QUT Advance Queensland COVID-19 Industry Research Fellowships

Seven QUT researchers have been awarded Advance Queensland Industry Research Fellowships in a round of research funding focused on COVID-19.

Queensland Minister for State Development, Tourism and Innovation Kate Jones announced a total of more than $6.15 million for COVID-19 Industry Research Fellowships awarded to 32 Queensland-based researchers.

QUT recipients of the Research Fellowships are:

Dr Aaron McFadyen, School of Electrical Engineering and Robotics, Science and Engineering Faculty – $300,000 for drone management technology to improve our aeromedical response to pandemics and natural disasters.

Unmanned aircraft can play an important role during disaster events, delivering critical medicines and supplies to vulnerable people and isolated communities.

Dr McFadyen is developing software to enable automatic and near real-time drone flight approvals in regional and metropolitan locations. A tool that streamlines flight approvals will boost the safe use of drones in more locations and enhance Queensland’s readiness to respond to future pandemics and large-scale natural disasters.

The work is in partnership with Airservices Australia.

Dr Alka Jaggessar, School of Mechanical, Medical and Process Engineering, Science and Engineering Faculty – $180,000 for research using nanotechnology to develop antiviral and antibacterial surfaces for Queensland hospitals.

Dr Jaggessar’s fellowship will focus on nanotextured surfaces that reduce the spread of SARS-CoV-2 (which causes COVID-19), other viruses and antibiotic-resistant bacteria. This research will also help prepare Queensland in the event of future pandemics.

Dr Jaggessar will work with the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, Panda Healthcare, Sri Medical Devices and Healthcare Solutions.

Naomi Paxton, School of Mechanical, Medical and Process Engineering, Science and Engineering Faculty and Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation – $180,000 for rapid response medical manufacturing.

This project looks to develop novel 3D-printed respirator face masks for healthcare workings treating COVID-19 patients and use local manufacturing to increase supplies in Queensland hospitals.

It also invoves engaging with community 3D printing labs to ensure safe production of PPE (personal protective equipment) and other medical products during crisis responses.

Ms Paxton will work with Metro North Hospital and Health Service, 3D Systems and CSIRO.

Dr Mark Adams, Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation – $150,000 for research into stopping COVID-19 by targeting viral replication.

Dr Adams will investigatie the effectiveness of a novel anti-cancer therapeutic candidate, DLSK02, as an inhibitor of SARS-CoV-2. The research looks at using therapeutic treatment to switch off the virus’s ability to replicate, and reduce severity of COVID-19 symtoms.

The Princess Alexandra Hospital and Queensland-based CARP Pharmaceuticals are partnering in the project.

Dr Lisa Philp, School of Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Health – $150,000 for research into new drugs that target hyperinflammation, to prevent and treat respiratory failure in COVID-19 patients.

Acute respiratory distress syndrome is a life-threatening condition for people who contract COVID-19.

This research is investigating potent drugs that target the receptors within the body that cause an extreme immune system overreaction and the hyperactive inflammatory response that underpins patients’ rapid decline due to respiratory failure.

Dr Philp will work with Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, Princess Alexandra Hospital ICU, Translational Research Institute, and two US-based pharmaceutical partners.

Dr Kristyan Guppy-Coles, School of Chemistry and Physics, Science and Engineering Faculty – $90,000 for the development and validatation of a Raman spectroscopy assay for COVID-19 antigen detection in body fluid.

COVID-19 is found in nose and throat mucus as well as saliva, and current nasal and throat swab testing is complex, time-consuming and costly.

This project aims to develop and validate a low-cost, highly-accurate swab test using nanosensor technology that detects the virus in body fluid and returns results as rapidly as possible – in minutes as opposed to hours.

Dr Guppy-Coles will work with FLEW Solutions, Sullivan Nicolaides Pathology and Metrohm.

Dr Nicole White, School of Public Health and Social Work, Faculty of Health – $55,000 for statistical modelling to support clinical decision-making for critically ill COVID-19 patients.

Dr White’s fellowship will develop sophisticated statistical models to assist clinicians with complex decisions about the best treatments to use for different patients – to improve patient outcomes and optimise the use of healthcare resources.

The Prince Charles Hospital and the Prince Charles Hospital Foundation are partnering in the project.