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14 Feb 2017

Dr Amy Chung awarded prestigious amfAR KRIM Fellowship

Doherty Institute Postdoctoral scientist Dr Amy Chung is one of six recipients internationally and the only Australian, to be awarded a prestigious Mathilde Krim Fellowship in Basic Biomedical Research for her HIV vaccine research.

The Fellowships are presented annually by The Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR), in honour of the organisation’s founding chairman, Dr Mathilde Krim, to support bright young scientists seeking innovative solutions to HIV and AIDS.

Based in University of Melbourne Professor Stephen Kent’s laboratory, Dr Chung will use her Krim Fellowship, USD$150,000 over two years, to study the mechanisms by which different types of antibodies interact, with the aim of producing an effective HIV vaccine.

“My project is focused on understanding how a specific type of antibody, called IgA, can modulate antiviral HIV immune responses,” Dr Chung explained.

“We plan to investigate the role of IgA using samples from the RV144 vaccine trial, the only human HIV vaccine trial with some level of protective efficacy, along with samples from HIV-infected subjects known as controllers, rare HIV-infected individuals that naturally have the ability to control the virus.”

Dr Chung said she hopes the project will help provide new insights behind the mechanisms of how these antibodies work, vital information that will help guide the development of future antibody therapeutic treatments and vaccine strategies against HIV.

“Being awarded a Krim Fellowship is a huge honour, it reinforces the importance of my current HIV research and is a huge stepping stone for my career,” she said.

Dr Chung is one of two Krim Fellows from Australia, with Dr Megan Crane formerly from Doherty Institute Director, University of Melbourne Professor Sharon Lewin’s laboratory, awarded a fellowship in 2011.