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2010 Premier's Award for Health and Medical Research

Julia Archbold

A selection panel of eminent health and medical researchers considered the applicants for this year's award, and Premier John Brumby has announced that Dr Julia Archbold is the winner of the 2010 Premier's Award for Health and Medical Research. This honour is in recognition of Dr Archbold's research into the molecular immunology of organ transplant rejection that was conducted under the supervision of Prof Jamie Rossjohn.

Currently, before any transplant operation, the donor and recipient tissue types are matched as closely as possible. But surprisingly, it has been shown that sometimes it is the 'closest' genetic matches that can result in the most profound transplant rejection. By looking at what our immune system 'sees' on the transplanted tissue at the molecular level, we can gain a fundamental understanding of what constitutes a good 'match' between donors and recipients. Dr Archbold's research reveals that differences in the 3D structures of molecules on the transplanted tissue compared to that of the host might result in a successful transplant.

Dr Archbold stated "It is as though the immune system cannot 'see' the molecules on the foreign tissue and effectively 'ignores' the transplant. By building a database of the 3D structures of these molecules that occur within the population, we will be able to predict more suitable donor-recipient matches for the cases where identical matches are not available."

This award is an initiative of the Victorian Government in conjunction with the Australian Society for Medical Research recognising the contribution of early-stage researchers to medical research in Victoria. Dr Archbold received a certificate and a cheque for $16,000 to further the development of her career, which was presented at a ceremony at Government House on 7 June 2010.  In conjunction with the Premier's Award for Health and Medical Research, the $30,000 Jack and Robert Smorgon Families Award will be presented to the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. The Department will use the Award to further the research and development work of Dr Archbold.

For more information about the Premier's Award for Health and Medical Research see the website