Medical Research Week 2021

Image: Illustration by Burnet PhD Student, Thorey Jonsdottir

On Medical Research Week, we celebrate all researchers, students and the support teams who work tirelessly to improve our health and tackle unsolved health problems.

More than 400 Burnet scientists and public health and support staff collaborate across 32 Working Groups. This brings together an enormous depth and breadth of expertise that helps translate our research into tangible health solutions.

Burnet Institute Head of Education and Research Integrity, Dr Raffi Gugasyan, said Medical Research Week was a great opportunity to recognised the incredible advances in medical science and promote the field to the next generation.

“We’ve learned so much about diseases and how we can stop them,” Dr Gugasyan.

“However there is still so much we need to learn. That’s why it’s important that we have many [young people] interested in medical research.”

The same interdisciplinary approach from discovery research to translation connects us with communities and ensures we are addressing real-life health problems, particularly for vulnerable communities in Australia, the Asia-Pacific region and Africa.

Our discovery research on the immune response in malaria, for example, could help accelerate the development of a much-needed protective vaccine.

Our diagnostics team developed a WHO-endorsed point-of-care test that allows easier testing of people diagnosed with HIV, to ensure they can be put onto the appropriate treatment sooner.

The collaboration of our researchers across disciplines continues to work on evidence and data that improves the engagement and management of people living with hepatitis C, with a goal towards its elimination.

Investment in medical research has always been worthwhile, and this has particularly been evidenced in the swift global scientific response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has heralded safe and effective vaccines within one year of the SARS-CoV-2 virus emerging.

A recent report commissioned by Victoria’s Lead Scientist, Dr Amanda Caples, has demonstrated the stunning economic returns from investment in medical research.Every dollar of government funding generated AUD$4.54 of additional income for the state.

At Burnet Institute, we’re immensely proud of the work of our research teams and recognise their extraordinary work and pursuit of excellence to create better health and quality of life for all communities.

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