What a big year. We found out our NHMRC program grant got renewed with Stephen leading it – phew – see announcement . Stephen also found out he got his NHMRC fellowship renewed with a promotion to SPRF (phew again). Amy received a prestigious NHMRC CDF award and also received another NHMRC project grant – this one to work on Malaria antibodies with Dr Stephen Rogerson at the Doherty Institute. The lab celebrated the end of year with barefoot bowling – see photos below – and a little champagne of course.
We have plenty of people visiting friends and family overseas over the Xmas break – Hyon-Xhi, Wen Shi, Kevin, Matt, Yi, Timon and Sriveni I think are all overseas at present – the joys of having such as international lab group. Sinth is on his honeymoon at present in Europe – congratulations Sinth.
We are planning to welcome David and Shelby O’Connor here next August for a sabbatical. Both are highly respected HIV researchers who have expanded into multiple other pathogens. This continues a wonderful trans-pacific collaboration that started with a short sabbatical by Stephen in 2003! Dave was awarded a prestigious University of Melbourne Miegunyah followship to assist his sabbatical reflecting the esteem with which he is held here. Shelby has already been busy writing grants to kick off her research here. They are both quintessential “Doherty Institute-type” researchers with broad interests across infection and immunity and will add enormously to the Institute during their stay.
We wish everyone a great festive season.
Kent lab end of year lawn bowls Christmas function
We had another great Lab ski retreat recently with 18 attendees! Thanks to Hillary and Jane for organising so efficiently. Below are some photos. The snow was deep and the evenings were full of “Big Ideas” science, as well as lots of ideas to maintain our high levels of productivity, motivation and (don't roll your eyes) being grateful for all the help we have. We’re having a ‘Gratefulness” morning tea soon to thank everyone who keeps us humming along as a pretty big research venture.
All the new staff have settled in so well, with Ester, Robyn and Kathleen being hugely helpful to the productivity of Amy, Adam and Jen - lots of great data coming out. Julius, Timon and Hannah’s PhD’s are off to flying starts. Kuangyu is already ½ way through his Masters!
Some fairly intense bleed schedules lately with very busy hood days – Vinca, Thakshila and Sriveni are doing a great job with help from Anne and everyone else. Clare and the team in Geelong have been a big help.
Stephen had an NHMRC program grant interview recently which was somewhat nerve-racking - fingers crossed for the result. Jane has taken over the admin load of our program which is keeping her on her toes.
Fernanda (and Sergio) had a beautiful baby girl! And passed her PhD! And has another first author paper accepted! All in the space of about 2 weeks, phew.
Lots of papers coming out recently – see the publications page - so many that we had to have a combined celebration with some special champagne. Things got a little out of hand, formula 1 podium style. See our Instagram site for a small flavour. Congratulations to all the authors. A special mention to Matt for the Science Translational Medicine paper.
Taking a breather from NHMRC program and fellowship grants at present, whew. Jane has been a big help getting our program grant application in. Sinth and Adam are battling project grant reviewers at present. The NHMRC system is changing substantially next year.
A big welcome to Timon from Germany who is starting a PhD with Amy. Sinth has also formally joined our group and has lots of Flu ideas as ever. We have a new vet Clare who will be helping with the animal facility. A teary goodbye to Fernanda – she’s finished her PhD (assuming reviewers are kind!) and off to San Diego for more adventures! Josh is writing up and Hillary will be next to write up!
Stephen at the Keystone HIV Vaccines meeting in Colorado
Anna Schorcht, who spent a few months with us, is now doing a PhD in HIV vaccines in Amsterdam! Proud that we didn't turn her off science and HIV!
April 2017 PhD Graduations
Our expanded lab seems to be holding together. We are running out of desk and lab space but the department is thinking about ways to find us all some more space. Kathleen, Ester, Robyn, and Julius are all settling in and Timon will be starting soon. We were sad to see Milla head off to medical school. Vijaya has started a post-doc with Jamie Rossjohn’s group at Monash and we wish her well also (while she pulls together resubmissions of her last 2 papers!).
Matt is in Canada doing some work with Andrés Finzi’s group in Montreal. Kevin, Wen Shi and Kuangyu took some well-deserved time off for Chinese New Year. We’ve had some big bleed days lately with plenty of samples – well done to Vinca, Thakshila, Jen, Anne and everyone for pitching in to help. See our instagram site @kentlaboratory for some shots of the lab. Josh and Fernanda both sailed through various PhD committee meetings recently. Stephen and Jane have been busy submitting grants – ugh. More to come alas.