Showcasing our School and Department shared equipment and research initiatives. In this edition we cover the following:
- Stem Cells Australia News
- CRISPR mice
- FANTOM study doubles estimate of functional genes in our genome
- Collaborative education research projects with the Melbourne Graduate School of Education
- Therapeutic Technologies Research Initiative Seed Funding 2017
- Ethics of organoid research under the spotlight
- EMCRA Collaborative Awards
- Imaging & Posters
- Lead Investigator: F. Hollande, Pathology, SBS/MDHS.
Characterising pluripotent stem cell reprogramming using fluorescent barcoding.
- Lead Investigator: D. Stojanovski, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, MDHS.
Using human embryonic stem cells to understand mitochondrial disease.
- Lead Investigator: M. Dottori, Electrical and Electronic Engineering, MSE.
Design of an air-liquid-interface microfluidic chip with an array of electrode.
- Lead Investigator: R. Dagastine, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, MSE.
A role for C. elegans in high-throughput drug discovery: Bridging the innovation gap.
Stem Cells Australia News
On January 30, Professor Melissa Little (MCRI and UOM) was appointed as Program Leader of Stem Cells Australia with Professor Christine Wells appointed as the Deputy Program Leader. Melissa continues her research activities at MCRI but also has an adjunct appointment in the Department of Anatomy and Neuroscience, with an office in KMB. Read more.
Further details of costs, the types of genetic modifications and who to contact are on the School Intranet page. Note: you will need your UoM username and password to access the School intranet.
FANTOM study doubles estimate of functional genes in our genome
A landmark study completed by a group of researchers from Japan and Australia – including Professor Christine Wells from the Department of Anatomy and Neuroscience – has revealed that long non-coding RNAs, a poorly understood and highly controversial class of genes, may link with major diseases, including inflammation and cancer.
The findings, recently published in the journal Nature and marking another milestone for the FANTOM5 consortium, suggest that two-thirds of these RNAs might be functional, hinting that there could be as many, or even more, functional non-coding RNAs than the approximately 20,000 protein-coding genes in the human genome.
Professor Wells, Director of the University’s Centre for Stem Cell Systems and Deputy Program Leader of Stem Cells Australia commented on the significance of these findings: “It is notoriously difficult to predict the function of these long non-coding RNAs, because they lack the protein features that we are most familiar with. This study is significant because it uses genetics and ‘chromosome geography’ to infer function. The study suggests that noncoding RNAs regulate the flow of genetic information in different tissues, and disruption of these molecules occurs in many different types of disease."
Collaborative education research projects with the Melbourne Graduate School of Education
The SBS-ERG (Education Research Group) has formed a new collaboration with The Melbourne Graduate School of Education, in which SBS academics host a Master of Teaching student to carry out a 50-point research project. These will be focused studies on teaching within the School, in which the students will apply an education viewpoint to areas of our teaching through the completion of a thesis.
Two Masters students have been placed in SBS-based projects so far, with Jo Russell (PATH) and Amber Willems-Jones (BCMB). This is an exciting development which strengthens links and collaborations between the two schools.
Therapeutic Technologies Research Initiative Seed Funding 2017
Congratulations to the following researchers on their successful Therapeutic Technologies Research Initiative (TTRI) Seed Funding Applications:
More information about TTRI and these projects: TherapeuticTechnologiesResearch.unimelb.edu.au
Ethics of organoid research under the spotlight
In a special edition of Development, Associate Professor Megan Munsie and colleagues, highlight the ethical issues associated with research involving human organoids.
The ability to create miniature structures that resemble organs - dubbed organoids - offers a new way to understand development and disease. Researchers can now coax stem cells to mimic key features of kidney, gut, liver, mammary glands and many other organs. Capitalising on the interest and promise of this new field, the March issue of the journal Development featured articles discussing scientific progress and its implications.
In their paper, Megan and her colleagues argue that the level of maturity that these mini-organs gain - in the laboratory, or via animal chimeric research - is a key consideration. To ensure research moves forward in an ethically appropriate manner, extension of existing guidelines maybe required. Effective community engagement is also essential to avoid progress being hampered by unfounded misconceptions and fears about misuse of the technology.
Megan Munsie is the Deputy Director of the Centre for Stem Cell Systems and manager of Policy and Outreach in Stem Cells Australia, ARC special research initiative. She and her co-authors, are members of the ISSCR’s Ethics Committee.
EMCRA Collaborative Awards
The EMCRA (Early-Mid Career Researchers Association) is now calling for applications for their new Collaborative Awards. EMCRA has $60K in total available to fund collaborations between level A and B postdocs who come from at least two different departments in the School of Biomedical Sciences. Several small grants (~$10 – 20k each) will be administered by EMCRA. The primary aim of this seed-funding is to support new collaborations between EMCRs from different Departments within the School.
Further details including applicant guidelines, application form and the researcher profile template are available on the School Intranet. Note: you will need your UoM username and password to access the School intranet.
Click on the News and Events tab of the intranet homepage to see the EMCRA announcement.
Imaging & Posters
Department of Anatomy and Neurosciences Imaging and Posters Unit provides an imaging and poster service for all staff and student members of the School of Biomedical Sciences. Click here for a flyer with full details or email email@example.com.
Please send through details of any shared facilities and equipment for the next newsletter via email to: firstname.lastname@example.org