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Research impact

Damian's on the frontline of malaria research at CDU

This article appears in: Health
Damian smiling in front of his project

Each year, malaria infects more than 200 million people across the globe, with more than 400,000 of those people losing their fight with the deadly disease. Damian Oyong is on the frontline with research that could improve the lives of millions. 

It was Damian Oyong’s early life in Papua and an internship at a local hospital that got him interested in studying malaria. Now, as a postdoctoral scientist at Seattle Children’s Research Institute and studying a Higher Degree by Research at CDU, he is having an even bigger impact.

"I have a strong passion for infectious disease research, especially in malaria, since the disease is still endemic in the region I come from. I was already working in a research institute conducting clinical trials on malaria. However, I knew that I need to gain further experience, knowledge, and skills in order to advance my career and make a bigger impact in research," said Damian.

 It was this desire to know more and do more that made Damian want to undertake further study. He chose to study with CDU so he could learn with the best. 

I wanted to pursue my HDR under the mentorship of leading malaria researchers. Menzies School of Health Research, a fundamental part of CDU, is highly known for its impact in infectious disease research, not only in Australia, but also globally.

CDU student Damian stands holding a snake

"Research at CDU has direct impact towards international communities where many of their studies are being conducted, including in Indonesia, where I come from," he says.

Damian’s research looks specifically at understanding the production of antibodies that can effectively target human malaria parasites and the impact of age and other factors on these antibodies. In simple terms, that means informing the development of a vaccine that can help the human body fight against the malaria-causing parasite – Plasmodium - and prevent infection.

"It’s pretty complex stuff but CDU and the Menzies School of Health Research are up to the challenge. They have highly specialised skills and comprehensive knowledge that provides critical inputs to my research projects," said Damian.

So, has studying with CDU been the right choice for Damian?

"Choosing CDU as a place to do my HDR was a choice I’m glad I made. All my supervisors were very supportive of my research as well as my individual development. I was also supported by many other staff at the institute and university that made the HDR process easier," he says. 

Damian has submitted his PhD thesis and is now patiently waiting for the results so he can get to work.

I hope the results from my research can contribute to the development of an anti-malarial vaccine and save lives.

Are you ready to join our research community, delivering real results in northern Australia and the Asia Pacific? 

Find out more about studying a Higher Degree by Research at Menzies School of Research and Health and CDU by visiting our website.

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