Microbiological Diagnostic Unit (MDU) recognised in Melbourne Excellence Awards

The MDU Genomics team in the Dept of Microbiology and Immunology receive the 2021 Award for Professional Excellence and Innovation.

The award recognises the team’s outstanding work providing expert genomics advice to the Victorian Department of Health throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

The MDU was one of the first laboratories globally to develop a rapid next-generation sequencing and analysis pipeline for SARS-CoV-2 to strengthen Victoria’s public health response through innovative technologies.

More than 15,600 (~76%) Victorian cases have been sequenced since January 2020, with daily and weekly verbal and written reports provided to the Department of Health (Vic) to rapidly inform public health policy and decision-making.

Impacts of this work include:

  • genomic detection of the source of Victoria’s ‘second wave’
  • investigation of healthcare worker infections to improve infection control practices and safety
  • detection of Variants of Concern to inform hotel quarantine release and public health responses

The MDU's multi-disciplinary and collaborative team of genomics laboratory technicians, bioinformaticians, genomic epidemiologists and medical microbiologists demonstrated the highest levels of initiative, resilience, and compassion to service the community and impact public health outcomes.

Please join us in congratulating all those involved on this significant achievement.

Team Leaders
  • Professor Benjamin Howden, Dr Norelle Sherry, Associate Professor Torsten Seemann, Dr Susan Ballard, Courtney Lane, Tuyet Hoang, Dr Patiyan Andersson, Dr Michelle Sait, Mathilda Wilmot, Dr Kristy Horan.
Team Members
  • Sandra Johnson, Dr Anne Watt, Dianne Beck, Christina Crachi, Nicole Orlando, Jessica Barnden, Samantha Tawil, Karolina Mercoulia, Wendy Larrad, Joshua Peng, Raquel Bisogno, Angela Todd, Jafar Jabbari, Steven Edwards, Phoebe Webster, Hasini Walpola, Mark Enriquez, May Chai, Miriam Dias Santilhano, Catherine Flower, Madeline Russell, Nicole Isles, Olivia Lay, Rory Macallister, Sigrid Lange, Sara Zufan, Yen Tran, Mark Bek, Simon Gleeson.
About the Melbourne Excellence Awards

The University of Melbourne Excellence Awards recognise the outstanding achievements of academic and professional staff in the key areas of teaching and learning, research, engagement, professional excellence and strategic priorities.

Award for Professional Excellence and Innovation

These awards recognise excellence and innovation in professional staff contributions towards fulfilling the goals, values and mission of the University. They are awarded to individuals and teams who have given outstanding service to their work area, made a significant contribution to innovation, displayed outstanding teamwork and who have exhibited the values to which the University aspires.

Read more