Monash BDI researcher a Eureka finalist

Associate Professor Fasseli Coulibaly, Dr Hari Venugopal and Dr Joshua Hardy
Associate Professor Fasseli Coulibaly, Dr Hari Venugopal and Dr Joshua Hardy

Congratulations to Associate Professor Fasseli Coulibaly from the Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute who, as part of Team Chimera - in collaboration with University of Queensland and QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute researchers, has been named as a finalist in the ANSTO Eureka Prize for Innovative Use of Technology category.

The Australian Museum Eureka Prizes honour excellence across the areas of research and innovation, leadership, science engagement and school science, and are presented annually in partnership with some of the country’s leading scientific institutions, government organisations, universities and corporations.

Four Monash University research projects across three categories including technology, infectious disease and leadership have been named as finalists in the 2021 Australian Museum Eureka Prizes. Read about each of the Monash finalists here.

ANSTO Eureka Prize for Innovative Use of Technology:

Team Chimera: Associate Professor Fasseli Coulibaly from the Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute, in collaboration with the University of Queensland and the QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute

Flaviviruses are viruses transmitted by mosquitoes and ticks to vertebrates including humans. Dengue virus is the most prevalent flavivirus causing an estimated 400 million cases per year.

Team Chimera has developed a new chimeric technology that accelerates scientific discovery and provides a platform to make the next generation of flavivirus diagnostics, therapies and vaccines. The approach uses a benign insect-specific flavivirus discovered in remote Australia as a safe backbone vector to mimic flaviviruses pathogenic to humans.

Armed with only the sequence of the target virus, a modular and streamlined approach allowed the team to rapidly generate new viral mimics or chimeras to match an emerging outbreak strain in a matter of weeks.  This pipeline provides a unique toolset to (1) study the structure of pathogenic viruses safely, (2) generate effective and scalable vaccines for current threats and in response to an emerging outbreak, (3) rapidly deploy sensitive and accurate diagnostics and (4) develop new and more effective antiviral therapies.

“Initially focusing on an insect virus instead of the human pathogens wasn’t an obvious choice and required a team with a remarkable breadth and complementarity,” says Associate Professor Coulibaly.

“The beauty of this research is that it paves the way to both fundamental advances towards a high-resolution movie of flavivirus assembly, and an innovative technology to help prevent and cure these devastating diseases”.

The winners will be announced on Thursday October 7, 2021.

For more information on the Eureka Prizes, visit the Australian Museum website.

Team Chimera: Researchers from the University of Queensland, Monash University’s Biomedicine Discovery Institute and QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute – Finalist, 2021 Eureka Prize for Innovative Use of Technology.


About the Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute at Monash University

Committed to making the discoveries that will relieve the future burden of disease, the newly established Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute at Monash University brings together more than 120 internationally-renowned research teams. Our researchers are supported by world-class technology and infrastructure, and partner with industry, clinicians and researchers internationally to enhance lives through discovery.

For Media Enquiries please contact:
E: media@monash.edu T: +61 (0) 3 9903 4840

Wendy Smith, Monash Media Team
E: wendy.smith1@monash.edu T: +61 (0) 425 725 836