Monash University professor receives GSK Australia Award for Research

By Staff Writers
Wednesday, 18 August, 2010

This year’s prestigious GlaxoSmithKline Australia Award for Research has gone to Monash University’s Professor Charles Mackay for his work on immunology and inflammation, particularly the discovery of GPR43 as a major regulator of innate and inflammatory response.

Professor Mackay received $60,000 to help further fund his research, which has shown that products of bacterial metabolism, namely short chain fatty acids, stimulate immune cells through GPR43, suggesting that this might be a key molecular mechanism joining diet, gut microbiota, and inflammation.

“The impact of this work means it’s just possible that the way we think about treating inflammatory diseases in the future will be completely altered,” Professor Mackay said.

“One consideration will be the make up of our microbiota, and whether we can manipulate this with dietary supplements. It is highly conceivable that we will use these alternative approaches to preventing or treating inflammatory diseases.”

Professor Mackay’s research was conducted at the Garvan Institute in Sydney where he was Director of the immunology and inflammation research programme for 10 years.

GlaxoSmithKline Australia Medical Director Camilla Chong said that Professor Mackay ‘s outstanding publication record, as well as his involvement in three research programs that have gone into clinical testing were important factors in his being chosen to receive the award.

“We hope this award will draw attention to Professor Mackay’s excellent work... and that it can translate into something with actual clinical benefits,” Dr Chong said.

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