Research News

Fantastic work continues with our researchers being recognised in the news for their published work. To name a few, latest publication from Anatomy & Neuroscience, Kat Holt and Laura Mackay, Prof David Jackson, Peter Crouch, Prof Leann Tilley and many more...

1/05 Bower NI, Koltowska K, Pichol-Thievend C, Virshup I*, Paterson S, Lagendijk AK, Wang W, Lindsey BW, Bent SJ, Baek S, Rondon-Galeano M, Hurley DG*, Mochizuki N, Simons C, Francois M, Wells CA*, Kaslin J, Hogan B. * Department of Anatomy & Neuroscience staff
Mural lymphatic endothelial cells regulate angiogenesis in the zebrafish meninge.
Nature Neuroscience online 1 May 2017
  Hon CC, Rafalowski JA, Harshbarger J, Bertin N, Rackham OJL, Gough J, Denisenko E, Schmeier S, Poulsen TM, Severin J, Lizio M, Kawaji H, Kasukawa T, Itoh M, Burroughs AM, Noma S, Djebali S, Alam T, Medvedeva YA, Testa AC, Lipovich L, Yip CW, Abugessaisa I, Mendez M, Hasegawa A, Tang D, Lassmann T, Heutink P, Babina M, Wells CA*, Kojima S, Nakamura Y, Suzuki H, Daub CO, de Hoon MJL, Arner E, Hayashizaki Y, Carninci P, Forrest ARR. * Department of Anatomy & Neuroscience staff
An atlas of human long non-coding RNAs. 
Nature 543 (7644): 199-20. Developing a new functional ontology for noncoding RNAs. A collaboration with the FANTOM consortium.
 Stamp LA, Gwynne RM, Foon JPP, Lomax AE, Hao MM, Kaplan D, Reid CA, Petrou S, Allen AM, Bornstein JC, Young HM.  Department of Anatomy and Neuroscience Staff
Optogenetic demonstration of functional innervation of postnatal mouse colon by neurons derived from transplanted neural cells. 
Gastroenterology 2017; 152: 1407-1418.
(Context: This is the leading journal in the field, Impact Factor 18; many of the other authors are also members of the School, in the Department of Physiology)
12/05 Kat Holt and Laura Mackay HHMI International Research Scholars
Our congratulations to Kat Holt (Biochemistry & Molecular Biology) and Laura Mackay (Microbiology & Immunology) on being awarded these prestigious awards.
16/05 The Flu Hunters
A crack team of international scientists are dedicated to fighting the flu, tracking its many mutations across the globe. Featured academic: Professor Kanta Subbarao, Department of Microbiology & Immunology.
18/05 Professor Fabienne Mackay recipient of 2017 Lackmann Medal for Translational Research
Our congratulations to Fabienne on receiving this prestigious award.
29/05 Innavac receives AU$6.3 million venture capital support from MRCF and Uniseed
Our congratulations to Professor David Jackson, Department of Microbiology & Immunology, and Dr Nathan Bartlett on receiving this funding to support their research.
30/05 Funding boost for multiple sclerosis research
Four University of Melbourne researchers have been awarded funding from MS Research Australia for projects that advance prevention and treatment for multiple sclerosis (MS) – a debilitating disorder of the central nervous system that can affect the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves. MS affects more than 23,000 Australians and 2.3 million people worldwide.
30/05 Dr Peter Crouch recipient of $1 million grant from Fight MND
Our congratulations to Peter on receiving this grant from MND for his research on neurodegenerative disease.
4/06 Early intervention by flu border patrol prevents pulmonary infection
Our congratulations to Angela Pizzolla, Linda Wakim and their colleagues from the Department of Microbiology and Immunology on publication of their paper in Science Immunology.
8/06 Alastair Stewart receives 2017 ARC funding for industrial Transformation Training Centre
Our congratulations to Alastair and his team on gaining funding for an Industrial Transformation Training Centre (ITTC) in Pharmacology and Therapeutics.
8/06 $10.5 million ARC grants for innovative training centres
The University of Melbourne has been awarded $10.5 million over five years by the Australian Research Council’s (ARC) Industrial Transformation Training Centres scheme to establish three training centres.
14/06 University of Melbourne plays pivotal role in tackling snakebite worldwide
The World Health Organization added snakebite to the highest priority list of ‘Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs).
29/06 EMCRA Collaborative Award: 2017 Winners Announced
Our warmest congratulations to the winners and thank you to everyone who submitted an application.
6/07 Co-storage of enteroendocrine hormones evaluated at the cell and subcellular levels in male mice
Congratulations to Linda Fothergill, a PhD student in the Department of Anatomy & Neuroscience, who recently had a paper published as the Editor's Choice feature article in the July issue of Endocrinology.  Having her publication ranked as Editor's Choice in this prestigious publication is a great achievement.

Endocrinology has published a commentary on the article and made a post featuring Linda on YouTube ( Linda used super-resolution microscopy and unbiased computer analysis to show that endocrine hormones in enteroendocrine cells of the gut are colocalised in the same cells, but at the subcellular level are in separate secretory vesicles. The Commentary points out that:
  • There is tremendous interest in the manipulation of EEC function as a therapeutic target for diabetes and obesity
  • That Fothergill et al. showed that imaging at the level of the secretory granule, rather than simply quantifying the extent of immunofluorescence overlap at the cellular level, can more accurately and precisely reveal the complexity of hormone storage patterns in EECs.
  • That super-resolution microscopy can reveal hormone coexpression patterns at the level of granule populations that cannot be visualized by regular cellular immunofluorescence.
The article is: Fothergill LJ, Callaghan B, Hunne B, Bravo DM, Furness JB: Co-storage of enteroendocrine hormones evaluated at the cell and subcellular levels in male mice. Endocrinology 2017; 158: 2113-2123. doi: 10.1210/en.2017-00243.
10/07 Breaking malaria's lethal grip: Targeting the assembly of an adhesive complex on infected red blood cells

Our congratulations to Professor Leann Tilley and her colleagues on their publication in Nature Communications.

The particular virulence of the most deadly of the malaria parasites, Plasmodium falciparum, is associated with binding of parasite-infected red blood cells (RBCs) to sites in the brain and the placenta. Despite its importance, the mode of trafficking and display of the parasite-encoded adhesin, PfEMP1 at the RBC surface is poorly understood.

Here we define the PfEMP1 binding partners en route to the RBC membrane and show that export involves a novel protein complex, which we refer to as the Exported Protein-Interacting Complex (EPIC).

Using an inducible knockdown approach, we show that depletion of one of the EPIC components, PV1, results in decreased rigidity of the infected RBC membrane, altered RBC surface morphology, and attenuation of the ability of infected RBC to cytoadhere to endothelial cell ligands. Accordingly, we show that deletion of the PV1 homologue in a mouse model of malaria is associated with attenuation of parasite virulence in vivo.

This work was published in Nature Communications 2017; 8: 16044.


Congratulations to Associate Professor Megan Munsie and Dr Claire Tanner whose new book examines the dynamics that drive and sustain stem cell tourism

Our congratulations to Associate Professor Megan Munsie and Dr Claire Tanner from the Centre for Stem Cell Systems on the publication of their book which addresses the complex forces that shape and perpetuate a market for commercial stem cell treatments.

photo of cover of book coauthored by Associate Professor Megan Munsie and Dr Claire Tanner

Stem Cell Tourism and the Political Economy of Hope is a culmination of work undertaken by a researchers from the University of Melbourne and Monash University, providing a unique and innovative perspective on the controversial phenomenon of ‘stem cell tourism’. A growing number of patients are embarking on stem cell treatments that are clinically unproven and yet available in clinics and hospitals around the world. The authors offer a multi-dimensional perspective on this complex and rapidly changing phenomenon, including an analysis of the experiences of those who have undertaken or have contemplated undertaking a stem cell treatment, as well as examination of the views of those who advise on or provide unproven stem cell treatments.