Infectious diseases expert comes to Griffith

Professor Keith Grimwood

Furthering understanding of respiratory infections in young children is just one of the research areas focussed on by the new professor of infectious diseases at Griffith University, Professor Keith Grimwood.

A newcomer to the Griffith Health Institute’s Molecular Basis of Disease program on the Gold Coast, Professor Grimwood’s appointment is jointly supported by Gold Coast Health and Griffith and aims to improve research collaboration.

A former director of the Queensland Children’s Medical Research Institute, he brings a wealth of research experience with him, relevant to his current study into the impacts of vaccines on preventable disease and gastrointestinal diseases.

Pertussis, otherwise known as the contagious and potentially deadly whooping cough, is a particular focus for Professor Grimwood who, with his colleagues, is studying the effectiveness of the current vaccine.

“While the vaccine is good, particularly in young children, its duration of protection wanes much more rapidly than older vaccines,” he says. “After about five to ten years, its effectiveness is slowing and this will need addressing in the future.”

He said a reason that the pertussis vaccine is currently being investigated is because of the higher rates of whooping cough being reported amongst older, vaccinated children in Queensland.

Professor Grimwood’s research also continues to focus upon Pseudomonas aeruginosa and lung infections in cystic fibrosis, as well as acute and chronic chest
infections in Indigenous children.

Professor Grimwood and his colleagues in Darwin and Malaysia are now turning their attention to studying treatments of severe pneumonia in children in SouthEast Queensland, the Northern Territory and Malaysia.