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Interview Opportunities: COVID-19 and The Westmead Institute for Medical Research (WIMR)

Announcement posted by The Westmead Institute for Medical Research (WIMR) 04 May 2020

Interview Opportunities with Australian leading medical experts

Interviews available on the topics of:


  • We hear a lot about COVID-19 vaccine development.  Why is it important to tailor vaccines for different members of the community?

Spokespeople: Professor Tony Cunningham AO and Professor Sarah Palmer

  • In the race to develop a COVID-19 vaccine, how are WIMR’s researchers supporting the Westmead Health Precinct and global partners?

Spokesperson: Professor Philip O’Connell



Introducing The Westmead Institute for Medical Research Spokespeople:


Professor Tony Cunningham AO

Director, Centre for Virus Research and the immediate past Executive Director of WIMR

“In the past, we have been able to contribute to highly effective vaccines for the most vulnerable people. Our skill set means it is our responsibility to help.”

Professor Cunningham is an infectious diseases physician, clinical virologist and scientist, internationally renowned for his research on the immunobiology of HIV and herpesviruses, his work on vaccine and microbicide development, and as an antivirals expert.

Professor Cunningham has had extensive experience in vaccine development – he is now using these skills as he works toward developing a vaccine for COVID-19, targeted at older at-risk individuals.


Professor Sarah Palmer

Deputy Director of the Centre for Virus Research

“As a medical virologist, I am driven to apply my skills to develop therapies and save lives in the face of this crisis.”

Professor Sarah Palmer is a medical virologist and Co-Director of the Westmead Institute Medical Research’s Centre for Virus Research. Her research has focused on understanding the genetic characteristics and dynamics of persistent HIV across a range of tissues and cells. The goal is to develop interventions designed to reduce persistent HIV reservoirs and inform HIV eradication strategies.

Individuals with weaker immune systems, such as the elderly, and those with underlying health conditions like HIV, are most vulnerable to COVID-19. 

Professor Palmer is turning her expertise toward developing a COVID-19 vaccine that could benefit these individuals. Professor Palmer and her team hope to identify key parts of viral proteins that stimulate a protective response against all genetic variants of the virus worldwide. 


Professor Philip O’Connell

Executive Director – The Westmead Institute for Medical Research

“Globally, researchers are working around the clock to find a cure and develop treatments for COVID-19.  Australia, and in particular The Westmead Institute for Medical Research, is playing an important role in these urgent endeavours. There are many challenges ahead, including the need for immediate and ongoing research funding. 

“While a vaccine or cure for COVID-19 is some way off, each new finding adds another piece to the puzzle.  This disease is not going be cured by a single institution or single researcher. It will require the collective efforts of many groups, around the world, towards a single objective.  This is something that WIMR does well.”

Professor O’Connell is the Executive Director of WIMR, and his research is focused on the development of islet transplantation as a mainstream treatment for type 1 diabetes, as well as the use of genomics as a marker of renal transplant rejection and other complications.


The Opportunity:

Access to leading Australian medical experts available to provide commentary on COVID-19.


About The Westmead Institute for Medical Research
The Westmead Institute for Medical Research (WIMR) is a leading Australian Medical Research Institute. WIMR’s mission is to liberate people globally from the burden of serious illness and disease. WIMR delivers on its mission by investigating the most pressing health issues of our time, and translating research findings into better preventions, diagnostics, treatments and cures. Closely affiliated with Westmead Hospital and The University of Sydney, WIMR research is focused on delivering the best possible outcomes for patients. Forming part of the thriving Westmead Health Precinct, WIMR’s impact stretches far more broadly, improving health outcomes for people throughout the world. 


WIMR is keen to identify both individuals and organisations with financial capacity and a keen interest and the motivation to support medical research.




Distributed on behalf of The Westmead Institute for Medical Research by QUAY Communications.


If you would like to speak with any of the medical experts listed, please contact:


Cheryl Pettinau                                                             Emma Norgrove

QUAY Communications                                              QUAY Communications

cheryl@quaycommunications.com.au                     emma@quaycommunications.com.au

0424 157 714                                                                0499 688 001