We are delivering – Snapshot six


  • In 2018 we launched an online test – already used almost 200 000 times – to predict a person’s risk of developing melanoma in the next three years.
  • Successful clinical testing of a new cellular immunotherapy for multiple sclerosis showed improved symptoms and quality of life for the majority of patients.
  • A clinical trial of a new cellular immunotherapy for viral complications in organ transplant recipients found that 11 out of 13 patients showed improved symptoms.
  • We showed that if all Australians applied sunscreen regularly, the numbers of melanomas over the next 20 years would be reduced by one third.
  • We have led the charge in getting Australia and New Zealand’s peak bodies to reach a consensus on changing their sunscreen policies to recommend daily use.
  • We conducted an economic analysis of the out-of-pocket costs of cancer treatment.
  • We have developed the first ever live vaccine against hookworm, which we are testing in a clinical trial.
  • We are leading a process of engagement and discussion with Queensland’s indigenous communities to increase awareness of the benefits from the introduction of genomic analysis.


  • Together with Chinese scientists, we designed tiny nanorobots made of DNA and protein that can be targeted directly at tumours to stop them growing.
  • We bio-engineered functioning miniature human heart muscle, which will accelerate research into muscle disease and treatments.
  • We launched and are now leading the Australian arm of the world’s largest genetic study of bipolar disorder.
  • We are using brain imaging to better understand and diagnose depression and dementia.
  • We are advancing the field of personalised medicine, which will see individual patients receive tailored treatments based on the genetic signatures present in their cancers.


  • In 2018 we published 743 scientific papers. QIMR Berghofer’s broader research output was cited more than 38 000 times.
  • A total of 40 QIMR Berghofer scientists have now authored at least one paper that has been cited more than 1000 times, which is considered to be exceptional and an indication of the importance of the paper.
  • Professors Sarah Medland, Mark Smyth and Nick Martin were named in the 2018 Highly Cited Researchers List and were recognised as among the world’s most influential researchers in their fields.
  • Professor Scott Bell and his team won the Infections Diseases Research category at the 2018 Eureka Prizes.
  • Professor Don McManus was awarded the Sornchai Looareesuwan Medal for his distinguished achievements in tropical medicine research.
  • Drs Catherine Olsen, Luca Cocchi and Jonathan Beesley were named leaders in their fields in by The Australian newspaper’s Research magazine.
  • Professors Frank Gannon and Rajiv Khanna were named in The Courier-Mail’s list of the 100 most influential Queenslanders.
  • Associate Professor Simon Phipps received the 2018 Klosterfrau Award in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the field of paediatric pulmonology.
  • Professor James McCarthy was elected a Member of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences.


  • Thanks to a $1.4 million funding injection from the Queensland Government, we have signed major new agreements with US biopharmaceutical company Atara Biotherapeutics, which will allow world-first clinical trials of new cellular immunotherapies to start, giving Queenslanders access to cutting-edge medical treatments.
  • We signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Dubai Health Authority to collaborate on research and training in cancer diagnosis and treatment.
  • We signed an MOU with the Metro North Hospital and Health Service to build more collaborations between researchers and clinicians and to establish Herston as a world-leading health precinct.
  • In 2018 we conducted four clinical trials of new candidate drugs for malaria using the ‘human challenge model’ pioneered by Professor James McCarthy. These trials involve infecting healthy volunteers with malaria to speed up the testing and development of new antimalarial drugs.
  • In collaboration with Sementis Limited and the University of South Australia, we conducted laboratory tests on a new vaccine platform and found it offered protection against Zika virus and chikungunya.
  • Our precision analysis start-up genomiQa, together with analytics and software engineering agency Max Kelsen, secured $2.6 million in funding from the Cooperative Research Centres Program to apply artificial intelligence to personalised medicine.
  • We established a new start-up, EndpointIQ, based on management systems we have developed in house.
  • Having owned and managed our early-phase clinical trials company Q-Pharm Pty Ltd for five years, we sold it to the owners of clinical trial company Nucleus Network. Nucleus has committed to attracting more trials to Queensland through greater investment in the company.


  • We welcomed more than 1500 high school students and 150 teachers from almost 70 schools to the Institute as part of our high school education program.
  • We visited 16 schools across regional Queensland with a high proportion of indigenous students and presented to approximately 1600 students.
  • We opened our doors for Brisbane Open House, giving more than 500 members of the public the opportunity to see inside a medical research laboratory.
  • We participated in World Science Festival events in Brisbane and across regional Queensland.
  • We welcomed or visited more than 65 community groups and service clubs and shared QIMR Berghofer’s latest research news with them.

Thanks to support from our donors and Queensland Health, as you can see, WE ARE DELIVERING.

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