ROMP Ambassador encourages donors after touring malaria labs

Tracy Parish

19 March, 2012

ROMP Ambassadors Leah de Niese and Nick Bracks learn about malaria

ROMP Ambassadors Nick Bracks and Leah de Niese welcomed the chance to find out first-hand about the cutting-edge research at Burnet into The ‘Big Three’: HIV, TB and malaria.

Nick and Leah will join thousands of Rompers at the Melbourne City Romp on Sunday 25 March to raise funds for Burnet’s work.

De Niese also encouraged all Rompers, their family and friends to support Burnet by supporting a ROMP team or by donating directly online.

They enjoyed a special tour of the malaria laboratories, chatted with malaria and tuberculosis researchers, and had an opportunity to see the malaria parasite infecting red blood cells under a microscope.

Leah, a well-known Melbourne actress who has appeared in Offspring and Twentysomething, said she was very impressed with the commitment of the Burnet researchers.

“Everyone is so passionate here about their work which is encouraging,” she said.

“Before being asked to be a ROMP Ambassador I didn’t know a lot about Burnet’s work, but the tour really brought home the health problems facing people overseas.”

Among the Burnet researchers Nick and Leah met was malaria specialist, Dr Freya Fowkes who is working on a project involving pregnant Thai women at a refugee camp on the Thai/Myanmar border.

“One of the key reasons I came to Burnet was the opportunity to work from ‘bench to bedside’ where we can be involved in finding new vaccines and then you can follow through into the field with our international health work,” Dr Fowkes said.

This is not Leah’s first brush with science - she has a close friend who has recently returned from overseas to head up her own laboratory in Melbourne.

“One of my friends is a young scientist and so I know from her all the hard work that is needed to make a breakthrough,” she said.

Nick said he was very pleased to be asked to be a ROMP Ambassador and was looking forward to being involved on event day.

To find out more about the ROMP – go to

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Contact Details

For more information in relation to this news article, please contact:

Tracy Parish

Executive General Manager, Marketing and Communications




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