Researchers awarded Australian Laureate Fellowships

Two Monash University researchers have today been awarded highly prestigious Australian Laureate Fellowships from the Australian Research Council and have received almost $6m in funding for their projects.

NHMRC Australia Fellow, Professor Jamie Rossjohn, Biomedicine Discovery Institute, Faculty of Medicine, and Professor Peter Cawood, School of Earth, Atmosphere and Environment were announced as recipients of the 2016 Australian Laureate Fellowships, at a ceremony in Canberra this morning.

Professor Rossjohn will continue his work to make landmark discoveries in the life sciences with research that will provide a basic understanding of how key immune recognition events enable immunity.

Professor Rossjohn said his project would be supported by the cross-disciplinary approaches within the ARC Centre of Excellence in Advanced Molecular Imaging, key platform technologies at Monash and the Australian Synchrotron.

“This recognition is always a consequence of a team effort – students and researchers of the laboratory, collaborators, and Monash University. Here, I would like to acknowledge the support of the ARC team within the Monash research office – they were superb in ensuring my application was in the best possible shape,” Professor Rossjohn said.

Most recognised for his contributions to understanding the function and dysfunction of the immune system, Professor Rossjohn has provided profound insight into T-cell biology. He has used structural biology to explain T-cell development and pioneered our understanding of lipid-based immunity by T-cells, recently showing how vitamin B metabolites represent an entirely new and important target for the immune system.

Professor Peter Cawood’s work ranges in scale from global reconstructions to microscopic examination of mineral grains. He is currently Chair in Geology and Head of the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of St Andrews, Scotland. Through today’s funding, Professor Cawood will lead a project at Monash that aims to establish the origin and evolution of the continental crust and its role in the long-term development of the Earth system.

“I’m excited to return to Australia and to work with colleagues at Monash to build a world-class science team to establish the origin of the continental crust, its links in controlling the evolution of our planet’s environment, and to further unlock its resource potential,” Professor Cawood said.

Monash University’s Vice-Provost (Research), Professor Pauline Nestor said the fellowships awarded to Professor Rossjohn and Professor Cawood were recognition of the potential global impact of their research work.

“Congratulations to both Professor Rossjohn and Professor Cawood on this deserved recognition. Their projects are significant and showcase our world-class research capabilities,” Professor Nestor said.

Laureate Fellowships were announced in the morning Friday 6 May by the Federal Minister for Education and Training, Hon. Simon Birmingham.