Gates Funding for VIIN Researchers18 March 2015
Infection and immunity researchers at MIMR-PHI Institute’s Centre for Innate Immunity and Infectious Diseases have received $1M AUD from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to investigate the relationship between progesterone contraceptives and an increased susceptibility to sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV.
The research group, headed by VIIN co-convenor Professor Paul Hertzog, has previously characterised the novel cytokine Interferon Epsilon (IFN-ε) and its role in regulating immunity to STIs in the female reproductive tract. This work was published in Science in 2013.
Professor Hertzog (pictured above) will lead a team of international research collaborators including scientist Professor Sam Mesiano from Case Western Reserve University and clinician-researcher Professor Sharon Achilles from the University of Pittsburgh, to conduct a comprehensive 18-month investigation into the mechanism behind progesterone regulation of IFN-ε and the identification of biomarkers for monitoring IFN-ε activity in women.