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A/Professor Carl Kirkwood
Associate Professor Kirkwood is group leader of the Enteric Virus group, and co-leader of the Rotavirus group at Murdoch Childrens.
A/Prof Kirkwood received his bachelor of Biological Science with honours degree from La Trobe University, Bundoora, then completed his PhD at Department of Paediatrics, The University of Melbourne in 1997. He then took a post-doctoral position at the Centers of Disease Control, USA, with Dr Roger Glass (1997-2000).
In 2000 he was awarded the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute's Post-doctoral Fellowship, and returned to Australia to continue studies on viral agents of acute gastroenteritis in the Enteric Virus Group. In 2011, he was appointed Associate Professor in Department of Microbiology, La Trobe University, Victoria, and was also admitted as a Fellow of the Australian Society for Microbiology.
He has conducted research in enteric infections for 20 years, and the research is recognised nationally and internationally in the area of infectious causes of gastrointestinal disease. He is author of over 110 publications, book chapters and reports on rotavirus research and other infectious disease related topics. He is recognised as a key national and international opinion leader, as evidenced by invitations to speak at the leading national and international rotavirus, inflammatory bowel disease and Crohn's meetings.
He been an NHMRC CDA Level one and two Fellow, and is currently an NHMRC Senior Research Fellow. He has successfully attracted substantial and continuous competitive research funding from NHMRC, and from many national and international NGO and philanthropic organisations including the GATES Foundation.
A/Prof Kirkwood has successfully supervised five PhD and 11 Honours graduates to completion, and currently supervises PhD and Honours students. He also mentors on an international level by conducting an international rotavirus training program.
- Co-Group Leader, Rotavirus Research Group, Murdoch Childrens Research Institute
- Director – WHO collaborating centre for Child health (rotavirus)
- Director – WHO, Western Pacific Region, Rotavirus regional reference laboratory
- Director – Australian Rotavirus surveillance Program
- Associate Professor, Department of Microbiology, La Trobe University
A/Prof Kirkwood's research program investigates infectious diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, specifically diarrhoeal disease and Crohn's disease.
He has a long interest in viral causes of gastroenteritis, specifically rotavirus and norovirus. The research program is focused to ensure our understanding of the mechanism underlying vaccine escape and viral evolution, and provides critical information on the circulating rotavirus population to maintain a successful ongoing rotavirus vaccine program. He is director of the WHO Collaborating Centre for Child Health (rotavirus), playing a lead role globally in planning, training and implementation of studies to understand rotavirus disease. He is director of the Australian Rotavirus Surveillance Program which studies patterns of rotavirus genotypes causing disease in Australian children.
He is co-developer of a human neonatal rotavirus vaccine that is currently undergoing phase II studies in New Zealand and Indonesia, supported by funding from GATES Foundation.
A/Prof Kirkwood also has a long-standing interest in the microbial causes of Crohn's disease, and studies involve the application of cutting edge microbial analysis and genomic technologies to understand the genetic and environmental basis of Crohn's disease in children.
This research program investigates diseases of the gastrointestinal tract of children, and involves a highly innovative approach to understand how alterations in the human gut influence the microbiome (bacteria and viruses) and the impact it has on childhood diseases.
This research program has three major themes;
1) Rotavirus is the leading cause of gastroenteritis responsible for 500,000 deaths in children each year. Although two commercial rotavirus vaccines are commercially available, the high cost and issues with accessibility are barriers to widespread introduction in developing country settings. The goal of this project is to develop an effective rotavirus vaccine to be administered to newborns that is affordable for the global community, and can be introduced in developing countries where the burden of morbidity and mortality is greatest.
2) The introduction of rotavirus vaccines into the national immunisation programs have had enormous impact on improving the health of children. However, the introduction has correlated with changes in distribution of wildtype strains of rotavirus. These changes may lead to the emergence of vaccine escape strains that have the potential to significantly reduce the vaccine effectiveness. This study proposes to genetically characterise strains able to escape vaccine protection.
3) Crohn's disease is a major cause of illness throughout the world. There is no cure and current therapies carry substantial risks. An infectious agent has been suggested as the trigger for disease but research has been inconclusive. Our study focuses on the characterisation of the gut microbiome and virome to elucidate what changes are associated with disease onset in children.
The rotavirus research group conducts a highly effective, innovative and multidisciplinary research that will substantially advance our understanding of these diseases and ultimately improve child health globally.
Donato CM, Manuelpillai NM, Cowley D, Roczo-Farkas S, Buttery JP, Crawford NW, Kirkwood CD. Genetic characterization of a novel G3P rotavirus strain causing gastroenteritis in 12 year old Australian child. Infection, Genetics & Evolution (2014): Accepted 26/4/2014. PMID: 24780429.
Danchin M, Kirkwood CD, Lee KJ, Bishop RF, Watts E, Justice FA, Clifford V, Cowley D, Buttery JP, Bines JE. Phase I trial of RV3-BB rotavirus vaccine: A human neonatal rotavirus vaccine. Vaccine. 31(23):2610-6 (2013).
Cowley D, Donato CM, Roczo-Farkas S, Kirkwood CD. Novel G10P rotavirus strain, northern territory, Australia. Emerg Infect Dis. 19(8):1324-7 (2013).
Mahar JE, Bok K, Green KY, Kirkwood CD. The importance of intergenic recombination in norovirus GII.3 evolution. J Virol. 87(7): 3687 -98 (2013).
Donato CM, Ch'ng LS, Boniface KF, Crawford NW, Buttery JP, Lyon M, Bishop RF, Kirkwood CD. Identification of strains of RotaTeq rotavirus vaccine in infants with gastroenteritis following routine vaccination. J Infect Dis. 206 (3): 377-83 (2012).
Kirkwood CD, Boniface K, Barnes GL, Bishop RF. Distribution of rotavirus genotypes after introduction of rotavirus vaccines, Rotarix® and RotaTeq®, into the National Immunization Program of Australia. Pediatr Infect Dis J. 30 (Suppl):S48-53 (2011).
Wagner J, Maksimovic J, Farries G, Sim WH, Bishop RF, Cameron DJ, Catto-Smith AG, Kirkwood CD. Bacteriophages in gut samples from pediatric Crohn's disease patients: metagenomic analysis using 454 pyrosequencing. Inflamm Bowel Dis. 19(8):1598-608 (2013).
Prideaux L, Kang S, Wagner J, Buckley M, Mahar JE, De Cruz P, Wen Z, Chen L, Xia B, van Langenberg DR, Lockett T, Ng SC, Sung JJ, Desmond P, McSweeney C, Morrison M, Kirkwood CD, Kamm MA. Impact of ethnicity, geography, and disease on the microbiota in health and inflammatory bowel disease. Inflamm Bowel Dis. 19(13):2906-18 (2013).
Sim WH, Wagner J, Cameron DJ, Catto-Smith AG, Bishop RF, Kirkwood CD. Novel Burkholderiales 23S rRNA genes identified in ileal biopsy samples from children: preliminary evidence that a subtype is associated with perianal Crohn's disease. J Clin Microbiol. 48(5):1939-42 (2010).