Pandemic-proofing the future

Take a deep dive into Australia’s COVID-19 response with Doherty Institute’s world-leading science, clinical and public health experts.

How could Australia be better prepared to respond to future pandemics?

Australia’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic has been one of the strongest and most effective in the world. And yet, there are still plenty of lessons to be learned.

The Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity was the first in the world outside of China to grow the COVID-19 virus in a lab, and share it with laboratories in Australia and around the world. In this live panel discussion, the world-leading science, clinical and public health experts from the Doherty Institute will take a deep dive into Australia’s COVID-19 response to pose the big questions: what lessons have we learned? What could we do differently next time? And, how likely are we to face another pandemic in the future?

Bookings have closed for digital tickets, however all are welcome to tune in on the Digital Hub at the link on this page. 

Mon 26 April, 12.301.30pm

View accessibility information


Watch livestreamBook in-person ticket

Clicking the above link will redirect you to a third party ticketing site.

Event Speakers

Peter Doherty

Namesake and patron of the Doherty Institute, Laureate Professor Peter Doherty shared the 1996 Nobel Medicine Prize with Swiss colleague Rolf Zinkernagel, for their discoveries about transplantation and “killer” T cell-mediated immunity, an understanding that is currently translating into new cancer treatments. The first veterinarian to win a Nobel, he was Australian of the Year in 1997. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Nobel Laureate Professor Peter Doherty launched a weekly column exclusive to the Doherty Institute website, Setting it Straight, exploring all things infection and immunity.

    Sharon Lewin

    Leading infectious diseases expert, Professor Sharon Lewin, is the inaugural Director of the Doherty Institute. She is also a Professor of Medicine at The University of Melbourne and a National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Practitioner Fellow. As an infectious diseases physician and basic scientist, her laboratory focuses on basic, translational and clinical research aimed at finding a cure for HIV and understanding the interaction between HIV and hepatitis B virus. She is also the Chief Investigator of a NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence (CRE), The Australian Partnership for Preparedness Research on Infectious Diseases Emergencies (APPRISE) that aims to bring together Australia’s leading experts in clinical, laboratory and public health research to address the key components required for a rapid and effective emergency response to infectious diseases. Professor Lewin was appointed to the Victorian COVID Advisory Group and was awarded the Committee for Melbourne’s prestigious 2020 Melbourne Achiever Award for her critical role in responding to the major pandemic threats of our time and providing expert commentary and insights for Australians on COVID-19 as a trusted and respected health expert.

    Deborah Williamson

    Professor Deborah Williamson is the Royal Melbourne Hospital’s Director of Microbiology and a Clinical Microbiologist and Deputy Director of the Microbiological Diagnostic Unit Public Health Laboratory (MDU PHL). She is also a Laboratory Head in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology. Professor Williamson is involved in the delivery of specialist public health laboratory services, and in the diagnosis and surveillance of communicable diseases. Her research interests include the molecular epidemiology and pathogenesis of infections caused by antimicrobial-resistant pathogens, and the translation of genomic technologies to questions of public health importance. Professor Williamson pioneered the use of saliva for COVID-19 testing, being the first team to demonstrate the value of this test. She is also leading a pilot study with the Victorian Department of Health to evaluate the performance of rapid antigen tests for Victoria’s longer term COVID-19 testing strategy.

      Kanta Subbarao

      Professor Kanta Subbarao was appointed Director of the WHO Collaborating Centre for Reference and Research on Influenza in 2016. Professor Subbarao is a virologist and a physician with specialty training in pediatrics and pediatric infectious diseases. Her research is focused on newly emerging viral diseases of global importance including pandemic influenza, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and includes study of virus biology and pathogenesis, immune responses to infection and vaccination, development and preclinical and clinical evaluation of vaccines. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Professor Subbarao published findings learned from the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak of 2002-2003 that could inform and guide vaccine design for COVID-19, and collaborated with University of Queensland to test the immune response of their vaccine during pre-clinical trials.


      Steven Tong

      Associate Professor Steven Tong is an infectious diseases physician with the Victorian Infectious Diseases Service and Co-Head of the Translational and Clinical Research and Indigenous Health cross-cutting disciplines at the Doherty Institute. He spent 10 years in Darwin before moving Melbourne to join the Doherty Institute in 2016. His research interests include skin pathogens (Staphylococcus aureus, Group A Streptococcus), hospital infections, Indigenous health, viral hepatitis and influenza. His passion is to apply cutting edge science to address clinically driven questions. Associate Professor Tong is leading the Australasia COVID-19 Trial, investigating treatments to reduce the need for mechanical ventilation in hospitalised but not yet critically ill patients with COVID-19.

        Nicholas Gherardin

        Dr Gherardin completed a Bachelor of Biomedicine at the University of Melbourne, including Honours in 2011. He subsequently undertook a PhD in the Godfrey Lab at the University of Melbourne and the HITRL Lab at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre. Dr Gherardin’s PhD studies focussed on antigen-recognition by MR1-restricted T-cells, and the role of unconventional T-cells in myeloma. He was awarded his PhD in 2016 and currently works as a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Godfrey Lab. His work focuses on the biology of MR1-restricted MAIT cells, CD1-restricted T-cells and gamma-delta T-cells, exploring their antigen-recognition, effector function, and their roles in cancer. In response to COVID-19, Dr Gherardin rapidly applied SARS-CoV-2 viral proteins to a pipeline he had developed for producing biologics that bind and block any candidate protein. He is now developing biologics that block and neutralise the virus.

        Nafisa Yussf

        Nafisa Yussf is a Community Researcher and Project Manager at the WHO Collaborating Centre for Viral Hepatitis, Doherty Institute. Her research aims to understand how hepatitis B perinatal services are delivered to Victorian women and their infants. Nafisahas a Master of Public Health and a Bachelor degree in International Community Development. She has extensive background in public health program development within a culturally responsive framework. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Nafisa has worked in the hard lockdown towers, Royal Melbourne Hospital virtual ward program and was also seconded to the Department of Health as a Community Engagement Advisor providing advice on culturally safe community engagement strategies.


          • wheelchair accessibleWheelchair accessible
          • All knowledge levels welcome
          • 18+
          View MKW accessibility information

          Event partners

          Related Insight