July 13, 2018  Print

A research assistant from the Westmead Institute for Medical Research has been awarded for his presentation at the 13th Annual Australian Centre for HIV and Hepatitis Virology Research Scientific Workshop.

Orion Tong, from our Centre for Virus Research, received the ‘Victorian infectious diseases reference laboratory educational grant award’ for best oral presentation.

He presented his research on how immune cells respond to initial HIV infections. While his research is still in its preliminary stages, Orion hopes that it could contribute to the prevention of HIV.

“I’m looking at particular immune cells called plasmacytoid dendritic cells. We know that they play a role in our immune response to HIV, but don’t know which specific subset of cells is involved,” Orion explained.

“By identifying the exact cells involved in our immune response to HIV, we could potentially develop treatments to target and block the cells, preventing HIV from spreading throughout the body.”

Orion said he enjoyed the experience of the workshop, and was pleased to have his work recognised.

“It was great to attend the workshop, and hear what other researchers are investigating in the fields of HIV and hepatitis,” Orion said.

“It’s a nice feeling to be acknowledged for the hard work that we’re doing in the Centre for Virus Research. A lot of the credit goes to the research team and my supervisors.”

Well done, Orion.

Orion Tong is supervised by Dr Najla Nasr and Professor Tony Cunningham.