Institute of Health and
Biomedical Innovation
a university for the real world


03 November 2020

A collaboration involving IHBI researcher Dr Arutha Kulasinghe has received two prestigious AusBiotech and Johnson & Johnson Innovation Industry Excellence Awards, recognising work to gain a genetic understanding of COVID-19.

Dr Kulasinghe is the QUT project lead for the Dual COVID-19 Life Science Sector Collaboration Award, collaborating with researchers from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute (WEHI) and the University of Queensland (UQ).

The first-in-Australia approach to identify a genetic signature specific to patients with severe COVID-19 has been recognised with an AusBiotech COVID-19 Life Science Sector Collaboration Award.

An Industry’s Choice Award was also presented to the collaboration.

Dr Kulasinghe said the awards were a testament to the incredible collaborative efforts nationally and internationally by a multidisciplinary team of scientists and clinicians.

'Each one of us individually could not have done this work, but collectively it’s been an astonishing effort,' he said.

His contribution to the collaboration involved the application of a novel spatial biology approach, the first in the AsiaPacific region, to COVID-19.

The approach has identified a genetic signature in the lungs which is indicative of disease severity.

That could be useful for triaging patients in the northern hemisphere, given the increasing rates of influenza and COVID-19.

The COVID-19 Life Science Sector Collaboration Award was one of four announced at the AusBiotech + Invest 2020 national conference, recognising and celebrating life science leaders who are championing the sector and the Australian community through the worst pandemic and greatest collaboration seen in the sector.

The awards celebrate those who have played a critical role providing guidance and inspiration; and globally shining a light on Australia as a leader in the response to COVID-19.

AusBiotech Chief Executive Officer Lorraine Chiroiu said: ‘The extraordinary achievements that these individuals and companies have delivered in response to COVID-19 has been a truly remarkable illumination of the importance of our sector to the health, well-being and economic security of all Australians within a very difficult year. The awards act as a celebration of the innovation excellence happening across the country.’


Dr Arutha Kulasinghe


Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation (IHBI)

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