Multi-million dollar grant for ARC Training Centre announced

A $4.7 Million grant towards a $13 million ARC Industrial Transformation Training Centre (ITTC) has been announced on the 14th of July 2020.

The ITTC is one of five new Australian Research Council (ARC) Training Centres announced during July and will be dedicated to enabling the power of cryo-electron microscopy to reveal membrane protein structures as a basis for structure-enhanced drug design.

The training centre is a major collaboration of academic and industry partners including the University of Melbourne’s Bio21 (Molecular Science and Biotechnology Institute). Members of Bio21 from the School of Biomedical Sciences involved in this large-scale collaboration include Professor Michael Parker, Associate Professor Isabelle Rouiller and Associate Professor Michael Griffin.

Bio21 Researcher for ARC Training Centre

Professor Michael Parker, from the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, is Director of the Bio21 Institute at the University of Melbourne and Head of Structural Biology at St. Vincent’s Institute of Medical Research. He also leads the internationally recognised Michael Parker Laboratory within the School of Biomedical Sciences. His laboratory’s research centres around the study of crystallography and has been credited with the determination of more than 100 crystal structures.

Associate Professor Isabelle Rouiller is also from the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and heads the Isabelle Rouiller Laboratory at the University of Melbourne. Her primary research interest is in structural studies of protein complexes important in mitochondrial and neuronal health, Alzheimer’s and Huntington's diseases. Professor Rouiller and her team also utilise cryo-electron microscopy as a structural biology approach to study how molecular machines function.

Principal research fellow for the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Associate Professor Michael Griffin, will also be a part of this exciting collaboration. He leads the Michael Griffin Laboratory, which focuses on the structure and function of amyloid fibrils associated with diseases such as Alzheimer’s. He aims to develop strategies to understand/inhibit amyloid fibril formation.

The ARC ITTC will provide new links between academic and commercial partners, allowing for the expansion of economic investment into the Australian biotechnology sector.

“The centre will provide excellent opportunities for graduate students interested in structural biology, membrane proteins and therapeutic design with world class facilities surrounded by exceptional expertise,” says Associate Professor Mike Griffin.

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