Infectious diseases pose some of the world’s biggest health challenges
Every year, more than 17 million people die from infectious diseases.
The programs within this research area encompass bacterial, viral, parasitic and fungal infectious diseases, with an interest in diseases of relevance to public health in tropical environments.
There is a need for new approaches to combat the emergence of antibiotic-resistance and the lack of effective vaccines for some of our most significant viral and bacterial pathogens.
Infectious diseases continue to be some of the world's most significant health challenges. There is a need for new approaches to combat the emergence of antibiotic-resistance and the lack of effective vaccines for some of our most significant viral and bacterial pathogens.
Mark von Itzstein AO
The Institute's research into the role of sugars/carbohydrates in diseases caused by bacteria represents new and exciting opportunities for the discovery of next generation antibiotics and vaccines. Many of the bacteria that cause some of the world's most devastating diseases are rapidly developing resistance to antibiotics and to this end we are also developing drugs that break anti-bacterial resistance.
The Institute's research program is working towards the design and synthesis of chemicals that will be the next generation antibiotics and vaccines to combat bacterial diseases.
Parasitic infections such as malaria still present as important public health challenges in tropical environments, with devastating socio-economic consequences in poor countries. It is now becoming clear that some of these parasites rely on carbohydrate-binding proteins for attachment and invasion of human host cells.
Our research in this area will yield useful information for the design of diagnostic tools, vaccines and drugs to fight these diseases.
Diseases caused by viruses have been a plague on humanity for time immemorial. Unfortunately, drugs that combat viruses are extremely limited in number and are not broad spectrum. The emergence of new viruses or known viruses that are aggressive and cause significant disease and mortality in man has heightened the need for new strategies to treat these virus-caused diseases.
The Institute's research into viral infections seeks to understand how sugars/carbohydrates are utilised in viral infections so that scientists can identify targets for the development of new drugs that will treat and cure these diseases.
Aspergillus fumigatus is the most prevalent airborne fungal pathogen in developed countries; and, in immuno-compromised patients, causes the fatal disease, invasive aspergillosis.
The Institute's research into this fungal infection will yield useful insights into the design of new anti-fungal drugs to treat it.