LSTM’s Dr Elena Mitsi awarded the Robert Austrian Research Award

News article 23 Jun 2022

LSTM’s Dr Elena Mitsi was awarded the Robert Austrian Research Award this week the 12th International Symposium on Pneumococci and Pneumococcal Diseases in Toronto, Canada.

The Robert Austrian Research Award is a prestigious award in pneumococcal vaccinology, established in honour of the late Robert Austrian and sponsored by Pfizer. The goal of the award is to promote research in this field, which contributes to the development of new and improved vaccines, delivery systems and vaccination strategies against the bacteria Streptococcus pneumoniae.

Dr Elena Mitsi received the prestigious Robert Austrian award, which was accompanied by $25000, based on a research proposal to investigate bacterial and host gene expression profiles associated with pneumococcal shedding.  Dr Mitsi hopes to identify potential vaccine targets that could block bacterial transmission and will present her research findings at the 13th International Symposium on Pneumococci and Pneumococcal Diseases, which will be held in Cape Town, South Africa in 2024.

Dr Mitsi said: “I am delighted to have received the Robert Austrian award in pneumococcal vaccinology. I submitted my application back in 2020- a month before the COVID-19 pandemic was declared. Over the last two years, the importance of interrupting host-to-host transmission has been highlighted. Using samples from individuals that were exposed to pneumococcus in a controlled and safe way, I will examine pneumococcal genes that contribute to its transmission. The proteins encoded by this gene would be potential new targets for blocking transmission of pneumococcus and preventing pneumococcal disease. I am excited to be working on this project and contributing to the development of new effective and affordable vaccines against pneumococcus”.