2016 Discovery Award Winner: Dr Rebecca Coll

Research Australia
Health & Medical Research Awards

2016 Griffith University Discovery Award

The Griffith University Discovery Award recognises an early career researcher (no more
than five years post PhD) whose discovery has already demonstrated its importance or impact

Congratulations to Award Winner

Dr Rebecca Coll
Institute of Molecular Bioscience
University of Queensland

Dr Rebecca Coll is an Early Career Researcher at The University of Queensland (UQ) Institute for Molecular Bioscience (IMB), studying innate immunity and novel anti-inflammatory drugs.

Over the last five years Rebecca’s research has focused on inflammasomes – protein complexes at the heart of inflammation and disease – and how these complexes can be targeted therapeutically to prevent damaging inflammation. To further her understanding in this area of research Rebecca moved to Australia to work with inflammasome expert Dr Kate Schroder.

During this time Rebecca led the biological characterisation of a small molecule drug that inhibits the NLRP3 inflammasome. The NLRP3 inflammasome is an important mediator of many human inflammatory diseases such as type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, gout, multiple sclerosis, and atherosclerosis. There are currently no therapeutics clinically available that specifically target NLRP3, and so this lead compound is a very exciting prospect as a first-in-class new therapy for treating patients with a range of NLRP3-mediated diseases.

In February 2015 Rebecca’s work on the NLRP3 inflammasome was published in Nature Medicine. Following this high profile publication, Rebecca was an invited speaker at the 8th International Congress of Familial Mediterranean Fever and Systemic Autoinflammatory Diseases in Dresden (October 2015).

Rebecca’s work has helped to identify intellectual property that is the subject of filed patents, for which she is one of the named inventors. Inflazome Ltd, a company founded on this intellectual property discovered at The University of Queensland and Trinity College Dublin has closed a Series A financing round of up to €15 million (A$22 million).  The investment, co-led by two leading global life science investment firms, Novartis Venture Fund and Fountain Healthcare Partners, is one of the largest biotech series A investments for intellectual property originating from an Australian university.

Rebecca is passionate about improving research commercialisation outcomes and was recently awarded a UQ Research-Industry Fellowship that will enable her to build on her experience in engaging with industry and developing new targets for anti-inflammatory therapies.

Image Caption: Prof Sheena Reilly [Griffith University], Nadia Levin [Research Australia], Dr Felicity Davis, Dr Rebecca Coll and Prof Christine Bennett [Research Australia]

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