A Menzies School of Health Research (Menzies) project has been recognised amongst the nation’s premier research projects by Australia’s peak body for health and medical research.

The project which uses DNA technology to look at why melioidosis is increasing in urban areas in the Northern Territory was one of three projects Australia-wide to receive a Project Grant Excellence Award by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC).

Chief Investigator, Professor Bart Currie, said the award was a fantastic result for the project team and highlighted an important body of work in tropical health.

“The Darwin Prospective Melioidosis Study has already led to improved therapy and public health initiatives,” he said.

“New technology to sequence whole bacterial genomes now provides an opportunity to determine why urban melioidosis is increasing and to analyse a unique 24+ year set of bacteria and their linked patient data to find the important bacterial factors, forming a foundation for future diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccines," said Prof Currie.

“Congratulations to our Menzies team of Mark Mayo, Mirjam Kaestli, Erin Price and Derek Sarovich on being recognised amongst the country’s highest ranking applicants.”

Menzies Director, Professor Alan Cass, said the Excellence Award reinforces Menzies’ status as a national leader in Indigenous and tropical health research.

“This award recognises the project grant, under the expert guidance of Professor Currie, as being rated in the top 0.1 per cent of all projects submitted during the 2012 round of funding,” he said.

“This award, coupled with our recent result in the 2013 round of NHMRC funding, which saw Menzies awarded more than $9 million in competitive grants and fellowships at a success rate double the Australia average, speaks to the very high quality of our research.”

The Excellence Awards recognise and reward achievement in the highly competitive health and medical research field. This year’s award winners represent the top 20 of the 5236 applications peer reviewed for funding in 2012, with the Menzies melioidosis project being one of only three Project Grants from across Australia to receive the award.

For a complete list award recipients view the NHMRC media release.