QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute
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The QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute (QIMR Berghofer) (previously known as the Queensland Institute of Medical Research, QIMR) is a medical research institute located in Queensland, Australia. QIMR was established in 1945 by an Act of the Government of Queensland. The original purpose of the Institute was to further the study of tropical diseases in North Queensland. The current Director is Professor Frank Gannon.
QIMR Berghofer aims to improve the health and well-being of all people by developing new methods of detection, better treatments and prevention strategies. This is achieved through fundamental research, drug development and clinical trials.
QIMR Berghofer has over 600 scientists, students and staff in three (3) research programs, five (5) departments and a support division. Because of its proximity to major teaching hospitals and The University of Queensland Medical School, the Institute is well placed for clinical applications of research, including bench to bedside research techniques. It is one of Australia’s only fully integrated biomedical research and development centres with GMP manufacturing facilities.
QIMR was created by an Act of Queensland State Parliament in 1945 from a report by Dr Edward Derrick that recommended a permanent research facility to be set up to investigate diseases unique to the climate of Queensland. QIMR began operations in 1947 with a staff of seven in a disused World War II US Army hut in Victoria Park, Brisbane. This temporary accommodation housed the Institute for the next 30 years.
From 1951 to 1965, at QIMR field station in North Queensland, researchers investigated outbreaks of leptospirosis, scrub typhus, dengue and other tropical fevers. Researchers also studied viruses in Queensland’s animals.
In 1960, QIMR scientists isolated Murray Valley encephalitis virus from mosquitoes, which paved the way for discovery of other arboviruses like Ross River virus in 1963. During the 1960s, QIMR established an oncology section to investigate cancer-causing viruses. One project researched cancer cells taken from Burkitt's lymphoma patients in Papua New Guinea, and found they were infected with Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). EBV is now known to cause many types of leukaemias and lymphomas. Eight years later, this same virus was found to immortalise white blood cells; a discovery that revolutionised research of these immune cells and their DNA.
In 1988, the Queensland Government amended the QIMR Act to make statutory authority. The Queensland Premier at the time, The Honourable Mike Ahern, secured $30 million to fund a new building for QIMR’s ever-increasing staff numbers. The new building was officially opened in 1991, and was aptly named the Bancroft Centre, as a memorial to the family who contributed to QIMR’s early history.
In 1997, a philanthropic donation of $20 million was matched by both the federal and state governments, presenting the opportunity to construct a comprehensive cancer research centre unparalleled in Australian history. The Cancer Research Centre was named after Mr Clive Berghofer in appreciation of his extremely generous contribution towards the building.
In 2002, Q-Pharm Pty Limited became operational. Q-Pharm Pty Ltd is a joint venture between QIMR, The University of Queensland and Professors Hooper and Dickenson, and is a Phase I clinical trials facility to test potential new therapeutic products on humans. The same year, a new Indigenous Health Research Program was initiated to focus on improving health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and work in collaboration with Indigenous communities.
In August 2013, QIMR was renamed QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute after Mr Clive Berghofer AM donated $50.1 million to the Institute.
The QIMR Berghofer logo is composed of three superimposed hexagons, which represent interlocking benzene rings. Benzene rings are a molecular structure of carbon, the basis for all life on earth.
The Institute’s vision is better health through medical research.
The Institute’s research includes:
- Cancers, including leukaemia, skin, breast, prostate, pancreatic, oesophageal and colorectal cancers
- Infectious diseases such as HIV, malaria, group A streptococcus, Epstein-Barr virus, Ross River virus, scabies, dengue fever and schistosomiasis (blood flukes)
- Mental health and complex disorders, including schizophrenia, Alzheimer's disease, ataxia-telangiectasia, liver disease, anaemia and haemochromatosis
QIMR Berghofer is housed in three buildings (the Bancroft Centre, the Clive Berghofer Cancer Research Centre and QIMR Central at Herston, Brisbane, Queensland adjacent to the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital, the Royal Children's Hospital, Brisbane and The University of Queensland Medical School.
- Director: Professor Frank Gannon
- Deputy Director: Professor Greg Anderson
- Council Chair: The Hon. Paul de Jersey AC
- Patron: Her Excellency Ms Penelope Wensley AO, Governor of Qld
- Previous Directors
- 1947-1961: Dr Ian Murray Mackerras
- 1961-1966: Dr Edward Derrick
- 1966-1978: Professor Ralph Doherty
- 1978-1990: Professor Chev Kidson
- 1990-2000: Professor Lawrie Powell
- 2000–2010: Professor Michael Good