Dr Grigg wins science award

Malaria researcher Dr Matthew Grigg. Picture: Menzies School of Health Research.
Malaria researcher Dr Matthew Grigg. Picture: Menzies School of Health Research.

Menzies School of Health Research clinical research fellow Dr Matthew Grigg has been named the 2017 NT Young Tall Poppy Scientist of the Year.

The award is in recognition for ongoing research into Plasmodium knowlesi (P. knowlesi) malaria, a type of monkey malaria transmitted to humans via mosquitos in Southeast Asia.

Dr Grigg, 34, has been working in the Territory for the past nine years including time as a medical officer in remote NT Indigenous communities and also Katherine and Royal Darwin hospitals.

The prestigious Young Tall Poppy Awards are run by the Australian Institute of Policy and Science to honour up-and-coming scientists who combine world-class research with a passionate commitment to communicating science.

Dr Grigg said he was thankful to be nominated for the award by his mentor and supervisor at Menzies, Professor Nick Anstey.

“This award really is recognition for the work of our whole malaria research team at Menzies and our colleagues in Asia, including Dr Timothy William, who is based at our main field site in Sabah, Malaysia where P. knowlesi malaria has such a big impact on the local population.

“Through our research we have been able improve our understanding of the treatment and epidemiology of P. knowlesi malaria, to change Malaysian and World Health Organization (WHO) malaria treatment guidelines, whilst building the expertise of local research staff.

“With Menzies colleague, Dr Bridget Barber we were also the first to compare severe and non-severe knowlesi malaria to other species, with results also now included in the WHO severe malaria guidelines,” Dr Grigg said.

He is currently continuing his research as a research fellow in Menzies’ HOT NORTH collaboration which has been established to close the gap in Indigenous health disadvantage, protect the north from emerging infectious threats and engage regional neighbours.

“Another benefit of this award will be the opportunity to share my research with school students, teachers and the broader community through workshops, seminars and public lectures during the next 12 months,” Dr Grigg said.