Prof E. Gowans

Eric Gowans

University of Adelaide, SA

Eric Gowans completed his early training in Edinburgh in diagnostic Bacteriology and Virology through Napier College (now Napier University).  He then spent some time as a full time electron microscopist with emphasis on Virology and was recruited to work with Professor Barrie Marmion and Dr (now Professor) Christopher Burrell to investigate the cause of an outbreak of hepatitis in the renal dialysis unit. He was recruited to the IMVS, Adelaide in 1979 and subsequently completed a PhD on aspects of the replication strategy of HBV.  He was awarded a Senior Research Fellowship from the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) in 1993,  He was appointed as Director, Sir Albert Sakzewski Virus Research Centre, Brisbane in 1995 and Honorary Professor in the University of Queensland.  As a result of a contract from the Federal Government, he showed that hepatitis G virus was not pathogenic and as a result of this work, the Federal Government decided against the introduction of HGV testing in the Blood Banks, at an annual saving of $30M (1998).

He then took up the position of Senior Principle Research Fellow in the Burnet Institute, Melbourne and continued his work on HCV.  He was awarded a grant from the National Institutes of Health in the USA to examine the efficacy of dendritic cell immunotherapy in HCV infection.  This work culminated in a clinical trial in HCV patients that was completed in 2008, immediately before he moved back to Adelaide.  He was appointed as Honorary Professor in the Discipline of Surgery, University of Adelaide and established his laboratory at the Basil Hetzel Institute, the research wing of The Queen Elizabeth Hospital.  He has continued his work to design novel vaccines for HCV, and because many of the problems and issues related to a vaccine for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) are similar, he and his laboratory staff also study HIV vaccine design.  Throughout his career, Eric Gowans has supervised 17 PhD graduates and 2 Masters graduates, and is currently the principal supervisor for 4 PhD students.  His laboratory is currently funded by grants from the National Health and Medical Research Council, from the Australian Centre for HIV and Hepatitis Virology and from the Australia-India Biotechnology Fund.