1 May 2015

Find out more about CCS's new Infectious Diseases Head, Professor Anton Peleg

Professor Anton Peleg (centre, seated)
and his research team
Professor Anton Peleg began his research career in 2004. In this time, in addition to a consistent clinical load, Prof Peleg has become established as an international expert in the field of hospital-acquired infections, antimicrobial resistance and use of non-mammalian model systems to study microbial pathogenesis. His current positions are Professor and Director of the Department of Infectious Diseases, Monash University, Director of the Department of Infectious Diseases at Alfred Health, and he is also a Research Group Leader in the Department of Microbiology, Monash University.

Prof Peleg returned to Australia in Jan 2010 after spending four years at Harvard University, Boston. He completed a PhD on the Gram negative human pathogen, Acinetobacter baumannii, and this was awarded in Sept 2010; it received the Dean’s Award for Excellence. He also completed a Masters of Public Health at Harvard School of Public Health. He has established a dynamic research team back in Australia with a focus on mechanisms of disease, identification of novel antimicrobial treatment strategies, and use of vertebrate and invertebrate infection model systems.

One of Professor Peleg’s most outstanding recent achievements was the receipt of the 2013 ‘Commonwealth Ministers Award for Excellence in Health and Medical Research’. This prestigious award is given to the top applicant for an NHMRC Career Development Fellowship in the country. As stated by the then Federal Minister for Health, Ms. Tanya Plibersek, “Associate Professor Peleg was selected because of the significance of his work and the innovative approach he has taken to infectious diseases research.”

Since starting his research career, Prof Peleg has 75 publications and 14 book chapters, the majority of which he is first or senior author and includes original research articles in high quality general biomedical or scientific journals such as PNAS, British Medical Journal, PLoS Genetics, and Mayo Clinic Proceedings, as well as in top-level specialty journals. He has also been invited to write reviews in the New England Journal of Medicine, Nature Reviews Microbiology, Clinical Microbiology Reviews and Lancet Infectious Diseases. He has also written book chapters on Acinetobacter for leading reference texts in Medicine: Harrisons Textbook of Medicine and Kucer’s, The Use of Antibiotics. Overall, he has 40 papers that have > 20 citations (first or senior author on 30), of which 11 have > 100 citations. His work has attracted over 4500 citations, with 950 citations in 2014 (Google Scholar).

Other Research Achievements 

As a consequence of the above research output, Prof. Peleg has received 23 awards (14 in last 5 years) from both Australian and International Societies, including the Royal Australasian College of Physicians, Australian Society of Infectious Diseases and Australian Society of Antimicrobials, and was also awarded, for the first time by an Australian, the highly competitive ICAAC Young Investigator Award by the American Society of Microbiology. He was also successful in his application for the highly regarded and competitive NHMRC R.D Wright Biomedical Career Development Fellowship (2013 – transitioned from a NHMRC Postdoctoral Fellowship 2010) and received the Dean’s Award for an Outstanding PhD thesis (2010). He was targeted as a future leader at Monash University with recruitment into the highly select Monash Research Accelerator Program, which provides mentoring and financial support to the top 3% of early-mid career researchers. Furthermore, he was selected for a Young Physician Leaders Award at the WHO, World Health Summit (2012 Berlin). Finally, he was awarded the most prestigious award by the Australian Society of Infectious Diseases, the Frank Fenner Award for Advanced Research in Infectious Diseases for 2011.

As a consequence of his developing expertise, Prof. Peleg has had 41 guest and key-note speaker invitations in the last 5 years to the leading National and International Infectious Diseases and Microbiology Conferences. In the last 2 years alone, he has been invited to give 13 lectures at major national and international meetings. He has also been a conference organizer for two meetings in 2013 (Asia-Pacific conference on Gram-negative bacterial resistance and infections in the ICU) and for one in 2015 (The Future of Infections in Critical Care). He has been invited to the advisory board panel meetings for industry on pharmacodynamic approaches to antimicrobial therapy (Ortho-McNeil-Janssen, New York), new antibiotic pipeline (AstraZeneca, London, and Singapore), and last-line antibiotic options (Merck-Sharpe and Dohme, Sydney).

Since arriving back to Australia in 2010, he has built a dynamic research team having supervised four honours students to completion, eight PhD students (2 completed), three post-doctoral fellows and two research assistants. He is an ad-hoc reviewer for 16 leading Infectious Diseases and Microbiology journals, and has reviewed NHMRC project grants since 2010 plus assistant chair 2013. He is one of the founding committee members of the Australian Society of Infectious Diseases Clinical Research Network, has been on the NHMRC Early-mid Career Research Advisory Committee and an invited member of the Australian Commission Task Force for Management of Multidrug-resistant Gram-negative bacteria.

In the last 5 years, he has attracted five NHMRC project grants (CIA and CIB, 2011-2013, CIA 2013-2015, CIA and CIB 2014-2016), three equipment grants and two fellowships (Peter Doherty and R.D Wright), as well as funding from a wide range of other national and University agencies.

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