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Fighting malaria and chronic bowel disease - CSL Centenary Fellowships awarded

Better malaria vaccines: Dr Michelle Boyle, Brisbane/Melbourne
Solving a chronic bowel disease mystery: Dr Samuel Forster, Melbourne/Cambridge

MELBOURNE – 13 October 2022 – Global biotherapeutics leader CSL today announced that two Australian scientists have each been awarded a CSL Centenary Fellowship of $1.25 million over five years. They are both investigating fundamental mysteries for the human immune system and applying their discoveries to the fight against microbes that cause chronic disease and suffering around the world. 

The Fellowships were presented at the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences Annual Meeting on Thursday 13 October 2022.

Dr Michelle Boyle and her team at QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute have discovered how our immune response to malaria can be disrupted by the malaria parasite, reducing the effectiveness of vaccination in children in malaria-affected communities. Malaria infects over 240 million people each year, keeping many of them in poverty. Children are particularly susceptible.

Now, with the help of the $1.25 million CSL Centenary Fellowship, she will work to bypass the parasite’s suppression of certain T cells critical to our body’s defences. Working at the Burnet Institute in Melbourne she will investigate the function of these T cells in infection and vaccination, and develop ways to boost protection against malaria.

Dr Samuel Forster will use his $1.25 million CSL Centenary Fellowship to investigate the causes of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and to attempt to design treatments.

IBD is a chronic, painful, and disruptive inflammation of the lining of the gut. It affects about 130,000 Australians. Its cause is a mystery, and it is incurable. Treatment can involve expensive immune suppression and surgery to remove parts of the gut.

Sam’s team, at the Hudson Institute of Medical Research in Melbourne, will apply the latest research tools in genomics, computational biology, stem cells, and microbiomics, to answer fundamental questions about the immunology of the gut.  He has already identified bacteria that appear to be blocking the normal, programmed death of cells lining the gut. His vision is to design safe and effective treatments for IBD.

CSL Chief Scientific Officer, Dr Andrew Nash said, “Dr Boyle and Dr Forster are both conducting research into serious chronic diseases and using the knowledge they gain to improve existing treatments and find new therapies.”

“Great science leads to great medicines and vaccines. Michelle and Sam are both advancing fundamental human knowledge, but with potential practical applications for diseases of global consequence.,” he said.

“It is this long-term purpose that the CSL Centenary Fellowships aim to support, by providing funding stability for leading mid-career Australian researchers and enabling the delivery of innovations that address rare and serious diseases and protect public health.”

About the CSL Centenary Fellowships

The Fellowships are competitively selected, high-value grants available to mid-career Australians who wish to continue a career in medical research in Australia.

They are open to medical researchers working on discovery or translational research with a focus on rare/serious diseases, immunology or inflammation and are overseen by a selection committee comprising three independent members and two CSL representatives. The 2023 committee was chaired by Dr Andrew Nash.

The Fellowships were established to mark 100 years since the establishment of CSL in 1916. Two individual, five-year, A$1.25 million fellowships are awarded each calendar year.

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About CSL

CSL Limited (ASX: CSL; USOTC:CSLLY) is a leading global biotechnology company with a dynamic portfolio of lifesaving medicines, including those that treat haemophilia and immune deficiencies, as well as vaccines to prevent influenza. Since our start in 1916, we have been driven by our promise to save lives using the latest technologies. Today, CSL – including our three businesses, CSL Behring, CSL Seqirus and CSL Vifor – provides lifesaving products to patients in more than 100 countries and employs 30,000 people. Our unique combination of commercial strength, R&D focus and operational excellence enables us to identify, develop and deliver innovations so our patients can live life to the fullest. For inspiring stories about the promise of biotechnology, visit and follow us on 

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