Photo of Elina Spina

Elina Spina


  • The University of Western Australia (M504), 35 Stirling Highway, Room 2.13, L Block, QEII Medical Centre

    6009 Perth


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Personal profile


In 1997 Professor Barry Marshall established the Helicobacter pylori Research Laboratory at the QEII Medical Centre Research Laboratory to study this organism.
Research has already been carried out on improving diagnostic methods, and on the bacteria's prevalence within the Australian population and within family groups. At present a study is underway to determine whether a person can be reinfected with their own strain of Helicobacter pylori ‘Understanding gastrointestinal disease, particularly Helicobacter pylori. The purpose of the study is to examine the stomach lining, with particular emphasis on Helicobacter pylori, the bacterium that causes gastric ulcers, also looking at related effects in blood cells, saliva, urine, stools and stomach fluid. The benefits of this research could lead to new medical discoveries which could make endoscopy unnecessary in the future and help us better understand stomach complaints.
Increasing levels of resistance to the antibiotics routinely used to eradicate Helicobacter pylori mean that roughly 15% of patients are not cured of their infections with standard ‘over-the-counter’ drug combinations. Such patients are referred to Prof Marshall and, after isolation of their Helicobacter pylori strain they receive a ‘tailor-made’ combination of antibiotics prescribed specifically to eradicate their strain of Helicobacter pylori.
If they are found to have Helicobacter pylori infection, they may wish to have antibiotic treatment of some kind. Treatment of Helicobacter pylori is usually simple and straight forward. However, occasional patients need repeated endoscopies, biopsies, breath tests and several courses of treatment with different antibiotic combinations.
After treatment of Helicobacter pylori, it is necessary to repeat one of these tests to see if the germ has been killed or eradicated for good. Only breath tests or endoscopy with biopsy can be used to prove that the bacterium has been eradicated. The blood tests *(serology) is not suitable to monitor Helicobacter pylori eradication because antibodies to Helicobacter pylori may remain positive for months or even years after successfully killing the Helicobacter pylori.
Since 2005 work has been carried out on a new vaccine and drug delivery system called the “Helicobacter pylori Platform Technology” via the new biotechnology start-up company Ondek, funded by Western Australian and international investors, and supplemented by an AusIndustry commercial-ready grant from the Federal government.

The Marshall Centre was founded in 2007 to celebrate the awarding of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine to Professor Barry Marshall and Emeritus Professor Robin Warren. The Marshall Centre provides a focus for infectious diseases research and epidemiology and attracts funds, research staff and international visitors.

The Marshall Centre provides a focus for infectious diseases research and epidemiology, and attracts funds, research staff and international visitors. The Centre’s principal goals and objectives are to build the capacity to perform world-class infectious diseases research and disease surveillance, facilitate the development of new vaccines and diagnostic technologies for H.pylori and other pathogens, facilitate postgraduate and professional training and provide a vehicle for public education in infectious diseases.

Roles and responsibilities

Provide senior administrative strategic planning and direction to support Professor Barry Marshall, UWA Brand Ambassador, WA Ambassador for Life Sciences and Director for the UWA Marshall Centre for Infectious Diseases Research and Training. Respond to complex and diverse enquiries from local, national and international stakeholders, as well as provide senior administrative and executive support.

Future research

Funding overview

University of Western Australia (UWA Brand Ambassador)

Department for Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation (WA Ambassador for Life Sciences)

Philanthropic Donations

Current projects


Strategic Plan 2018-2023


Our vision is…

to champion ideas and thinking that are nobélisable [French, adj]– worthy of a Nobel Prize.


Our purpose is…

to conduct world-class medical research and training to diagnose, treat and prevent disease.


Our strategic goal is…

to be at the forefront of medical research here in Western Australia within the next five years.

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