7th Lorne Infection and Immunity Conference

27 April 2017


The 7th Lorne Infection and Immunity Conference was held 15-17 February at Mantra Lorne.  This annual conference is co-hosted by the VIIN and the Queensland based Australian Infectious Diseases Research Centre. Each year, the conference features a high-impact list of international and Australian speakers from various infection and immunity disciplines.

One of the conference’s great strengths is its diversity of session and talk topics.  This year, there was a focus on the role of the microbiota in health and disease, with talks by Bali Pulendran (Emory Vaccine Centre, USA), David Lynn (SAHMRI, SA), Samuel Forster (Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, UK), Sammy Bedoui (Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity) and Connie Wong (Monash University).

There was also strong representation from virologists, with talks on influenza from George Gao (Chinese Academy of Sciences) and Katherine Kedzierska (University of Melbourne); on Hendra and VEE, with talks from Stephen Rawlinson (University of Melbourne) and David Thomas and Natalie Borg (Monash University); and HIV, with talks from Nancy Haigwood (Oregon National Primate Research Center), Stephen Kent (University of Melbourne) and Cody Allison (Walter and Eliza Hall Institute).

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Left: Nancy Haigwood at the ECR lunch with San Lim and Nollaig Bourke (Hudson Institute).  Right: Katherine Kedzierska, Georgeo Gao and Paul Young.

The Early Career Research (ECR) Lunch (above left) was again well-received.  2017 was the third year that this event was held and it has become a feature on the conference’s program for early-career post-doctoral researchers and students.  The lunch is organised by an ECR committee, which this year comprised Rhys Grinter (Monash University), Celine Deffrasnes (University of Melbourne), Hayley Bullen (Burnet Institute) and Eveline de Geus and San Lim (both Hudson Institute of Medical Research), and gives aspiring students and postdocs the opportunity to sit and chat to the national and international invited speakers in an informal setting.

Another event for ECRs at the 2017 conference was the Jomar Life Research breakfast workshop on the Thursday morning of the conference.  This workshop was aimed at providing practical advice to students and ECRs about allied careers in research.  The event featured five speakers from various science-related careers, including Simon Tucker (CEO, 360biolabs), Carolyn Tucek-Szabo (Head of Regulatory Affairs (Australasia) at Glaxo Smith Kline Pharmaceuticals), Catherine Osbourne (Business Manager, ELISAKIT.com), Amabel Tan (Life Sciences Solutions Consultant at Clarivate Analytics) and Rebecca Smith, Project Officer for VIIN.

Four young investigators from VIIN were also selected to give talks, as recipients of the VIIN Career Development Awards or VIIN Young Investigator Awards.  These speakers were Marcel Doeflinger (Walter and Eliza Hall Institute), Michaela Finsterbusch (Monash University), Charlotte Nejad (Hudson Institute of Medical Research) and Rhys Grinter (Monash University).

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Right: VIIN Award Winners, Michaela Finsterbusch (Monash University), Charlotte Nejad (Hudson Institute of Medical Research), Marcel Doerflinger (Walter and Eliza Hall Institute).

Another three students were recipients of Poster Prizes, judged on the quality of the poster and the work’s scientific merit, among other criteria.  The three winners were:

1st Prize: Angela Harrison, University of Melbourne

2nd Prize: Sashika Richards, Australian National University (sponsored by the Biochemical Journal)

3rd Prize: Liriye Kurtovic, Burnet Institute

Both Angela and Sashika were Science Bites presenters, which was a new feature of the conference program.  Science Bites talks were given in two sessions of the conference, with over 20 ECRs and students participating in the 3 minute talks, which served as an introduction to their poster presentations.  The quality of the speakers was outstanding and the short format was very engaging.

These initiatives, together with complementary and discounted registration rates for students, make the Lorne Infection and Immunity conference an excellent opportunity for students and ECRs to present their work and network with national and international colleagues. 

Plan to attend the Lorne Infection and Immunity Conference in 2018! (14-16 February)

The VIIN also hosts a number of events aimed at Postgraduate Students and Early Career Researchers throughout the year. For more details on upcoming VIIN events>

View more photos from the 2017 Lorne Infection and Immunity Conference>


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