Bosch Institute News 2013
Roger Dampney will be leaving for Boston to present 2013 Carl Ludwig Distinguished Lectureship in April
13TH OF APRIL 2013
The Carl Ludwig Distinguished Lectureship of the APS Neural Control & Autonomic Regulation Section this year is to be given by Professor Roger Dampney. Roger will present this lecture at the Meeting of the American Physiological Society on Monday, April 22 in Boston.
The Lecturer is selected by members of the NCAR Section as a representative of the best within the discipline. Roger is the second Australian to be awarded this honour, the previous recipient being Professor Murray Esler of the Baker Heart Research Institute.
Past 5 years recipients:
- 2012 Irving H. Zucker PhD, University of Nebraska College of Medicine “Sympathetic Nerve Activity in Heart Failure: a Critical Role for Central Angiotensin II Receptors”
- 2011 Professor Allyn Mark, University of Iowa College of Medicine Lecture “The Neurobiologic Regulation of Blood Pressure and Activity in Obesity: Insights from Leptin"”.
3RD OF APRIL 2013
Anti-MuSK myasthenia gravis is an autoimmune disease in which the patient's antibodies interfere with Muscle Specific Kinase (MuSK), a protein involved in making the synapse by which motor nerves control muscle. Patients become weak and can have trouble breathing and swallowing. Dr Marco Morsch from Associate Professor Bill Phillips laboratory, Bosch Institute, used a mouse model of anti-MuSK myasthenia gravis to test potentially useful treatments. He found that pyridostigmine, a drug that is very effective for other forms of myasthenia gravis, was of no benefit. Instead pyridostigmine exacerbated the disease process and caused weakness in mice injected with anti-MuSK patient antibodies. A second drug, 3,4-diaminopyridine offered some benefit without affecting the disease process. These translational drug studies have revealed some important clues about the way in which nerve-to-muscle signalling regulates the health of the nerve muscle connection throughout life.
Pyridostigmine but not 3,4-diaminopyridine exacerbates ACh receptor loss and myasthenia induced in mice by Muscle Specific Kinase autoantibody.
Morsch M, Reddel SW, Ghazanfari N, Toyka KV, *Phillips WD*.
J Physiol. 2013 Feb 25. [Epub ahead of print]
22ND OF FEBRUARY 2013
The 7th Annual Bosch Institute Young Investigator’s Retreat was held at the Kioloa ANU Coastal Campus, from the 19th-21st of February 2013. The retreat brought together 31 young researchers from laboratories of the Bosch Institute for 3 days. The 5 academics facilitated discussions and workshops on topics varying from effective presentation skills, academic writing, career-mentoring and fellowship applications. The retreat was the perfect environment to get to know a wide variety of graduate students and post docs from the laboratories of the Bosch Institute. The social schedule underpinned the formal workshops and provided opportunities for the academics to answer more directed career-related questions. The retreats great success is a credit to the hard work and diligence of the Bosch Young Investigator Committee under the leadership of A/Prof. Frank Lovicu. I learnt a great deal from the young investigators and the academics and I would like to take this opportunity thank all the participants.
Report by - Emma Collinson (Research Fellow)
Please click to read more.
11TH OF JANUARY 2013
For Professor Jonathan Stone and Professor Mathew Vadas, scientific collaboration is not new but recently both momentarily hung up their lab coats and collaborated in another endeavor: the Sydney to Hobart yacht race.
The Bosch Institute was represented in this year’s Sydney to Hobart yacht race. The race, which starts on Boxing Day each year, has evolved into one of the iconic races in the yachting calendar – because it takes the boats south, across Bass Strait, into the ‘roaring forties’ winds, sought out by old merchant ships and modern round-the-world yachties, for a fast passage.
Bosch’s Executive Director (Jonathan Stone) and the Executive Director of the Centenary Institute (Mat Vadas) headed a campaign, in their co-owned forty-foot boat Breakthrough.
“We needed the right crew, the right boat – then a series of shakedown races, lasting through winter and spring”, says Jon Stone. “We chose the boat carefully, a modern cruiser-racer; then drew on experience and trial-and-error to put together a terrific crew. And we raced her around the Harbour over the winter, then in offshore races as far away as Southport during the spring months leading up to the big race.”
Co-owner and co-skipper Mat Vadas added “Really the first step was the right co-owners. Jon and I were BMedSci students together, in Peter Bishop’s lab (Physiology, University of Sydney) in the 1960’s. Now, at the other end our careers, this adventure was irresistible. An enormous effort, but incredibly worthwhile”.
The name of the boat? “Well, we wanted something that had a meaning in a scientific setting – it’s something we look for in our institutes, and in our own labs, now in the boat”.
The race (JS): “This race has half a dozen stages – the race out of the Harbour, then down the NSW coast to Bass Strait, then across the Strait (a hard, fast segment this time – a powerful westerly blew us across, the boat laid over on its port gunwale for 20 hours); then the race to maintain momentum down the coast of Tasmania, where often the winds fade and the race can be won or lost; then across Storm Bay, then north up the Derwent Estuary.
“Like most boats, our performance was average on some legs (for us, out of the Harbour) and brilliant in others (we were leading our Division after crossing the Strait).
“But every boat is racing hard, and will press any advantage of wind or weather that comes its way. We came in 29/77 overall and 8/16 in our Division – so, a top half finish in a major ocean race. It was Mat’s first Hobart, my second; if I were 20 years younger ………”
The memories (MV): “Always the start, the tension, anticipation, the celebration of the moment; being seasick in lumpy seas on the first afternoon; the westerly blast that drove across ‘the paddock’ (the open seas of the Strait); the cold southerlies at 43°south, where the race turns west into Storm Bay; the warm welcome from the Hobart crowds – every boat was cheered; the buzz on Constitution dock”.
Congratulations to Dr. Katie Dixon and Dr. Zaklina Kovacevic on receiving individual Cancer Institute NSW's Early Career Development Fellowship Program Grants
11TH OF JANUARY 2013
Health and Medical Research Minister Jillian Skinner has awarded $3.4 million in grants to six young researchers who are forging careers to find new treatments and a cure for cancer. Bosch Institute members Dr. Katie Dixon and Dr. Zaklina Kovacevic were two of the lucky six.
Dr. Katie Dixon’s work will focus on examining how vitamin D compounds contribute to protection of skin cells from DNA damage due to sunlight. Katie will also examine whether other newly identified compounds, which act like vitamin D, but which are cheaper and more stable, also protect against UV damage.
Dr. Zaklina Kovacevi’s work will focus on the investigation of the novel molecular target NDRG1 to better understand the underlying function of NDRG1 in pancreatic cancer and how it can potentially target this gene with novel therapeutics being developed in the lab.
Health and Medical Research Minister Jillian Skinner has awarded $3.4 million in grants to six young researchers who are forging careers to find new treatments and a cure for cancer.
Mrs Skinner said the three-year grants are part of the Cancer Institute NSW's Early Career Development Fellowship program.
"Few people can say their lives have not been touched by cancer so it is vital that we invest in fighting this terrible disease," Mrs Skinner said.
"I am committed to ensuring our best and brightest researchers have the means to discover new treatments and potentially a cure for cancer to deliver better outcomes for patients here and across the globe.
By 2021 almost 51,000 people in NSW will be told 'you have cancer'. It has never been more important to invest in cures and treatments to reduce the burden of this disease.
"The work of these six researchers will ensure patients benefit from cutting-edge cancer research as their findings are translated into better treatments and care across the NSW health system.
"By 2021 almost 51,000 people in NSW will be told 'you have cancer'. It has never been more important to invest in cures and treatments to reduce the burden of this disease," Mrs Skinner said.
The areas of research include new therapies for the prevention of skin cancer, testing novel therapies for prostate cancer and research into cancer prevention intervention specifically for disadvantaged communities.
"The work these researchers are doing is at the forefront of cancer studies. I commend them on their efforts and look forward to learning about the results of their research," Mrs Skinner said.
Professor David Currow, Chief Cancer Officer and CEO of the Cancer Institute NSW said that investing in the future of cancer research will have a significant impact on the way we understand and treat cancers.
"I welcome this announcement as it gives certainty to our state's finest and freshest researchers to undertake their important and potentially life-saving work."
10TH OF JANUARY 2013
Congratulations to Associate Professor Kay Double on being awarded the 2013 Humboldt Prize for Innovative Network Initiatives!
The prize is awarded by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, Germany. This is an international prize for former Humboldt Fellows world-wide to develop schemes supportive of research and researchers in all disciplines internationally. Kay had submitted an application for support for the national mentoring program she had set up in Australia for young researchers in 2011. The prize is Euro 25,000 (to support the scheme). It will be presented in June 2013 at the Foundation's national conference in Berlin.
10TH OF JANUARY 2013
Maria Byrne joined a group flown to Antarctica by the US army in a Hercules jet as part a trip organised by 'Antarctica NZ'. She spent 20 days with University of Otago staff and post-graduates. While there, she spent time researching the effects of ocean acidification as a result of global warming on marine life.
Maria's research is focused on sea life vulnerable to climate change. Her experiments had to be continued after she left by others due to the incredibly slow growth rates in cold polar climates.
The trip also had an educational component for New Zealand school children. Students of ages ranging from 6 to 12 years old were able to have phone calls with the researchers where they could ask a variety of questions about the experience of living and researching in Antarctica.
Maria felt privileged to be able to visit Shackleton and Scott's huts'. The well preserved surrounds were a step back in time to the age of the polar expeditions. Though you cannot touch anything in the huts due to the historical and heritage importance of the sites, Maria found the experience to be truly memorable and special.
After the huts, the animals of the antarctic were another memorable part of her journey. Highlights included Adélie penguins and Weddell seals.
1ST OF JANUARY 2013
The Bosch Institute Advanced Microscopy Facility Micrograph of the Year Competition has reached its 5th year. Lots of excellent micrographs were received for this year’s competition making the judging very difficult. Congratulations to all of the prize winners and well done to all the Top 20 entrants whose images can be seen on display in the lobby of the Medical Foundation Building until the end of January.
Thank you to Dr Louise Cole and Dr Yingying Su for organising the competition and to A/Prof. Cedric Shorey (Anatomy & Histology) and Dr Jenny Whiting (ACMM) for judging the competition and to all the sponsors who so generously supported this competition: Bosch Institute, Carl Zeiss Australia, BioStrategy and Molecular Devices, Olympus Australia, Nikon Australia and Coherent Scientific, Perkin Elmer, Leica Microsystems, LasTek and LaVision BioTec. Read more...