Former crime fighter takes aim at malaria | UniSC | University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Former crime fighter takes aim at malaria

USC graduate Dr David Pattinson is now employed as an immunologist at one of the world’s top vaccine development institutes based at the University of Oxford in England working on research that could ultimately save millions of lives.

Dr Pattinson works at Oxford’s Jenner Institute as the principal investigator on a novel vaccine delivery platform for malaria, a disease that kills more than half a million people and infects more than 200 million each year.

The research is seeking to develop a novel approach that will kick start the human body into mounting improved and highly potent responses in comparison to conventional vaccines.

“The ultimate goal for the vaccine is that it will stimulate the body into producing an adaptive malaria fighting immune response against a disease that constantly changes to survive,” said Dr Pattinson, who graduated from USC in 2009.

“An effective vaccine against malaria is incredibly important to prevent the mortality, morbidity, and the associated financial burden caused by this parasitic infection. The fact that my work is contributing to global research efforts which may lead to the realisation of such a vaccine, makes this career extremely rewarding.”

Dr Pattinson, 45, who grew up in Mooloolaba and attended Maroochydore State High School, was a Sergeant in the Queensland Police Service where he had worked for 14 years, before deciding he was ready for a career change.

“I started out doing a combined Education/Science degree at USC but became very interested in medical science. I knew that a career in this area could be greatly rewarding and offer the possibility to work overseas.”

He switched to a Bachelor of Science, majoring in Biomedical Science, and excelled at USC, earning an award for his distinguished academic record at his graduation.

“I was really inspired by the academic staff and took advantage of extra learning opportunities, including all the enabling courses, which helped me achieve a high grade point average,” Dr Pattinson said.

“Those grades were integral to my subsequent opportunities at the Queensland Institute of Medical Research where I did my PhD and helped me to obtain scholarship and travel awards to attend conferences around Australia and across the US.

“My USC degree provided the foundation for my career. I would never have thought when I started studying there in 2006 that I would end up being the principle investigator on a project at the University of Oxford.”

— Jane Cameron

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