USC health research cluster to be launched

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USC health research cluster to be launched


Published on 30 October 2013

A leading academic and scientist working on drug discoveries for influenza and other viruses will be guest speaker at the launch of a new University of the Sunshine Coast health research cluster tomorrow (Thursday 31 October).

USC’s Inflammation and Healing Research Cluster will be officially launched from 4pm to 6pm at the University’s Innovation Centre auditorium.

Professor Mark von Itzstein, a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science and Director of Griffith University’s Institute for Glycomics, will discuss the growth of his institute into an internationally-renowned biomedical research facility.

Glycomics is an emerging field that studies the structure and function of carbohydrates (sugars) in biological systems.

Professor von Itzstein is one of the leading scientists responsible for the design and synthesis of the anti-influenza drug, Relenza, which has been approved for the treatment of influenza worldwide since 1999.

USC Associate Professor Shelley Walton leads the Inflammation and Healing Research Cluster’s 13 key researchers in three areas: the mechanisms underlying inflammatory processes, the role of environmental and host factors in inflammation, and the methods for prevention, diagnosis and interventions.

“This is a milestone in the development of health research at USC,” she said.

“Our long-term goal is to contribute to sustainable improvements in individual health outcomes related to dysfunctional inflammatory processes. Clinical and laboratory-based experimental techniques will explore the mechanisms of inflammation and repair.”

Dr Walton said the cluster would include education and training functions to expand career pathways and help develop an effective health research workforce on the Sunshine Coast.

“We are looking forward to the Skills, Academic and Research Centre (SARC) to be built alongside the new Sunshine Coast University Hospital at Kawana,” she said.

“USC is a partner in the development of the SARC, which will offer our students access to high-level health training facilities, medical staff and biomedical and clinical measurement instrumentation.”

She said dysfunctional inflammatory responses contributed to common chronic and autoimmune diseases such as infectious diseases, cardiovascular disease, arthritis, allergy and cancer.

— Julie Schomberg

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