Success for Pharmacy in LIEF funding outcomes

16 December 2009

Academics at the Faculty of Pharmacy have recently been successful participants in securing funding under the Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities Scheme run by the Australian Research Council (ARC).

The Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities (LIEF) scheme fosters collaboration through its support of the cooperative use of national and international research facilities. Essentially, the scheme provides funding for large-scale cooperative initiatives, so that expensive infrastructure, equipment and facilities can be shared by researchers in partnered organisations.

LIEF success means access to novel and innovative pieces of equipment. High performance analytical tools are vital to the success of emerging research fields of national priority. Pharmacy is one of a number of disciplines that will benefit from the scheme with academics and research students now able to access state-of-the-art scientific equipment to progress their research.

Successful projects under the LIEF scheme, where the University of Sydney was the administering organisation included a grant for 'A 5-D Correlative Imaging Platform: Combining the strengths of light and electron microscopy' which received$720,000.

Dean of Pharmacy, Professor Iqbal Ramzan, Senior Lecturer in Pharmaceutics, Dr Daniela Traini and Lecturer in Pharmaceutical Chemistry, Dr Thomas Grewal were participants in this grant, which will be led by Associate Professor Filip Braet, of the Electron Microscope Unit (EMU). The equipment will enable fundamental studies of cancer, neural diseases and immune disorders; the development of frontier technologies, and applied research to help plants and soils adapt to climate variability, and to increase sustainable use of water.

Professor Hak-Kim Chan and Dr Traini were also participants on a grant for 'Advanced focused ion beam (FIB) / scanning electron microscopes (SEM) for nanometer scale characterisation and fabrication' which received $1.2 million. The lead investigator on this grant is Dr JulieCairney of the EMU. The instruments are designed to provide fundamental insights into physical and biological systems though characterisation and fabrication of structures at nanometre length scales. These versatile platforms will support a wide range of projects covering three national research priority areas.

Professor Basil Roufogalis, Professor of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, was a participant on a grant for an 'Oxidative stress bioanalytical facility' led by Professor Roland Stocker of the University's Centre of Vascular Research which received $330,000. The primary national benefit of this application is that it will provide a currently unavailable, state-of-the-art facility for Australian scientists to define precisely how changes in cellular redox state contribute to biological processes relevant to health and diseases. It will act as a platform for major national and international research collaborations, develop cutting-edge technology and unique local skills, and contribute to Australia maintaining a leading position in redox-related research in biology and medicine.

Further LIEF success with Faculty researchers as chief investigators (where the University of NSW was the administering organisation) included a grant for 'Super-resolution fluorescence microscopy'which received $700,000. Lead investigator on this project is Associate Professor Katharina Gaus of UNSW with Dr Grewal and Associate Professor Alaina Ammit of the Faculty of Pharmacy as participants.

Super-resolution fluorescent microscopy is set to change the way we see the smallest building blocks of life, which will allow researchers to identify the function of proteins and lipids in health and disease. This breakthrough technology is currently not available to researchers in Australia. Super-resolution fluorescence microscopy will extend Australia's leading position in the fundamental biological sciences, bio- and nano-technologies as well as imaging and microscopy.

Contact: Claire Riordan

Phone: 02 9351 2311

Email: 0d012a0a1b13005a061f3a5235467931124a2f761233234a4e16