.

NEWS 2016

Woman dies from superbug resistant to all available antibiotics

CBS News, 13 January 2017

A Nevada woman has died from an infection resistant to all available antibiotics in the United States, public health officials report

Antibiotic Awareness Week

14-20 November 2016

“Antimicrobial resistance is a danger of the utmost urgency. This year will be a pivotal one…We have a global action plan. What we need now is the action“

Margaret Chan, WHO Director – General addresses the Executive Board
Report by the Director-General to the Executive Board at its 138th Session
Geneva, Switzerland. 25 January 2016

Women, leadership, and the myth of merit

Elizabeth Shaw, President of the UN Women National Committee Australia, writes for the Sydney Morning Herald:

Sydney Morning Herald, 2 August 2016

Westmead Honours Program

Take advantage of an exceptional opportunity to study under leading research experts within the largest health and medical precinct in NSW. Join our honours program in Medical Sciences at Westmead.

More information

From the Federal Budget Lockup

It is no surprise that there is little new for science in tonight's Federal Budget. After the announcement of the $1.1 Billion National Innovation and Science Agenda (NISA) last December, it was unlikely additional measures would follow.

Some measures include:

  • $110.5 million to Geoscience Australia to produce geographic modelling of mineral, groundwater and petroleum resources across South Australia and Northern Australia;
  • $15 million for a national carp control plan;
  • The Bureau of Meteorology will receive funding to maintain its supercomputer capabilities, with the total amount commercial-in-confidence;
  • The Great Barrier Reef Plan and Trust will get a $171 million boost, extending the program to make the reef more resilient;
  • $12 million for an extension of the Australian Astronomical Observatory, taking it out to 2019/20

For more information on NISA, visit

Latest publication from the UK's AMR Review

This document provides an overview of the key recommendations of the various reports the AMR Review has delivered.

- to read more

Antibiotic resistance story on ABC show Catalyst

Antibiotic resistance

Antibiotics have saved millions of lives, but their misuse and overuse is making them less effective as bacteria develop resistance. Despite scientists’ warnings, antibiotic prescriptions in many countries continue to soar and antibiotic use in farming is at record levels. As a result, doctors are now seeing infections they can no longer treat. Are we facing the end of modern medicine? An antibiotic apocalypse that takes medicine back to the Dark Ages? Or will researchers outwit the incredibly clever bacteria and find novel ways to beat resistance?

Professor Jon Iredell
"Part of the problem, I think, is we’ve seen bacteria the same way we see a cockroach. You know, we blame a bug, we give it a name, we try and stamp on it like a cockroach".

Watch the Show - Catalyst

Related story, Australian researchers 'reset' superbugs to pre-antibiotic resistant state - The Westmead Institute for Medical Research

Australian cryptologists concerned by restrictive exports law

Other scientists also say the need to get a permit for applied ‘dual-use’ research may constrain academic freedom - read more

Bianca Nogrady,

Australasian Medical Research and Clinical Societies applaud support of vaccination by University of Wollongong academics

read press release

Download press release

Following on from recent publicity regarding the vaccination and anti-vaccination debate, centered around the press release from the University of Wollongong senior academics.

The assembled major biological and clinical societies concerned with research and policy in this area have produced a consensus statement in support of the value of vaccination, which is attached.

Related article 27th Jan 2016 The Australian

Medicine turns to bacteriophage therapy to beat superbugs

Jon Iredell and Carola Venturini

An arcane therapy for bacterial infections that dwelled behind the Iron Curtain for decades is making a comeback in Western medicine as a potential white knight against superbugs. Phage therapy involves infecting patients with viruses known as bacteriophages, which are the natural predators of bacteria, to kill the germs that antibiotics cannot. Scientists hope these harmless viruses will cure patients who have been infected by bacteria that is resistant to antibiotics, causing chronic ear, nose and throat infections as well as life-threatening illnesses such as sepsis. The first human trial of a phage therapy began at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Adelaide last week, when a female patient with chronic sinusitis started using a nasal rinse swimming with phages that target golden staph.

Meanwhile, researchers at the Westmead Institute's Centre for Infectious Diseases and Microbiology have been awarded a $860,000 federal grant to isolate the phages that target E. coli and Klebsiella, which cause sepsis in intensive care patients.
The Westmead Institute's Carola Venturini said pharmaceutical companies were no longer investing in new antibiotics because bacteria were developing resistance so quickly that it had become a risky venture.


- Harriet Alexander, SMH read more

- Related article, The Westmead Institute of Medical Research Researchers exploit natural microbial predators to beat antibiotic resistance

NEWS 2015


Travel awards

Applications are now open for travel awards for local students to attend the ASM Annual Scientific Meeting in Perth, 3-6 July 2015. More details are available at ASM

Australia Awards Fellowships

Round 16 is expected to open in early 2016 for Fellowships hosted in the 2016-17 financial year. Further guidance to applicants, including eligibility, priority areas and program requirements, will be posted to this website ahead of the opening of the round. Please continue to visit the website regularly for updates.

Here is some advance notice of some changes expected in this round:

  • Round 16 is expected to open in early 2016. Contracts should be finalised around June-July, with projects expected to commence from September.
  • Up to 15 fellows may be nominated per project (down from 25 in previous rounds).
  • Funding per project will be reduced – the new limit will be $25,000 multiplied by the number of fellows. I recommend that you consider keeping your programmes short (assuming the minimum is still two weeks), as longer programmes incur significant costs for accommodation and per diem allowances.
  • A small amount of additional funding will be available for post-fellowship activities in-country (we expect $10K for bilateral projects, and $20K for multilateral projects). Details are not yet confirmed, but we expect this will be for 1-2 staff to travel to the partner country and conduct further training.
    There will be two new priority themes: Science and Innovation, and Tropical Health and Medical Research.
  • DFAT will allow new partnerships as well as existing ones, ie. you are not restricted to counterpart organisations with whom you have a long-standing relationship.
  • It is important to contact the in-country DFAT posts at an early stage, as they can provide feedback on how your proposal fits with national priorities. Our office can assist with this.

- Read more


Antibiotic Awareness Week

antibiotic week

16-22 November 2015


Antibiotic Awareness Week will take place from 16–22 November and is endorsed by the World Health Organization, acknowledging the global importance of this growing public health issue.

The theme for the week is “Antibiotics: handle with care”. All health services and hospitals are encouraged to take part in Antibiotic Awareness Week, to help raise awareness of the problem of antibiotic resistance and ways to address this issue.

- Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care read more