HOT NORTH (Improving Health Outcomes in the Tropical North: A multidisciplinary Collaboration) tackles enduring challenges by value-adding to established research collaborations, aiming to close the gap in Indigenous health disadvantage, to protect the north from emerging infectious threats and to engage regional neighbours.

The tropical north faces three enduring challenges: 

  • to improve the health of Indigenous populations
  • to support, grow and retain health care professionals and scientists
  • to optimise disease surveillance, communication and research translation.

HOT NORTH’s integrated research agenda brings together biological, sociological, environmental and health service research expertise across tropical Australia and regional neighbours. 

This approach enables the development of a unified response to critical health issues, to building capacity of health services and advance knowledge in Australia, our region and globally.

It also provides a rich training ground for health workforce development and professional advancement. HOT NORTH will provide interdisciplinary and cross-sectoral training for the next generation of academic experts, health leaders within the community sector and the officials and technical specialists within governments. 

The program has five key research themes: 

  • skin health
  • respiratory health
  • antimicrobial resistance
  • chronic disease, and
  • vector-borne and emerging diseases. 

Research translation will be directed by and achieved through five peak committees:

  • Executive Steering Group
  • Indigenous Governance Committee
  • Laboratory Advisory Board
  • Research Translation, Policy and Practice Advisory Board
  • Northern Neighbours Advisory Board

The program has an ambitious plan that will:

  • Generate new knowledge that leads to improved health outcomes
  • Promote effective transfer of research outcomes into health policy and / or practice
  • Develop the health and medical research workforce by providing opportunities to advance the training of new researchers, particularly those with a capacity for independent research and future leadership roles
  • Formalise the already active collaboration across more than four CREs and twenty large projects and programs working in priority areas.  

The second of four rounds of Research Fellowships have been awarded with funding commencing in 2018. 

Vector Borne and Emerging Infectious Diseases theme:

Molecular epidemiology of P. vivax: Monitoring parasite transmission and drug resistance in the Asia-Pacific region
Dr Sarah Auburn, Menzies
Supervisor: Prof Ric Price, Menzies

Development of a non-powered and CO2- free system for mosquito-borne disease surveillance
Dr Dagmar Meyer, JCU
Supervisor: Prof Scott Ritchie, James Cook University

Skin Health theme:

Group A Streptococcus skin infections, antibiotic resistance and acute rheumatic fever 
Dr Timothy Barnett, Telethon Kids Institute
Supervisor: Prof Jonathan Carapetis, Telethon Kids Institute

Chronic Disease theme:

A case-study approach to understanding complexities of Type 2 diabetes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people aged 15-24 in Northern Australia.
Dr Renae Kirkham, Menzies
Supervisor: Prof Louise Maple-Brown, Menzies

Implementation and evaluation of an innovative student-led rehabilitation and lifestyle service in Northern Australia for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with chronic and disabling conditions: A pilot study
Dr Alice Cairns, JCU
Supervisor: Prof Robyn McDermott, James Cook University

Antimicrobial Resistance theme:

Cross jurisdictional surveillance of drug resistant infections across northern Australia: a system-level approach to surveillance and response.
Dr Teresa Wozniak, Menzies
Supervisor: Assoc Prof Anna Ralph, Menzies


The third round of Pilot Project funding has been awarded with funding commencing in early 2018.

Vector Borne and Emerging Infectious Diseases theme:

Application of Next Generation Sequencing of mosquito excreta to identify arboviruses, microorganisms and mosquito species 
Dr Andrew van den Hurk, JCU
Supervisor: Prof Scott Ritchie, James Cook University

Genomics for Undiagnosed Infectious Disease Evaluation and Diagnosis in Northern Australia (GUIDED-North Australia)
Dr Paul Horwood, JCU
Supervisor: Prof John McBride, James Cook University

Skin Health theme:

Molecular Detection of Scabies by PCR Using a Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) Approach 
Prof James McCarthy, QIMR
Supervisor: Prof Bart Currie, Menzies 

Chronic Disease theme:

Estimating the prevalence of diabetes diagnosed in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and youth aged <25 years, across northern Australia via an audit of all available primary health care, community-based and hospital-based resources.
Dr Aveni Haynes, Menzies
Supervisors: Prof Louise Maple-Brown, Menzies and Prof Alex Brown, South Australia Health and Medical Research Institute

Respiratory Health theme:

Dual-centre double blind randomised controlled trial (RCT) on the utility of personalised bronchiectasis action management plans (BAMP) for children with bronchiectasis 
Dr Gabrielle McCallum , Menzies 
Supervisor: Prof Anne Chang, Menzies


The second round of Pilot Project funding has been awarded for 2017. Successful projects cover a range of HOT NORTH themes.

Chronic Disease and Skin Health themes:

Rapid echo detection of rheumatic heart disease
Dr Joshua Francis, Menzies

Antimicrobial Resistance, second: Skin Health, third: Respiratory Health themes:

The right drug for the right bug – improving antibiotic use in remote northern Australia
Prof Jodie Vernon, Doherty Institute

Respiratory Health theme:

What causes pneumonia in children and adults living in tropical Australia
 Dr Simon Smith, JCU

Respiratory Health theme:

How common is prolonged cough in Aboriginal children living in the Kimberley?
Dr Andre Schultz, Telethon Kids Institute

Skin Health theme:

Monitoring antibiotic resistance directly from skin sore swabs
Dr Timothy Barnett, Telethon Kids Institute

Chronic Diseases theme:

Understanding links between diabetes in pregnancy and infection in the new-born
Dr Susan Pizzutto, Menzies


The first of four rounds of Research Fellowships have been awarded, with funding commencing in 2017: 

Vector Borne and Emerging Infectious Diseases theme:

Can mosquito excreta be used to enhance detection of Australian vector-borne diseases?
Dr Dagmar Meyer ECF, JCU
Supervisor: Prof Scott Ritchie, JCU

Antimicrobial Resistance theme:

Epidemiology and treatment of malaria in Sabah, Malaysia: longitudinal patterns of disease, acquisition risk factors, antimalarial drug resistance, and adjunctive therapy for acute kidney injury
Dr Matthew Grigg ECF, Menzies
Supervisor: Prof Nick Anstey, Menzies

Chronic Diseases theme:

Torres Strait Healthy Young Women's Project
Dr Karla Canuto ECF, JCU
Supervisor: Prof Robyn McDermott, JCU

Skin Health theme:

Do Group A Streptococcus isolates causing skin infections in remote WA encode genes that correlate with disease severity, antibiotic resistance, or adverse immunological outcomes?
Dr Timothy Barnett CDF,TKI
Supervisor: Prof Jonathan Carapetis, TKI

Respiratory Health theme:

Genomic Public Health in Australian Indigenous Communities and Developing Countries
A/Prof Heidi Smith-Vaughan CDF, Menzies
Supervisor: Prof Anne Chang, Menzies


The first round of Pilot Project funding has been awarded for 2017. Successful projects cover a range of HOT NORTH themes.

Vector Borne and Emerging Infectious Diseases theme:

Effect of regularly dosed paracetamol on renal function in Plasmodium knowlesi malaria (PACKNOW Study)
Chief Investigator: Dr Daniel Cooper

Can mosquito excreta be used to enhance detection of Australian vector-borne diseases?
Chief Investigator: Professor Scott A. Ritchie

Antimicrobial Resistance theme:

Genomic Epidemiology of Tuberculosis in the Northern Territory
Chief Investigator: Dr Ella Meumann

Enhanced screening and preventive therapy for TB in Daru, South Fly District, Papua New Guinea (ESCAPE-TB)
Chief Investigator: Dr Suman Majumdar

Chronic Diseases theme:

Exploration of child feeding practices in Indigenous Australians
Chief Investigator: Dr Athira Rohit

Skin Health theme:

Clindamycin Adjunctive therapy for Severe Staphylococcus aurEus TreaTment Evaluation (CASSETTE)
Chief Investigator: Associate Professor Steven Tong

 

 
Congratulations to the following students, who have been awarded HOT NORTH PhD Scholarships:
 
 

Student

Administering

Institution

Themes

HOT NORTH

Investigator

Title

Frieda McLoughlin

TKI

Skin Health

Asha Bowen

StoP Trial (See, Treat, Prevent) Scabies and Skin Sores: Evaluation of a Stepped Wedge, Cluster Randomised Controlled Trial

Pamela D'Sylva

TKI

Respiratory Health 

Anne Chang 

Improving the management and clinical outcomes of chronic suppurative lung disease in Aboriginal children in Western Australia.

Aaron Weinman

Doherty Institute 

Respiratory Health

Steven Tong 

The epidemiology of Influenza in Northern Australia 

 


 

CDU Funded PhD Students
Student

Administering

Institution

Theme

HOT NORTH 

Investigator

Title
Trisasi Lestari Menzies/CDU  Antimicrobial Resistance Anna Ralph

Strengthening health systems to improve tuberculosis contact
screening and management in Timika, Indonesia 

Will Cunningham Menzies/CDU  Anttimicrobial Resistance Anna Ralph Epidemiology and economic burden of antimicrobial resistance in northern Australia
Vicki Kerrigan Menzies/CDU  Chronic Diseases                     Anna Ralph Intercultural communication between Indigenous patients and non-Indigenous health practitioners in the Northern Territory
 
HOT NORTH Undergraduate Scholarships
Student

Administering
Institution

Theme

HOT
NORTH
Investigator

Title 

Lucy
Davidson

TKI Skin Health  Asha Bowen

Baseline data collection for the SToP trial: See, Treat, Prevent Skin Sores
and Scabies

Sarah 
Pearce
TKI Skin 
Health
Asha Bowen Measuring the burden of pharyngitis and impetigo in Australian Aboriginal children
Jack Anstey TKI Skin Health Asha Bowen A comparison of media for Antimicrobial Susceptibility Testing of Streptococcus pyogenes – is blood required in media? 

 


HOT NORTH Honours Scholarship

The scholarship is for an Honours student (or equivalent) who undertakes their research project in one of the following fields of research:

Skin Health; Respiratory Health; Antimicrobial Resistance; Chronic Diseases; Vector Borne and Emerging Diseases.

Scholarships are open to domestic students (Australian citizens and Permanent Residents) across Australia who have been accepted into an Honours program (or equivalent) at Charles Darwin University, James Cook University or the University of Western Australia

To apply:
Applications are welcome at any time.
 

 

View the profiles of some of our HOT NORTH researchers by clicking on the links below.

 

  1. docx

    HOT NORTH Honours Scholarship application form 2018

    Attachment
    HOT NORTH Honours Scholarship application form_FINAL.docx

  2. pdf

    HOT NORTH Honours Scholarship Information Sheet 2018

    Attachment
    HOT NORTH Honours Scholarship Information Sheet 2018.pdf

Chief investigators
Associate investigators
  • Professor Alex Brown, South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute
  • Associate Professor Anna Ralph, Menzies School of Health Research  
  • Professor Cheryl Jones, Department of Paediatrics, University of Melbourne
  • Dr Christopher Blyth, Telethon Kids Institute
  • Professor James McCarthy, QIMR Berghofer
  • Dr Joshua Hanson, Menzies School of Health Research 
  • Professor Ric Price, Menzies School of Health Research 
  • Professor Robyn McDermott, James Cook University
  • Professor Scott Ritchie, James Cook University
  • Associate Professor Steven Tong, Doherty Institute
Research fellows:
 

2017:

2018

Administration:
  1. Katherine doctors push for more public housing

    Katherine doctors push for more public housing

    Date

    Katherine Times reports on the HOT NORTH Teaching Workshop.

  2. HOT NORTH Katherine Teaching Workshop 20-21 February

    HOT NORTH Katherine Teaching Workshop 20-21 February

    Date

    HOT NORTH, a four-year National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) funded research program led by Menzies School of Health Research (Menzies), is hosting a teaching workshop in Katherine, Northern Territory from 20-21 February 2018.

  3. Territory FM | Mornings with Mel Little. Professor Bart Currie

    Territory FM | Mornings with Mel Little. Professor Bart Currie

    Date

    ASK AN EXPERT: Wednesday the 7th of February 2018 Professor Bart Currie, HOT NORTH Program.

  4. Townsville Bulletin | HOT NORTH funding

    Townsville Bulletin | HOT NORTH funding

    Date

    North Queensland could be a “global leader” in tropical medicine as part of a multimillion-dollar research plan.Northern Australia Minister Matt Canavan said the program would be led by the Menzies School of Health Research and would build the region’s research capacity.

  5. HOT NORTH 2018 funding awards released: Building the health research workforce in northern Australia

    HOT NORTH 2018 funding awards released: Building the health research workforce in northern Australia

    Date

    A total of 13 new health research projects have been announced as part of HOT NORTH, a four-year National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) funded program led by Menzies School of Health Research (Menzies).

  6. Inspire magazine | HOT NORTH

    Inspire magazine | HOT NORTH

    Date

    HOT NORTH Director, Menzies’s Professor Bart Currie envisages that, “by building the capacity of health professionals and scientists in northern Australia, we’re working towards improvements in health outcomes not only for Australia, but also the Asia-Pacific region.

  7. HOT NORTH News - Issue 2

    HOT NORTH News - Issue 2

    Date

    Welcome to the 2017 wrap up edition. In 2017 HOT NORTH supported 22 researchers and their associated teams of supervisors and collaborators.

  8. HOT NORTH | Annual Summary of Progress

    HOT NORTH | Annual Summary of Progress

    Date

    This summary provides a snapshot of the activities underway in the first year of the HOT NORTH program.

  9. DFAT: Foreign policy in action - malaria research

    DFAT: Foreign policy in action - malaria research

    Date

    Matthew Grigg is a senior research fellow at the Menzies School of Health Research and spent several years researching mosquitoes and malaria while living in a small town called Kudat in Sabah, Malaysia.

  10. Developing Northern Australia 2017 Implementation Report

    Developing Northern Australia 2017 Implementation Report

    Date

    Page 20 - Case Study | The Australian Government funded HOT NORTH project has hit the ground running in 2017, and is building north Australia’s expertise and capacity in tropical medicine through research projects that will transfer new knowledge to communities.

  11. MJA Podcasts 2017 Episode 66: MRSA, with A/Prof John Ferguson, and Dr Jason Agostino

    MJA Podcasts 2017 Episode 66: MRSA, with A/Prof John Ferguson, and Dr Jason Agostino

    Date

    Associate Professor John Ferguson is an infection diseases specialist at John Hunter Hospital, and a microbiologist at the University of Newcastle. Dr Jason Agostino is a lecturer in general practice at the ANU. Discussing community associated MRSA and its changing epidemiology with MJA news and online editor, Cate Swannell.

  12. MRSA shifting from hospitals to community

    MRSA shifting from hospitals to community

    Date

    MJA InSight Issue 42 / 30 October 2017 - The epidemiology of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) has changed, and efforts to control transmission must also shift to include community settings as well as more traditional hospital surveillance and control programs, according to the authors of research published in the MJA.

  13. Monkey malaria researcher presented with NT Young Tall Poppy award

    Monkey malaria researcher presented with NT Young Tall Poppy award

    Date

    Dr Matthew Grigg's research into monkey malaria has already changed WHO treatment guidelines and saved lives across Southeast Asia, writes Sarah Condie - Cosmos Magazine

  14. Herald Sun | We are delivering for North: Joyce

    Herald Sun | We are delivering for North: Joyce

    Date

    THE Coalition is investing more than $6 billion in Northern Australia, on its way to delivering more than 50 of the recommendations from its white paper, according to Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce.

  15. HOT NORTH: A community of excellence in tropical medicine

    HOT NORTH: A community of excellence in tropical medicine

    Date

    The Australian Government funded HOT NORTH project has hit the ground running in 2017, and is building north Australia’s expertise and capacity in tropical medicine through research projects that will transfer new knowledge to communities.

  16. Katherine Times | Dr Grigg wins science award

    Katherine Times | Dr Grigg wins science award

    Date

    Menzies School of Health Research clinical research fellow Dr Matthew Grigg has been named the 2017 NT Young Tall Poppy Scientist of the Year.

  17. ‘Drink medicine’ works as well as injection to treat skin sores

    ‘Drink medicine’ works as well as injection to treat skin sores

    Date

    When a child is sick, they are never happy to have a painful needle injection. So being able to take a drink medicine instead is definitely a good thing.

  18. Burnet welcomes new regional Health Security Initiative

    Burnet welcomes new regional Health Security Initiative

    Date

    Burnet Institute has warmly welcomed the Australian Government’s new Indo-Pacific Health Security Initiative to combat the challenges of existing and emerging infectious diseases for Australia and our region.

  19. Act now to tame the superbugs that are killing 700,000 a year

    Act now to tame the superbugs that are killing 700,000 a year

    Date

    The UN general assembly recognised drug-resistant infections last year as one of the greatest threats facing humanity. And in May, G20 leaders called for national action plans by the end of 2018 – plans set in train by the World Health Organisation in 2015. But we have already lost momentum. Commitments are the first step, but nothing will be achieved if we don’t translate them into action

  20. Hot North News - Issue 1

    Hot North News - Issue 1

    Date

    Hello and welcome to the first edition of HOT NORTH NEWS. The purpose of this newsletter is to keep you informed of the latest developments happening in HOT NORTH. Here you will find information on research findings, funding opportunities, events, and the people and community that make it all possible.

  21. Empowering positive parenting feeding practices

    Empowering positive parenting feeding practices

    Date

    An early career researcher is looking into ways in which her work in nutrition research can support Indigenous parents and families to make healthy food choices for their children. Her team’s ultimate goal is empowering parents to help prevent...

  22. Research in the HOT NORTH

    Research in the HOT NORTH

    Date

    As part of the Improving Health Outcomes in the Tropical North: a multidisciplinary collaboration (HOT NORTH) being undertaken at the Telethon Kids Institute under the leadership of Prof Jonathan Carapetis, work is being done to improve methods for monitoring GAS antibiotic susceptibility.

  23. Territory Q features HOT NORTH

    Territory Q features HOT NORTH

    Date

    Read about our HOT NORTH collaboration in the latest Territory Q Magazine.

  24. E-news Healthy Tomorrow - Hot North Pilot Projects

    E-news Healthy Tomorrow - Hot North Pilot Projects

    Date

    The first six pilot projects have been funded to help close critical gaps in health outcomes in northern Australia and the Asia-Pacific region as part of the unique collaborative program Improving Health Outcomes in the Tropical North (HOT NORTH), led by Menzies. Twelve pilot projects per year will be supported by HOT NORTH.

  25. Mosquito poo could help to detect diseases

    Mosquito poo could help to detect diseases

    Date

    SCIENTISTS are experimenting with mozzie poo as a new method of controlling the spread of mosquito-borne diseases throughout tropical Australia. HOT NORTH

  26. HOT NORTH Fellowships to improve health outcomes in the tropics

    HOT NORTH Fellowships to improve health outcomes in the tropics

    Date

    Five post-doctoral health professionals have been awarded Fellowships to help close critical gaps in health outcomes in northern Australia and the Asia-Pacific region as part of the unique collaborative program Improving Health Outcomes in the Tropical North (HOT NORTH), led by the Darwin-based Menzies School of Health Research (Menzies).

  27. Funding boost to tackle health challenges in northern Australia

    Funding boost to tackle health challenges in northern Australia

    Date

    Work will begin to help close critical gaps in healthcare across northern Australia as the result of a $6m grant awarded today to Menzies School of Health Research (Menzies) by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC).

This list of resources developed from the research findings of HOT NORTH researchers.
  1. Video - Melioidosis and haemodialysis

    Video - Melioidosis and haemodialysis

    Date

    Menzies kidney specialist, Dr Jaqui Hughes, has developed videos to explain ways to prevent melioidosis for people in the Top End who need haemodialysis, who are at risk of developing melioidosis. She is working together with the melioidosis research team at Menzies and Top End Health Services.

  2. Video - Live well and take care: Protect yourself from a melioidosis infection

    Video - Live well and take care: Protect yourself from a melioidosis infection

    Date

    Menzies kidney specialist, Dr Jaqui Hughes, has developed videos to explain ways to prevent melioidosis for people in the Top End who need haemodialysis, who are at risk of developing melioidosis. She is working together with the melioidosis research team at Menzies and Top End Health Services.