August 14, 2015

A killer award for killer T cells

MELBOURNE, FRIDAY 14 AUGUST 2015: The Premier’s Award for Health & Medical Research celebrates the achievements of the brightest minds in medical and health research – two sectors in which Victoria leads, receiving 40 per cent of National Health and Medical Research Council funding annually.

It recognises excellence in the early careers of post-graduate researchers, and outstanding contributions to Victoria’s wellbeing, leadership and capability in the health sector.

On Thursday 13 August, Pellicci was presented with this annual Award. His research aims to better understand the role of NKT cells in the human body, in order to harness their potential for personalised therapeutics to treat allergens, infections and tumours.

“Specifically, my work examines how NKT cells interact with foreign lipid molecules expressed by microbes such as bacteria, and self-lipid molecules expressed by abnormal cells such as cancerous cells,” he explains.

In addition to this award-winning research being published in top journals such as Nature Immunology and Immunity, Pellicci’s work has met with acclaim from other sources – the Qiagen PhD award and several travel scholarships.

Presently, Pellicci is a Research Fellow at the Department of Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Melbourne. Looking forward, he hopes to continue his research with the ultimate goal of providing new insights into health and medicine that will contribute to breakthroughs in treatments.

But for now, receiving the commendation is the next big achievement for Pellicci: “It’s an absolute honour,” he says. “And I would especially like to thank those who have supported my research, including Professors Dale Godfrey and James McCluskey [the University of Melbourne] and Jamie Rossjohn [Monash University].”

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