AITHM James Cook University

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Researchers have access to state-of-the-art equipment, professional management and expertise to ensure professional support, training, and consultation in order to meet research objectives.


AITHM’s research facilities in Cairns comprise the mosquito research facility, JCU's eduQuarium, PC2 laboratory and meeting rooms. The AITHM facilities include an advanced protein analysis facility with electrospray ionization (ESI) and matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization (MALDI) mass spectrometry and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, as well as immunology and cell biology suites with multi-colour flow cytometry, and electron/fluorescence microscopy facilities. The completion in early 2018 of an additional AITHM Tropical Health Research and Training facility on the Cairns campus at a total construction cost of $25M will significantly increase capacity to expand research programs. Funded by the Federal Government via the Australian Research Council Special Research Initiative ($18M), the Queensland State Government ($6.5M), and JCU, the new state-of-the-art facility includes office spaces, laboratory and cryogenic storage capacity, and an additional PC2 laboratory that will be used to focus on bio-discovery and the therapeutic potential of tropical flora and fauna. It also contains cryogenic facilities capable of storing clinical biobank material and research samples at temperatures as low as –1900 C. The cryogenic freezers will support research on materials from Queensland’s rainforests and coral reefs, such as venoms, toxins and microbes that either threaten health in the tropics or have potential therapeutic applications.


Completed in 2016, the Townsville facility includes both PC2 and PC3 certified laboratories, animal holding spaces, a Biobank for clinical and epidemiological samples, a translational research facility, and meeting rooms. This construction was enabled by the Queensland State Government ($21.5M), the Federal Government via the Australian Research Council Special Research Initiative ($8M), and JCU. This facility accommodates both laboratory-based and clinical researchers, as well as staff and students in key supporting disciplines including, epidemiology, biostatistics, and health economics. The PC3 laboratory is specially designed to meet safety requirements for work on highly infectious and pathogenic organisms such as TB. Lower-risk pathogens are studied in PC2 labs. Townsville’s Translational Research Facility (TRF) is fitted with five clinic rooms used for clinical trials. The TRF is a space where clinicians and researchers can collaborate to meet the needs of patients, thus ensuring North Queensland trials can be conducted locally, and feed into local health care delivery.

Thursday Island

The AITHM Clinical Research and Training Facility on Thursday Island is adjacent to the Torres Strait Hospital and enables research, training and community engagement. The facility, funded by the Queensland State Government ($6.33M) and JCU ($0.3M), was completed in 2017.

Research in this facility will focus on:

  • Infectious disease, such as tuberculosis
  • Chronic disease, such as diabetes and obesity
  • Parasites
  • Mosquitoes that transmit dengue and Zika
  • Projects of local importance identified by local clinicians.

The community space also provides an ideal platform for engagement and collaboration with the Torres Strait community and the hospital service to ensure translation of findings.


AITHM has established a research hub based in Mackay, which is housed within the Mackay Health and Hospital Service, co-located with other Mackay-based JCU staff. The research team’s focus is on occupational health and safety.