Infectious diseases expert comes to Griffith

Professor Keith Grimwood

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

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

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

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

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

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

Professor Grimwood’s research also continues to focus upon Pseudomonasaeruginosa 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 theirattention to studying treatments of severe pneumonia in children in SouthEastQueensland, the Northern Territory and Malaysia.