Leading infectious disease expert Professor Sharon Lewin has been appointed the inaugural Director of the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity at the University of Melbourne.

Professor Lewin is an internationally renowned researcher in HIV/AIDS and currently heads the Department of Infectious Diseases, Alfred Health and Monash University and is co-head of the Centre for Biomedical Research, Burnet Institute. She is the co-chair of the International AIDS Conference AIDS2014 to be held in Melbourne in July this year with Professor Francoise Barre-Sinoussi, President, International AIDS Society and 2008 Nobel Laureate for the co-discovery of HIV.
Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences at the University of Melbourne, Professor Stephen Smith warmly welcomed Professor Lewin’s appointment to be the first Director of the new Institute.
“Professor Lewin is an infectious diseases physician who will bring extensive research, clinical, and teaching experience to this role. She will work together with all our partners to establish the Peter Doherty Institute as one of the leading centres for research into infectious diseases and immunity in the world”, he said.

“Professor Lewin will take the Doherty to the forefront of technical advances in infectious diseases by bringing cutting-edge research directly to patient care thus leading to the best possible outcomes for patients.”

“The Institute will see students and doctors and scientists in training working alongside world renowned academics and clinicians to address the challenging issues of infectious diseases.”

University of Melbourne Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), Professor James McCluskey said the Doherty was a fine example of partnership between academia, hospitals and research.

“The Doherty will provide the most effective treatments in infectious disease immunity and will conduct world-leading research. It will deliver breakthroughs in cutting-edge advances and treatments and to the people of Victoria and beyond.”

“One of the key aspects of the Institute will be the patient participation in clinical trials.

“We are confident that such a new and productive medical research environment will give Victoria an economic boost and help deliver on our ambition to build a knowledge-based society.

This is about providing new industries; the knowledge industry based on excellence and innovation,” said Professor McCluskey.

Vice Chancellor Glyn Davis said the entire project has only been possible through generous funding from the Commonwealth and Victorian governments in conjunction with the University of Melbourne.

"The Institute was named after the esteemed Nobel Laureate (1996) and Laureate Professor at the University, Peter Doherty who is also the Patron of the Institute,”

Professor Doherty said Professor Lewin is one of the leading minds in Australia having received continuous research funding from national and international bodies since 1993.

“Professor Lewin is dedicated to understanding infectious diseases and the immune system. She is a world leader on conditions such as HIV and hepatitis B and her vision will make a difference to the conquest of disease,” said Professor Doherty.
Melbourne Health Chief Executive, Dr Gareth Goodier, said the Peter Doherty Institute was another strength in the acclaimed Parkville Precinct.

“The partnership between Melbourne Health and the University of Melbourne at the Doherty is a superb example of how we are all working together to bring medical research and innovation to our communities,” Dr Goodier said.

Professor Lewin is expected to begin her directorship of the Doherty in September 2014.

The Doherty brings together University of Melbourne's Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Microbiological Diagnostic Unit Public Health Laboratory, the Nossal Institute, Victorian Nosocomial Infection Surveillance System (VICNISS), Victorian Infectious Diseases Reference Laboratory (VIDRL) Victorian Infectious Diseases Service (VIDS) and the WHO Collaborating Centre for Reference and Research on Influenza.

The Peter Doherty Institute is a partnership between the University of Melbourne and Melbourne Health and is funded by the Commonwealth Government Education investment fund and the Victorian Government.