Recent Activities - 2020

New R & D Senior Scientist at NRL

Nick Vandegraaff joined the NRL as a Senior Scientist in January 2021. He comes to the NRL as a PhD qualified virologist with postdoctoral training at Harvard Medical School and 15 years commercial experience in the Drug Discovery and In Vitro Diagnostic Medical Device [IVD]) sectors. He has a strong background in Microbiology (Virology), Molecular Biology and Cell Biology with extensive Project Leadership/Management experience and an intimate knowledge of the processes and quality frameworks within which IVDs and related software are designed, developed and clinically validated.

Nick has come to the NRL to lead the Human T Cell Leukemia Virus Type 1 (HTLV-1) research team. HTLV-1 is a virus that is endemic in central Australian indigenous populations and is correlated with all-cause mortality and chronic inflammatory conditions such as bronchiectasis (chromic lung inflammation). His team will focus on the design and development of new HTLV-1 diagnostic solutions, including a highly sensitive means of quantifying HTLV-1 proviral load in patient samples and the identification of compatible specimen collection devices that are suitable for use in remote and resource-poor settings. The diagnostic approaches developed by the HTLV-1 team will be utilized in a 5-year longitudinal clinical study that aims to evaluate the prevalence of HTLV-1 in the indigenous communities of central Australia. This longitudinal study is due to commence in Q3, 2021 and preliminary data obtained for the new remote HTLV-1 test system was presented at the National ACH2 conference this week.

Nick Vandegraaff

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NRL is designated a WHO Collaborating Centre for Diagnostics and Laboratory Support for HIV and AIDS and Other Blood-borne Infections