Geelong scientist receives Eureka recognition
Dr Wang is the Project Leader for the Molecular Detection group at CSIRO Livestock Industries’ Australian Animal Health Laboratory (AAHL) in Geelong, Victoria, and also heads research projects within the Australian Biosecurity Cooperative Research Centre for Emerging Infectious Disease (AB-CRC).
The focus of Dr Wang’s research is in the area of investigating the interaction of bats and viruses, in particular identification and characterisation of new and emerging infectious agents.
He has been involved in a number of recent significant discoveries. He played a leading role in identifying bats as the natural host of the SARS virus. Dr Wang also led Australian research efforts to characterise a new virus named Beilong. This discovery was the result of another global research partnership. The paramyxovirus is named after the two cities that collaborated – Beijing and Geelong.
More recently Dr Wang led an Australia-Malaysia collaboration that discovered a novel bat orthoreovirus – Melaka virus – which can cause an acute respiratory disease in humans. His team is continuing to investigate the Melaka virus and other new viruses, which may help improve the diagnosis and treatment of respiratory tract illness in humans.
CSIRO Livestock Industries’ Chief, Professor Alan Bell, said the research of Dr Wang and his team is becoming increasingly important because the ability to provide an accurate and rapid diagnosis enables a quick response which is crucial in helping contain the spread of an exotic or emerging disease.
“The identification and characterisation of these new viruses is extremely important, because some are causing threats to public health, livestock production and trade,” Professor Bell said.
He said the research being undertaken by Dr Wang also has a broader benefit to the Australian community.
“Approximately 75 per cent of emerging diseases of humans have originated in animals so the research undertaken by Dr Wang and his group at AAHL is not only relevant to animal health but is also directly relevant to human health.”
CSIRO’s Dr John Church was presented with the inaugural A$10,000 University of New South Wales Eureka Prize for scientific research at the Eureka Prizes Award Dinner last night in Sydney.
The Eureka Prizes Award Dinner is the highlight of the Eureka calendar bringing together more than 1,000 leaders from science, government, academia, business and the media to celebrate and reward outstanding Australian science.
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- Geelong scientist, Dr Linfa Wang, was last night honoured as a Eureka Prize finalist, recognising his exceptional scientific research in discovering emerging viral diseases such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)
- Dr Wang is the Project Leader for the Molecular Detection group at CSIRO Livestock Industries’ Australian Animal Health Laboratory (AAHL) in Geelong, Victoria, and also heads research projects within the Australian Biosecurity Cooperative Research Centre for Emerging Infectious Disease (AB-CRC)