Celebrating two of our Researcher Groups as Eureka Prize Finalists

Two Research Teams lead by Prof Katherine Kedzierska and Prof Stephen Kent from the Department of Microbiology & Immunology have been nominated as Eureka Prize Finalists

The prestigious 2023 Australian Museum Eureka Prizes are the leading science awards in Australia, honouring exceptional scientific achievement and engagement as a means of raising the profile of science in the community.

Both of our SBS research teams located in PDI are nominated in the “Research and Innovation – Infectious Diseases Research” category for their outstanding contributions to understanding COVID-19 immunology.

Prof Katherine Kedzierska leads the “Corona Queens” team, working alongside Dr Oanh Nguyen and Dr Louise Rowntree. Researching into the human immune response against COVID-19, focusing specifically on high-risk groups including children, pregnant women, elderly, and cancer patients. Their research revealed the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccination in generating both killer T cell and antibody responses, finding that immunosuppressed blood cancer patients could develop strong T cell immunity following the vaccination. This suggested potential strategies for future vaccinations against diseases like influenza.

Professor Katherine Kedzierska, Dr Louise Rowntree, and Dr Oanh Nguyen from the DMI, located in PDI

Prof Stephen Kent (DMI) and the Kirby Institute's (UNSW) Prof Miles Davenport leads the second nominated team, being recognised for their breakthroughs in understanding antibodies’ role in combating COVID-19 and the synergy between experimental and mathematical skills in pandemic response. Alongside them were immunologists Dr Jennifer Juno and Dr Adam Wheatley from DMI, located in the Doherty Institute, and Kirby Institute researchers A/Prof Deborah Cromer and Dr David Khoury. Their multidisciplinary approach, incorporating virology, immunology, and mathematical modelling, influenced global vaccination policies and accelerated vaccine distribution. Their findings indicated the correlation between vaccine-induced antibody levels and vaccine effectiveness, however also revealed that immunity wanes over time and against new virus strains, influencing vaccination strategies.

Prof Miles Davenport, Associate Prof Deborah Cromer, and Dr David Khoury from the Kirby Institute; Prof Stephen Kent, Dr Jennifer Juno and Dr Adam Wheatley from the DMI, located in PDI

The winners of the 2023 prizes will be announced during the award ceremony on August 23, 2023.

Watch the finalist videos below.

Corona Queens Finalist Video

Immunity to COVID Finalist Video

Read more about Prof Katherine Kedzierska's work below.

COVID-19 Vaccine Builds Powerful Immune Response in First Nations Peoples, Study Finds

Study Analyses Immune Response of Children Following SARS COV-2 Infection

Prof Kedzierska Features in Forbes 100

Read more about Prof Stephen Kent's work below.

School Attracts $19m in the Latest NHMRC Investigator Grants Round

What We Know Now About COVD Immunity After Infection Including Omicron and Delta Variants

COVID-19 Booster Vaccines - Why Do We Need Them and How Effective Are They

School of Biomedical Sciences Researchers Named as 2021 Australians Who Mattered