International award supports collaborative antimicrobial research

Professor Trevor Lithgow

Monash University's Professor Trevor Lithgow has been awarded China’s ‘Foreign Expert Award’, given to engage top international talent from around the globe to drive key breakthroughs and advance emerging disciplines.

Recognising Professor Lithgow’s substantial contribution to the field of antimicrobial resistance, the award reflects the shared research vision between the Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute (BDI) and clinicians and researchers at the Wenzhou Medical University  (WMU) and its affiliated hospitals. The Biomedical Precinct located in Wenzhou, a coastal city in China's Zhejiang province, is also home to the Wenzhou Institute for Genomic Medicine, the first centre for The Jackson Laboratory (JAX) for Genomic Medicine outside of the US.

Professor Lithgow has been appointed Scientific Director of the new joint WMU-BDI Biomedical Research Centre which will officially open in early 2018. The signature research program of this collaboration will be Antimicrobial Resistance and Infection Control, with discussion for two additional research programs in Cancer and Reproductive Biology currently underway.

The collaboration will see Monash BDI researchers access comprehensive biobanks of clinical isolates and other resources like state-of-art genome sequencing facilities, while WMU will gain access to Monash BDI’s Antimicrobial Resistance group and research platforms.

The joint research programs will focus on sequencing these isolates, to establish modes of pathogenicity and track changes in microbe populations based on hospital practices. Access to resources like this will help deliver results more quickly, which is critical to track and better understand what factors precipitate, or prevent, dangerous infection outbreaks.

“The 1st Affiliated Hospital of WMU has an incredible biobank of antimicrobial resistant superbugs, isolated from patients over the ten years since this huge hospital was a pristine environment. Our collaboration will allow us to study the evolution of these bacteria, with an aim to develop new treatments,” Professor Lithgow said.