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Dr Sue Perlen
Dr Susan Perlen is the Program Manager of the BRACE trial at MCRI, assessing if BCG vaccine can help protect against COVID-19.
The BRACE trial is the world's largest trial on the off-target effects of Bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccine with more than 6800 healthcare workers enrolled in five countries. In addition to preventing severe tuberculosis in children, BCG vaccine has non-specific (heterologous) immunomodulatory effects. This randomised controlled clinical trial is working to determine whether the BCG vaccine reduces the incidence of symptomatic and severe COVID-19 in healthcare workers. It is also exploring if BCG vaccine reduces the impact of other respiratory illnesses and allergic diseases, as well as the immunological mechanisms that underpin the beneficial off-target effects of BCG.
So far, the study team of more than 350 researchers and staff have collected over a quarter of a million samples, attracted a global media audience of more than five billion people and secured $15 million-plus in philanthropic funding – and all this with a 100-year old vaccine.
Susan has had a successful career in public health research, project management and healthcare and has a deep understanding of research and hospital environments. Previously, Susan worked as Research Manager for the right@home trial, the largest Australian randomised-control trial of nurse home visiting; was a Senior Research Assistant on the Maternal Health Study for more than a decade; and worked as a hospital manager, project manager, midwife and nurse for many years.
Susan completed her PhD in 2016 (University of Melbourne), which investigated the implementation of Victorian smoking cessation guidelines in public antenatal care services. She completed a Master of Public Health in 2008.
· 2010- 2013: National Health and Medical Research Council Postgraduate Scholarship
· 2010: New Investigator Award, Perinatal Society of Australia and New Zealand
· 2013: Population Health Theme 3 minute publication prize, Murdoch Children's Research Institute
· 2014: Valued Population Health Research Assistant, Murdoch Children's Research Institute
· 2014: Student Conference Support Scheme, Murdoch Children's Research Institute
Co-authored more than 15 publications.