News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search


Fellowship helps scientists discover new vaccines

26 November 2004

HRC Fellowship helps scientists discover new vaccines

The Health Research Council of New Zealand (HRC) has announced the recipients of its prestigious Sir Charles Hercus Health Research Fellowship for 2004, each valued at $0.5M over four years.

Dr Richard Kingston and Dr Ian Hermans, who receive the Fellowship, are both researching vaccine development for human diseases.

Established to build New Zealand’s future capability in world-class research, the Sir Charles Hercus Health Research Fellowship is designed to support outstanding post-doctoral scientists establish careers as independent health researchers.

The scheme has proved an effective incentive and mechanism for retaining some of our most promising talent in New Zealand.

Dr Hermans will be conducting his research programme at the Malaghan Institute of Medical Research in Wellington supported by the Fellowship. He will investigate a series of compounds that are able to activate a certain set of immune cells.

This may form the basis of distinctive new vaccines against the bacterial and viral diseases for which no effective vaccine currently exists.

The research also has direct implications for the development of vaccination strategies in humans against cancer.

Dr Hermans obtained his PhD in molecular biology from Victoria University of Wellington, before working with Dr Franca Ronchese for five years at the Malaghan Institute.
He has spent the past three years working in collaboration with Prof Vincenzo Cerundolo at the University of Oxford studying innate immune mechanisms.

Richard Kingston’s research focuses on several types of virus, in particular the mumps and measles viruses, still a major threat to human health.

His research will examine the structure and action of key proteins that enable these viruses to survive and multiply inside their human host. One set of proteins enables the viruses to avoid the human immune response. Another is central to the replication of the viral DNA.

Dr. Kingston will join the Structural Biology Laboratory in the School of Biological Sciences, University of Auckland, where he will use X-ray crystallography, nuclear magnetic resonance and electron microscopy to ‘see’ these proteins in atomic detail.

This will lead not only to a new understanding of the viruses themselves, but will open up the possibility of developing new anti-viral drugs or vaccines.

Dr Kingston received a PhD in Biochemistry from Massey University, and has spent research terms at Purdue and Oregon Universities in the United States.

Both men are considered to be exceptional scientists, receiving high praise from leaders in their fields.

“The HRC is committed to funding world-class health research. Our awards and fellowships are consistently going to top performers, and the Sir Charles Hercus Fellowships for 2004 are no exception,” says HRC Chief Executive Dr Bruce Scoggins.

The Sir Charles Hercus Health Research Fellowship was named in recognition of the contributions that Sir Charles Hercus (1888-1971) made to biomedical, clinical, and public health research during a distinguished 36-year career at the University of Otago, and his dedicated service to the Medical Research Council.


© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

Legendary Bassist David Friesen Plays Wellington’s Newest Jazz Venue

Friesen is touring New Zealand to promote his latest album Another Time, Another Place, recorded live at Auckland's Creative Jazz Club in 2015. More>>

Howard Davis Review: The Father - Descending Into The Depths of Dementia

Florian Zeller's dazzling drama The Father explores the effects of a deeply unsettling illness that affects 62,000 Kiwis, a number expected to grow to 102,000 by 2030. More>>

Howard Davis Review: Blade Runner Redivivus

When Ridley Scott's innovative, neo-noir, sci-fi flick Blade Runner was originally released in 1982, at a cost of over $45 million, it was a commercial bomb. More>>

14-21 October: New Zealand Improv Festival In Wellington

Imagined curses, Shibuya’s traffic, the apocalypse, and motherhood have little in common, but all these and more serve as inspiration for the eclectic improvised offerings coming to BATS Theatre this October for the annual New Zealand Improv Festival. More>>


Bird Of The Year Off To A Flying Start

The competition asks New Zealanders to vote for their favourite bird in the hopes of raising awareness of the threats they face. More>>

Scoop Review Of Books:
Jenny Abrahamson's John & Charles Enys: Castle Hill Runholders, 1864-1891

This volume will be of interest to a range of readers interested in the South Island high country, New Zealand’s natural environment, and the history of science. More>>