• AITHM Townsville. Photo credit: James Cook UniversityAITHM Townsville. Photo credit: James Cook University

New tropical health facility opens at JCU

Australian research into tropical health and medicine has received a major boost with the opening of a AU$31million world-class infectious diseases research facility at James Cook University’s Townsville campus.

At the new facilities, the Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine (AITHM) will undertake research into tropical infectious diseases and will develop vaccines, diagnostic tools, and the identification of bacterial pathogens. 

AITHM’s Director, Professor Louis Schofield said research programmes underway within the Institute include identification, prevention and better treatments for tuberculosis, development of malaria vaccines and peripheral artery disease. He said: “The Institute will build essential research programmes in tropical health and medicine for Australia and the region, specifically building important biosecurity capacity for Northern Australia.”

The Townsville facility and research undertaken within it will:

  • Focus on re-emerging bacterial diseases for which tropical Queenslanders are at significant risk, including tuberculosis, meliodosis and Q fever, and on communicable disease diagnostics and control;
  • Provide a bio-bank facility for clinical and epidemiological samples;
  • Engage new high-quality biomedical research staff to join existing researchers;
  • Host visiting experts (visitors and trainees will include participants from Australia and from neighbouring countries);
  • Train and mentor young researchers and health professionals involved in translating innovation into practice,
  • And accommodate proof-of-concept work leading to commercialisation opportunities 

AITHM is also building facilities in Cairns and on Thursday Island.

James Cook University (JCU) is ranked in the top 4% of universities worldwide and is Australia’s leading university for the tropics.  If you are interested in studying at JCU, come along to one of the Study Options Open Days this November to meet the university and find out more.

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