Tropical Australia is vulnerable to emerging and re-emerging infectious agents due to its geographic position, increased international travel, drug resistance and climatic and environmental changes.
The Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine (AITHM) brings together a wide range of internationally recognised research expertise in areas such as the control of vector borne diseases (dengue fever, malaria, and lymphatic filariasis), melioidosis, Group A streptococcal infection, strongyloidosis, and avian, amphibian and aquatic infections. A robust biosecurity system requires fundamental research into the mechanisms of these infectious agents, and research into improved public health surveillance and patient management. JCU research currently being conducted and planned are on vector control, surveillance and diagnostic, therapeutic and vaccine strategies, forming an integral part of the biosecurity agenda.
AITHM has developed strategic national and international collaborations including those with the Queensland Government’s Tropical Science Strategy; and the National Research Priorities identified by the Commonwealth Government. Research is conducted not only in collaboration with researchers in other research institutions, but also in public health organisations, quarantine, and agricultural and animal production sectors.
Through AITHM, JCU is now recognised as a world leader in tropical health and medical research and biotechnology and making a significant contribution to the health and economy of the community of northern Australia. James Cook University is a key partner in the Queensland Tropical Health Alliance (QTHA), part of the Government’s Q-Tropics strategy.