IMPACT REPORT 2021

Impact Report 2021

Immunofluorescence confocal microscopy image of a human nasal epithelium organoid (Image credit: Dr Bang Tran and Professor Elizabeth Vincan, Doherty Institute)

Immunofluorescence confocal microscopy image of a human nasal epithelium organoid (Image credit: Dr Bang Tran and Professor Elizabeth Vincan, Doherty Institute)

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

In 2021, we entered the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic. There was no timeline for COVID-19, no end date yet.

But we knew this: our scientists remained resolute in their search for answers to better understand this infectious disease and learn the lessons so that we can be better prepared for the next one.

A joint venture between the University of Melbourne and The Royal Melbourne Hospital, the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity (Doherty Institute) was purpose-built to bring together experts in infectious diseases and immunology in order to find solutions to prevent, treat and cure infectious diseases.

Our 2021 Impact Report is replete with stories of our research, clinical, public health and teaching successes identified through our themes and cross-cutting disciplines. It includes personal narratives by some of our staff and is punctuated by the many achievements of the Institute in 2021.

The Doherty Institute continues to be at the forefront of the COVID-19 pandemic response, by leading in mathematical modelling and contributing to understanding transmission through genomic sequencing, as well as working on diagnostics, vaccines and novel antiviral treatments.

Throughout the year, we sustained infection and immunity work beyond COVID-19, even as our staff and students continued to work and learn from home over a prolonged period under public health orders.

To navigate this report, simply scroll downwards or use the menu at the top of the screen to go directly to key sections. Throughout the report, which this year includes a financial summary, you can click through to linked stories to learn more about the breadth and depth of work that occurred during the year across our key research themes and cross-cutting disciplines.

Message from the Director

If I were to give the story of 2021 a title, it would be ‘The Road Out of Lockdown and Toward a Very Bright Future’.  

We now live relatively normal lives, and I am immensely proud of what the Doherty Institute achieved over that time.  

Our role in the response to COVID evolved over 2021.  Most prominent was our leadership in mathematical modelling, however, we continued to make major contributions to Australia’s COVID response, ranging from understanding the immune response to SARS-CoV-2, using genomics to understand transmission networks, to developing vaccines, and exploration of novel antiviral treatments.  

Message from the Patron

At least for Australia, our Institute is structured in a way that has proven to be uniquely 'fit for purpose' during the COVID-19 pandemic. On the one hand, we house the 'immediate response' teams of infectious disease physicians (Victorian Infectious Disease Service, VIDS), and the sophisticated laboratory-based diagnosticians of the Victorian Infectious Disease Reference Laboratory (VIRDRL) and the Microbiology Diagnostic Unit (MDU). In the same building are the established academic researchers, emerging investigators and graduate and undergraduate students of two leading university departments - the Department of Microbiology and Immunology and the Department of Infectious Diseases. One result has been, particularly in the human immunology area, outstanding research publications that benefit from synergies between these different areas of expertise.

Melbourne Laureate Professor Sharon Lewin
Nobel Laureate Professor Peter Doherty


2021 IN THE NUMBERS

Microscope

50+
Research groups

People icon

890+
Staff

Graduation icon

150+
Graduate researchers

Rocket icon

20+
PhD graduations

Megaphone icon

35,700+
Media mentions

Award icon

4
World Health Organization Collaborating Centres

Globe icon

27
Collaborating countries

AWARDS AND GRANTS

24
Awards

34+
Grants

PUBLICATIONS

623
Doherty Institute
affiliated publications

FINANCIAL SUMMARY

$161.94m
Total annual income

$66.54m
Australian competitive grant income

$21.03m
Public sector funding

$3.87m
Philanthropic donations

INCOME BREAKDOWN

Australian grant income
Public sector funding
Philanthropic donations
Other Grant Income
Service income
Other Income

Lymph node by Sapna Devi.

Lymph node by Sapna Devi.


OUR WORK

Pipetting into tube

Immunology

Electron microscopy image of SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant

Viral Infectious Diseases

Dr Jean Lee conducting an antimicrobial resistance susceptibility test at the Doherty Institute

Antimicrobial Resistance

Mosquito on water

Bacterial and Parasitic Infections

people crossing road near yellow train. Photo by Weyne Yew on Unsplash

Public Health

VIDS ward at Royal Melbourne Hospital

Clinical and Health Systems Research

Masked crowd in Fiji participating in World Antimicrobial Awareness Week

Global Health

Computational Science and Genomics

People participating in a workshop at the Doherty Institute

Education and Professional Development

Water running through hands

Indigenous Health

Peter Doherty and Sonya Pembleton

2021 reflections

Confocal microscopy image blue and greens

OUR SUPPORTERS

Sincere thanks to our supporters whose generosity helped propel research and discoveries in diagnostics, vaccines and therapeutics that will ultimately improve health globally and save lives.

Hear from our featured supporters the late Lionel Gell AM and Geoff Cumming.

Confocal microscopy image blue and greens

'Seaweed' confocal microscopy image by Dr Bang Tranh

'Seaweed' confocal microscopy image by Dr Bang Tranh

EVENT HIGHLIGHTS

Unveiling the SARS-COV-2 sculpture to acknowledge the dedication of our staff and graduate researchers, who worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic.

Unveiling the SARS-COV-2 sculpture to acknowledge the dedication of our staff and graduate researchers, who worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic.

Nobel Laureate Professor Peter Doherty

Nobel Laureate Professor Peter Doherty

SARS-CoV-2 sculpture

SARS-CoV-2 sculpture

Image of panel at event, COVID-19 vaccines; your questions answered

Panel discussion at event, Covid-19 vaccines: your questions answered

Panel discussion at event, Covid-19 vaccines: your questions answered

Doherty Institute Graduate Researcher Symposium

Doherty Institute Graduate Researcher Symposium

Doherty Institute Virtual Open Day

Doherty Institute Virtual Open Day

Organoids Are Us (OrU)

Organoids Are Us (OrU)

Organoids Are Us (OrU) behind the scenes

Organoids Are Us (OrU) behind the scenes

Genomics Gone Viral Symposium

Genomics Gone Viral Symposium

Doherty Institute expands mobile diagnostic testing fleet.

Doherty Institute expands mobile diagnostic testing fleet.

Doherty Institute expands mobile diagnostic testing fleet.

Doherty Institute expands mobile diagnostic testing fleet.

AIID Foundation Partner representatives sign agreement.

AIID Foundation Partner representatives sign agreement.

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Unveiling the SARS-COV-2 sculpture to acknowledge the dedication of our staff and graduate researchers, who worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic.

Unveiling the SARS-COV-2 sculpture to acknowledge the dedication of our staff and graduate researchers, who worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic.

Nobel Laureate Professor Peter Doherty

Nobel Laureate Professor Peter Doherty

SARS-CoV-2 sculpture

SARS-CoV-2 sculpture

Image of panel at event, COVID-19 vaccines; your questions answered

Panel discussion at event, Covid-19 vaccines: your questions answered

Panel discussion at event, Covid-19 vaccines: your questions answered

Doherty Institute Graduate Researcher Symposium

Doherty Institute Graduate Researcher Symposium

Doherty Institute Virtual Open Day

Doherty Institute Virtual Open Day

Organoids Are Us (OrU)

Organoids Are Us (OrU)

Organoids Are Us (OrU) behind the scenes

Organoids Are Us (OrU) behind the scenes

Genomics Gone Viral Symposium

Genomics Gone Viral Symposium

Doherty Institute expands mobile diagnostic testing fleet.

Doherty Institute expands mobile diagnostic testing fleet.

Doherty Institute expands mobile diagnostic testing fleet.

Doherty Institute expands mobile diagnostic testing fleet.

AIID Foundation Partner representatives sign agreement.

AIID Foundation Partner representatives sign agreement.

GOVERNANCE

The Doherty Institute is a joint venture between The University of Melbourne and The Royal Melbourne Hospital, with a governance structure that supports integration and fosters collaboration, strong leadership and management, creating a unified organisation.