Funding for New Centre to Propel Australia to Forefront of Cancer Research
Children's Medical Research Institute (CMRI) and the University of Newcastle (UoN) are pleased to announce they have received funding to establish the Australian Cancer Research Foundation Centre for Kinomics (ACRF-CFK) - an Australian-first that will provide an entirely new approach to the understanding of cancer therapeutic drugs and ways to improve them.
This significant, non-commercial initiative builds upon demonstrated research excellence, leadership and successful collaborations between scientists from CMRI and UoN. The ACRF-CFK will be equipped with state-of-the-art instrumentation, thanks to generous funding from the Australian Cancer Research Foundation (ACRF) who provided a $3.1 million grant, supplemented with additional funding of $1 million from the Ramaciotti Foundation
International alliance delivers treasure trove of data
Associate Professor Peter Lewis and his research group are the only Australian members of the international team, which has developed a complete understanding of the consequences of changes in a cell during disease development. The findings of the Bacillus Systems Biology (BaSysBio) project, will ultimately lead to the development of new drugs to protect people against antibiotic resistant infections, including golden staph.
Associate Professor Lewis received $486,000 from the National Health and Medical Research Council and $110,000 from the Australian Government Department of Education, Science and Training for his team’s part in the project.
CCB Partnership with Invasive Animal CRC Funded
On 22nd November 2011 the Minister for Innovation Senator Kim Carr announced the successful rebid by the Invasive Animals CRC for funding until 2017.
PRCCB team Prof Eileen McLaughlin, Dr Shaun Roman and Prof Adam McCluskey are integral to the design and testing of key technologies to reduce the impacts of new and existing pest animals on Australia’s agricultural competitiveness and biodiversity assets and will benefit from $19.7 million awarded to the IACRC.
ARC Discovery Project 2011
Prof Eileen McLaughlin, Dr Gary Hime (Melbourne) and Prof Margaret Fuller (Stanford) - Australian Research Council Discovery Projects - Role of Musashi in the Regulation of Cell Cycle Proteins - $280,000.
NHMRC Grants October 2011
In October 2011 the NHMRC has awarded the following grants to CCB Members:
- Prof Adam McCluskey, Prof Eileen McLaughlin, A/Prof Peter Lewis, A/Prof Brett Nixon, Dr Shaun Roman, Dr Jennette Sakoff and Dr Ian Grainge National Health & Medical Research Council Equipment Grant - Ultrasonic Homogenizer System and -80°C Freezers for Chemical and Biological Sample Storage - $10,000 .
- Prof Katherine Loveland (Monash) and Prof Eileen McLaughlin - Hedgehog Signalling in Spermatogenesis - $506,175.00.
- Prof Nicholas Dixon (Wollongong), Dr Ian Grainge and Assoc Prof Peter Lewis - Targeting Nucleic Acid Synthesis and Cell Division in Gram-Negative Bacterial Pathogens - $934,319.
- Prof Phil Robinson (Sydney) and Prof Adam McCluskey - Mechanism of Action of Dynamin Ring Stabilizer Compounds Controlling the Actin Cytoskeleton - $637,020.
- Dr Megan Chircop (Sydney), Prof Phil Robinson (Sydney), Prof Adam McCluskey and Dr Jennette Sakoff - The Role of Clathrin in the Spindle Assembly and as an Anti-Cancer Agent - $629,685.
New drugs are required to combat the development of antibiotic resistanceProf Adam McCluskey and colleagues at the University of Adelaide (Dr Darren Trott) are the recipients of an ARC Linkage Project ($428,000) to develop and characterise a new class of antimicrobial agent for multidrug-resistant infections. This project is an academic/industry collaborative effort with Neoculi Pty Ltd (Dr Stephen Page). This project will conduct further tests on a new compound that has shown initial activity against resistant superbugs by understanding how it works against bacteria and varying the chemical structure to improve effectiveness.
New researchers in chemical biologyThe CCB synthetic chemistry capability has received a significant boost with the commencement of a new PhD student, Lacey Hizartzidis. Lacey is a University of Adelaide (BSc) and University of Newcastle (BSc Hons 1st Class). Lacy joins Prof McCluskey’s research team with her project aimed at the development of world first clathrin inhibitors.
The CCB also welcomes three new postdoctoral fellows in chemical biology and medicinal chemistry:
- Dr Christopher Gordon (PhD Wollongong) has been appointed as a University Research Fellow and will work within the Priority Research Center for Chemical Biology. He has particular interests in quorum sensing which is important in the establishment of infection in pathogenic bacteria.
- Dr Cecilia Russell joins Prof McCluskey after an extensive stint with Jurox after completing her PhD in medicinal chemistry at the University of Newcastle. Cec has been appointed to lead the development of new flow chemistry methodologies. For more information about our flow chemistry capabilities and the availability of this equipment for external users please contact Cec at Cecilia.Russell@newcastle.edu.au
- Mr Mark Tarleton (BSc(Hons) University of Newcastle) who will work alongside Professors McCluskey, McLaughlin and Laureate Prof John Aitken in the development of a humane non-surgical sterilization method for domestic animals.
- Dr Joseph (Joey) Ambrus (PhD Wollongong, PostDoc ANU) joins Prof McCluskeys group on a hit to lead program developing novel anti-epileptic drugs that are only triggered during the onset of an epileptic seizure.
Successful NHMRC Development Grant
The NHMRC has awarded the CCB research team led by Prof McCluskey $545,000 over three years to develop new anti-epileptic drugs that only act at the onset of a seizure, thereby (potentially) limiting the side effects common to most current anti-epileptic drugs.
On 6th June 2011, The Epilepsy Report published an article in regards to Professor McCluskey's research in this area. View this article.
ARC LIEF Successes
Associate Professor Peter Lewis, in collaboration with Profs McLaughlin & McCluskey has led a successful LIEF ($500,000) - for the purchase state-of-the-art equipment that will enable the establishment of a Regional biophysical analysis facility shared between the Universities of Newcastle, Wollongong and University of Technology Sydney. This equipment will be used to analyse the interactions essential for cells to function and screen new drug leads for the development of compounds such as anti-cancer therapies and antibiotics.
With $500,000 in new LIEF funding from the Australian Research Council (ARC), Professor Chris Grof and colleague Prof Ray Rose will build a super-sized greenhouse to accommodate giant plants for its biofuel research. This facility will house Sorghum a model crop for biofuels. It is water efficient, and unlike other potential biofuel crops such as maize and wheat, it has limited use as a human food source and position the team to advance its research into sustainable energy