Queensland’s Health Minister, The Honourable Mr Lawrence Springborg MP, is contributing to the fight against serious disease by sponsoring a flora sample to aid medical research at Griffith University’s Eskitis Institute for Drug Discovery.

Mr Springborg toured the Eskitis Institute this week and happily handed over $100 to sponsor a sample of Blechnum orientale, a species of fern collected from Oasis Spring in the Steve Irwin Wildlife Reserve at Cape York.

The sample was one of the first to be collected by Eskitis scientists during their inaugural survey mission to the reserve after an agreement struck between the Institute and Australia Zoo’s Mrs Terri Irwin AM.

To aid research that may one day lead to cures for cancer and other infectious and neurodegenerative diseases, Mr Springborg’s fern and other flora brought back from Cape York have been added to Nature Bank, a collection of more than 45,000 samples of plants and marine invertebrates from tropical Queensland, Tasmania, China, Malaysia and Papua New Guinea.

As part of the Institute’s Sponsor a Sample campaign launched by Mrs Irwin in May, Mr Springborg received a certificate identifying his “adopted” sample, its species name and where it was collected. He will also be updated on research.

“The work being carried out at Eskitis is not just impressive and world-leading, it is vitally important in the battle against serious disease and reflects the kind of scientific expertise and ingenuity we have here in Queensland,” said Mr Springborg.

“I will be interested to monitor the progress of Blechnum orientale as this important research continues.”

Eskitis Director Professor Ronald Quinn AM urged others to follow Mr Springborg’s example.

“For just $100, anyone can sponsor a sample and know they are playing a part in vital medical research towards new treatments for the world’s most serious diseases,” he said.

To sponsor a sample, go to http://www.everydayhero.com.au/event/naturebank