Last night at a gala event in Sydney, Australia Museum Eureka prizes were awarded for outstanding achievements in research and innovation, teaching, leadership, communication and journalism.
Of the 18 awards on offer, Professor Jamie Rossjohn, from the School of Biomedical Sciences’ Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, together with Professor James McCluskey and Dr Lars Kjer-Nielsen from the University of Melbourne won the University of New South Wales Eureka Prize for Scientific Research.
The team uncovered what activates a widespread, but, until recently, mysterious gut-dwelling immune cell. They noticed that a protein from these cells only formed properly in the presence of by-products of vitamin B, which are formed by invasive bacteria and yeast. It became clear that these vitamin B metabolites were providing early warning to our immune system.
This discovery will improve our understanding of the interplay between gut bacteria and the immune system, infections from thrush to TB, and open up opportunities for vaccine development and other therapeutics.
For more information: http://australianmuseum.net.au/eureka.
Image: Australian Museum Eureka Prizes and photographer Daniel O’Doherty.