Marie Bashir Institute for Infectious Diseases and Biosecurity
The Westmead Institute hosts the Marie Bashir Institute for Infectious Diseases and Biosecurity (MBI) - a multidisciplinary, virtual institute of the University of Sydney that aims to reduce the growing health and socio-economic impacts of infectious diseases, especially in the Asia-Pacific Region.
Infectious diseases pose enormous and unpredictable public health challenges. Globally, emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases are major causes of morbidity and mortality, socio-economic disruption and economic instability. Expert knowledge and input are essential for governments to effectively anticipate, control or reduce the impact of future epidemic infections.
Australia is vulnerable to emerging infections due to its location within the Asia-Pacific region (a major incubator of emerging infections and antimicrobial resistance), high population mobility, international trade and shifting disease vectors, as well as residential and agricultural expansion into wildlife habitats. Increasing drug resistance threatens to take us back to the pre-antibiotic era.
MBI is committed to research and knowledge exchange for improved understanding of complex interactions that fuel the emergence and spread of infectious diseases. It does this by:
- Leading in cross-disciplinary research into emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases
- Increasing capacity within Australia and Asia Pacific nations to detect and respond to infectious disease outbreaks in humans and animals
- Informing and assisting in the development of policies and strategies to prevent, contain and control emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases
MBI’s executive team is based within the Westmead Institute and the organisations engages with the Institute’s researchers.
The Westmead Institute houses high security laboratory facilities within the largest public health microbiology reference laboratories in NSW, linked closely to research and clinical care across the Westmead and Children’s Hospitals, the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance and the Kid’s Research Institute.
MBI brings together faculties and disciplines ranging from biomedical and veterinary science, public health and agriculture to the arts and social sciences, and law.
Its goals are to better understand the complex environmental and evolutionary dynamics of infectious diseases, define pathogenic mechanisms and optimal management, improve relevant surveillance and public health systems, and design ethical frameworks that will ensure rapid, targeted and effective public health action.
The research is embedded within public health and clinical practice with strong representation on policy-making bodies.
Director: Professor Tania Sorrell
Deputy Director: Associate Professor Ben Marais
Lead – Public Health: Dr Grant Hill-Cawthorne
Program Manager: Ms Kerri Anton
Executive Support Officer: Mrs Christine Aitken
Other members of the MBI team and students are available through group leader web pages on this site and www.sydney.edu.au/mbi
MBI Project Nodes build on the research strengths of our academics and support new collaborations between academic communities involving at least 3 disciplines, schools or faculties, with a strong emphasis on securing competitive research.
Current project nodes include:
- Antimicrobial resistance (AMR)
- Central Nervous System Infection, Inflammation and Immunity (CNS I3); joint node with the University of Sydney’s Brain Mind Centre (BMC)
- Healthy Food Systems – nutrition, diversity, safety; joint node with the University of Sydney’s Charles Perkins Centre (CPC)
- Integrated Primary Health Care
- Politics and Ethics of Infection
Funding and Collaborators
- Commonwealth and NSW Departments of Health
- Sydney Medical School Foundation and the University of Sydney (through Health and Medical Research Strategic Priority Area grants and Disciplines/Schools and faculties)
- Industry funding
- NGOs including Medicins Sans Frontieres
- Advocacy groups including RESULTS.