Carola Vinuesa from ANU wins two top NHMRC awards

ANU Professor Carola Vinuesa has been honoured as one of Australia's leading medical researchers with two prestigious awards from the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC).

Professor Vinuesa, from The John Curtin School of Medical Research (JCSMR), was part of a team that also included Dr Anselm Enders and Dr Simon Jiang named the NHRMC's top Project Grant application.

She was also named as the NHMRC's top female researcher in biomedical science in 2016, winning a prized Elizabeth Blackburn Fellowship for a second time.

The awards were announced at the annual NHMRC research excellence awards on Wednesday evening.

Professor Vinuesa is Head of Department of Immunology and Infectious Disease at JCSMR, where her team is investigating high quality antibody responses and the importance for protection against infection.

Since its launch in 2014, Professor Vinuesa has also been joint Director of the Centre for Personalised Immunology, where she has helped pioneer research into personalised medicine, using genetic sequences to tailor treatments for patients with systemic lupus and related autoimmune diseases.

ANU Vice-Chancellor Professor Brian Schmidt AC congratulated Professor Vinuesa on her latest award and her enormous contribution to medical research.

"Carola Vinuesa is a truly outstanding, internationally-renowned researcher who is helping to define a new field of personalised immunology," Professor Schmidt said.

"In 2011, Carola was awarded an Elizabeth Blackburn Fellowship, named in honour of Elizabeth Blackburn who won the 2009 Nobel Prize for Medicine. To be awarded a second Blackburn fellowship is an extraordinary achievement and testament to Carola's remarkable work at JCSMR.

"On behalf of the ANU community, I congratulate Professor Vinuesa her on her latest accolades and wish her every success with her ground-breaking research."

JCSMR Director Professor Simon Foote also congratulated Professor Vinuesa on her outstanding achievements, adding they were well deserved.

"Carola is an intellectual superstar and a very strong role model for the next generations of female scientists who are integral to the future success of our School. We are very fortunate to have her leadership," Professor Foote said.

The latest awards coincide with new research by Professor Vinuesa and co-researcher Ilenia Papa, published in Nature, on the discovery of brain-like activity within the human immune system.

The research opens the way to develop better treatments for autoimmune diseases and immunodeficiency disorders.

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