The featured translational research projects underway at TRI are identified by their progress along our translational research pathway. As a newly established research institute with an innovative approach to medical research, we are developing models based on the success of existing projects. The translational pathway model allows us to see where research projects are at, and identify individual and common roadblocks to further progress. Each milestone, from T1 to T5, involves achieving significant progress towards answering a clinical question and a positive outcome for a patient.

T1 Projects

T2 Projects

T3 Projects

T4 Projects

T5 Projects

Innovation driven by clinical question

To reach T1, a project must have been through a discovery phase to arrive at an innovation which has been driven by a clinical question or patient need.


The T2 milestone is reached when planned human studies meet ethical requirements. This phase may involve a small number of patients in a clinical trial.


The T3 milestone involves expanded trials with more patients at a number of different locations. This phase often takes several years to ensure the discovery is beneficial and effective.


T4 is reached when a discovery has been published, peer reviewed, tested and proven successful to the extent that it is adopted into clinical practice.

International Adoption and Assessment

The T5 milestone is achieved once independent evaluation by organisations such as WHO has estabished a proven health benefit on a world-wide basis.

Translational Research Pathway

The TRI translational research model sees a distinctive role played by each member of a multi-disciplinary team that collectively agree on the clinical question, the goal and the required outcomes based on known discoveries. The model addresses emerging research needs through the internationally accepted translational pathway from T1 to T5, modified for Australia's unique needs. There's a well used term in research known as the valley of death, where incredible discoveries are lost to a lack of infrastructure and commercial models.

Translational research does not replace discovery research. Its goal is to keep successful discoveries in Australia by seeking funding from sources other than traditional academic grants. Too often, discoveries are made in Australia, at cost to Australians, but the successful findings are commercialised internationally along with the knowledge and talent who make these discoveries. Translational research models are essential to extend the success of Australia's existing world class discovery research while ensuring support for our greatest renewable resource - knowledge.

Similar translational pathways exist in the US, UK and Germany, however Australia has unique qualities and values that require a customized pathway. The TRI translational pathway is designed to achieve the best results for the community while keeping us accountable to each other, our investors and all collaborators in these projects. Our model allows us to adapt to the changing economy and identify where a project might be doomed to the valley of death, assisting by facilitating collaboration and connections which can bring discoveries to fruition. 

Projects in detail

Click the links below or to the right for detailed information about our projects.

Advancing breast tissue engineering

Current breast reconstruction options are limited and involve replacing breast with implants, or transferring existing tissue. Tissue engineering presents a promising solution to breast reconstruction by regenerating tissue rather than replacing it. 

Gardasil HPV Vaccine

Australian immunologist Ian Frazer and his late Chinese colleague Jian Zhou, who died in 1999, developed a vaccine against cervical cancer. The method is ground-breaking because it focuses on prevention, which can be life-saving, in particular for women without regular access to healthcare.

Spectroscopy for high risk breast cancer

A magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) technique that monitors biochemical changes in tissue could improve the management of women at risk of breast cancer.

3-D Technology tracks changes in skin legions

The VECTRA Whole Body 360, the first of its kind outside of the United States, will revolutionise the way we map, monitor and diagnose skin conditions and skin cancer. 

Improved response to drug therapy for cancer

Drugs that trap and cluster the Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor (EGFR) on the cell surface can dramatically improve the capacity of the immune system to kill tumour cells following cetuximab therapy.

>  Improved response to drug therapy for cancer 

Theranostic development for prostate cancer

Enhanced imaging, through the use of biocompatible polymeric theranostic nanoparticles, will allow more accurate diagnosis, staging and decision making for men presenting with prostate cancer or on active surveillance programs. 

Liposome Vaccine Strategy

A liposome vaccine strategy to induce antigen-specific tolerance in Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA).

Blood test for sub-tropical grass allergy

This allergy blood test project is meeting the need for better diagnosis and treatment for subtropical grass pollen allergy.

Herpes Simplex Vaccine

Nineteen of the 20 people in a Phase 1 clinical trial for a new vaccine had produced T-cells in response against HSV2 which causes genital herpes.  Around one in six Australians carry the virus that causes itchy skin lesions, up to one in four Australians aged 40-49 have the virus.

Biomarkers for lymphoma

Current issues in lymphoma management include: delays in diagnosis; deciding the appropriate therapeutic strategy; longitudinal monitoring of response and for relapsed disease; and appropriate use of resources. Lymphoma biomarkers can address all these issues, and offer the potential for personalized lymphoma medicine.

Evaluating benefits of Metformin in the treatment of metastatic prostate cancer

Researchers are leading a world first study using a common diabetes treatment, Metformin, to help men undergoing Androgen Deprivation Therapy. 

New approach to treating type 2 diabetes

The project found that the IL-22 cytokine protects the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas from stress, to restore natural control of blood glucose in type 2 diabetes.

Minimally invasive technologies for skin cancer

There is a clear unmet need for minimally invasive diagnostics and more effective therapeutics in dermatology.  This project has contributed to this by inventing, developing, patenting and publishing two innovative technologies: Microbiopsy and Foroderm.

Therapeutics for kidney and heart disease

This research led by Professor David Johnson and his team from the Princess Alexandra Hospital (PAH) aims to find cost-effective strategies to reduce cardiovascular morbidity and the progression of chronic kidney disease to improve health and reduce healthcare costs.

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