Skip to content

A healthier start to life for all children through elimination of infectious diseases.


To become a world class centre for infectious diseases research, and the leader in paediatric infectious diseases research in our region.

Infectious diseases continue to be most common reason for hospitalisation of young children in Western Australia and the number one cause of death in children worldwide.

The threat from infectious diseases is a growing problem due to globalisation, increased mobility, over-crowding, greater urbanisation and excessive antibiotic use.

Vaccines together with improved hygiene have made the biggest impact in reducing infectious diseases around the world. They are responsible for eradicating smallpox and virtually eliminating polio. Measles, diphtheria, and whooping cough infections are also at an all-time low thanks to vaccines.

By doing more research into their safe and most effective use there is enormous scope for vaccines to contribute even more to public health. This includes more research to understand what the burden of infectious diseases is in different populations, how this changes over time and what the most important risk factors are. At the same time, more basic research is needed to understand the mechanisms of disease and disease severity, and how vaccines work and could work better to provide better and longer protection. Not all serious infections can yet be prevented by vaccines, and more research to discover and develop new vaccines is needed, but also where vaccines are not available, not used, or not effective, better diagnostic tools that can tell in the shortest possible time whether a child has a serious infection or not and better and new ways to treat are needed.

Associate Professor Lea-Ann Kirkham

Co-Director, Wesfarmers Centre of Vaccines and Infectious Diseases; Co-Head, Bacterial Respiratory Infectious Disease Group; Microbiology Lead, Wesfarmers Centre of Vaccines & Infectious Diseases


Dr Christopher Blyth

Co-Director, Wesfarmers Centre of Vaccines and Infectious Diseases; Co-Head, Infectious Diseases Epidemiology, Wesfarmers Centre of Vaccines and Infectious Diseases, Honorary and NHMRC Emerging Leadership Fellow


That's Why

Providing a healthier start to life for all children

If you'd like to get in touch, please contact us by phone or email.

Phone: (08) 6319 1420

All media enquiries should be directed to Kate Crassweller, Communications Specialist for the Wesfarmers Centre of Vaccines & Infectious Diseases.

Phone: (08) 6319 1424

A $5 million foundation grant from Wesfarmers Limited enabled our Centre of Vaccines and Infectious Diseases to be established in 2014. Wesfarmers' support provides leverage to secure ongoing funding from other sources.

A further $6 million commitment over four years was made by Wesfarmers in October 2017, followed by an additional $8 million over 5 years in October 2021. This vital funding supports the Centre's vision to give all children a healthier start to life through the elimination of infectious diseases.

Our Centre aims to prevent and improve the treatment of infectious diseases in children and adolescents. Reducing the high rates of rheumatic heart disease, lung, and ear infections in Aboriginal children is a particular focus. We are committed to solving local issues with a strong focus on translational research by working closely with clinicians and policy makers.