Australian Centre for Hepatitis Virology (ACHV)

 

The Australian Centre for Hepatitis Virology (ACHV) is an incorporated body of biomedical scientists throughout Australia with the common interest of promoting and disseminating research into all aspects of the hepatitis and related viruses.

Origins

In 1989 a group of Australian researchers gathered at Fairfield Hospital in Melbourne for an informal, one-day meeting on the virology of duck hepatitis B virus (DHBV).  From this date, an annual meeting evolved, held every year from 1994-2003. In 2004 the Australian Centre for HIV and Hepatitis Virology (ACH2) was formed. From 2004 annual meetings were supported by ACH2 and held together with HIV researchers. The annual scientific meeting is attended by most of the leading workers on the virology and immunology of hepatitis viruses and HIV in Australia. The meetings include two or more invited international speakers each year, and around 150 active researchers, from Honours and PhD students to more experienced workers; the environment is critical yet supportive, and collaborative work between laboratories is encouraged.

Aims

To enhance the quality of research into viral hepatitis in Australia by all available means including:

  • Improving the quality of research, communication and collaboration amongst member laboratories.
  • Negotiating adequate resources and funding mechanisms to support an appropriate level of high quality research.
  • Enhancing interaction with clinical hepatologists, epidemiologists and others working in the area of viral hepatitis.
  • Organisation of Annual Scientific Meetings.
  • Acting as a national body for handling donations for work on hepatitis viruses.
  • Acting as a national contact point for studentships and job applications in hepatitis virology.
  • To promote awareness of the need for, and achievements of, hepatitis virus research in Australia, among both the scientific and general community.
  • To be recognised as the body representing the country's major researchers into laboratory and experimental aspects of hepatitis viruses.
  • To provide advice to government, community and medical bodies as required.
  • To promote recognition of Australian hepatitis virus research by liasing with international research bodies and organizing the 11th International Symposium on Viral Hepatitis and Liver Disease.

Major Formal Activities

  • An Annual Scientific Meeting, held in June and open to all hepatitis researchers. This meeting has come to play a   nationally and internationally recognised role as a forum for presentation of high quality, often unpublished results, and for critical evaluation of current research directions
  • An Annual General Meeting, held in June, at which administrative arrangements for the forthcoming year are set in place
  • A Principal Investigators Meeting, held in November and attended by 1 or 2 senior staff from each member laboratory, at which past and future research is discussed and collaborations are developed
  • Organisation of International Hepatitis Meetings

The ACHV does not directly fund research. Member laboratories are supported by grants from the National Health and Medical Research Council, Universities, industry partners etc. Rather, ACHV strives to add value to ongoing research by pursuing the above aims. However, limited funds are being sought to underpin the Annual Meetings (and thereby reduce costs to members, particularly students), and to assist in promotion and communication.