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Meet our Discovery Program heads

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Director Biomedicine Discovery Institute, Professor John Carroll

John's research is focused on understanding the mechanisms of oocyte and early embryo development. The meiotic cell divisions in oocytes are prone to errors that lead to aneuploid embryos and a resultant increase in infertility, early embryo loss, miscarriage and genetic problems such as Down Syndrome. John's laboratory uses molecular biology and live-cell imaging techniques to investigate the dynamics of the meiotic cell divisions in living oocytes. His lab is also investigating the role of mitochondrial activity and localisation in controlling the fidelity of meiosis and why it goes awry, particularly in the case of maternal ageing.

John obtained his PhD from the University of Adelaide before moving to the MRC Experimental Embryology Unit in London. John moved to University College London (UCL) in 1996 where he held an MRC Fellowship and Lectureship in Cell Physiology. In 2004, John was appointed Professor and Head of Department of Physiology. From 2007 he became the Director of the UCL Division of Biosciences. Impressed with Monash's strength and depth in biomedical research, he joined Monash University in 2012 as the Head of School of Biomedical Sciences. In 2015, John has led the formation of the Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute and very much looks forward to leading one of the region's most energetic biomedical research institutes.

Deputy Director Biomedicine Discovery Institute, and Development & Stem Cells Discovery Program Head, Professor Moira O'Bryan

Moira is an NHMRC Principal Research Fellow whose research focus is on sperm development and function, and understanding the mechanisms of spermatogenesis and the genetic causes of human male infertility. She is particularly interested in the genetics / epigenetics that govern fertility and the structure-function relationship involved in sperm tail / cilia development. Moira has received research-based awards from theAustralian Academy of Science, The Fertility Society of Australia, The Endocrine Society of Australia, the American Society of Andrology and the Society for Reproductive Biology.

Moira was awarded her PhD from the University of Melbourne. Her career began at St Vincent's Hospital in Fitzroy, Melbourne, where she worked on characterising an immune regulator in the male reproductive tract and how it affects infertility. She then received a Mellon Foundation fellowship to work at thePopulation Council Centre for Biomedical Research at the Rockefeller University in New York, investigating the endocrinology associated with fertility in males and its potential value in contraceptive development. Receiving an NHMRC Peter Doherty Fellowship, Moira then returned to Australia to establish a highly successful laboratory at the Monash Institute of Reproduction and Development.

Cancer Discovery Program Head, Professor Roger Daly

Roger's research focus is on mechanisms of growth factor receptor signal transduction and how they are dysregulated in cancer. Perturbations in cellular signalling play a fundamental role in human cancer and provide the rationale for many targeted therapies. Roger's group uses cutting-edge mass spectrometry-based proteomics to provide systems-level insights into cellular signalling networks and to identify novel therapeutic targets and biomarkers for poor prognosis cancers.

Roger was awarded his PhD from the University of Liverpool, UK before taking up positions as a postdoctoral fellow at the Imperial Cancer Research Fund, London, UK, followed by New York University Medical Centre, New York, US. Roger established theSignal Transduction Group at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in 1993, and in 2013 he joined Monash University as the Head of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

Cardiovascular Disease Discovery Program Head, Professor Kate Denton

Kate is an NHMRC Senior Research Fellow whose research focuses on improving the cardiovascular health of people across their lifespan. She’s building a strong interdisciplinary and translational research program focused on understanding integrative control of arterial pressure, with an emphasis on the role of the kidney.  Kate’s current research aims to understand the long-term determinants of arterial pressure, including identifying the causes of hypertension to enable early disease prevention and reduce the devastating consequences of end-organ damage. Her studies encompass issues of sex-differences and age in blood pressure control. Kate’s research interrogates the natural history of disease progression, rather than that of accelerated disease models in young adults, to obtain clinically relevant results.

Following completion of her PhD studies at the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute in Melbourne, Kate spent five years in Singapore. She worked in the Department of Pathology at the National University Hospital to understand how vasoactive factors control kidney function. After returning to Australia, she was awarded a High Blood Pressure Research Council of Australia Fellowship. She received the Harry Goldblatt Award in Cardiovascular Research from the American Heart Association in 2004 for the best original research in that year. Her research demonstrated that hypertension of non-genetic origins can be passed across generations by the mother. She established an independent research laboratory in the Department of Physiology at Monash University in 2007. In 2008, she was awarded an NHMRC Senior Research Fellowship, Level A, and was promoted to Level B in 2013. Currently, she leads a 20-strong research team, with expertise in renal and cardiovascular physiology.

Infection & Immunity Discovery Program Head, Professor Jamie Rossjohn

Jamie is an NHMRC Australia Fellow at Monash University. The focus of his laboratory is to define the key molecular interactions underlying receptor recognition events central to innate and adaptive immunity. His team and colleagues have revealed how the pre-T-cell receptor (TCR) self-associates, and how the TCR specifically recognises polymorphic Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) molecules in the context of protective immunity and immune dysfunction. Jamie has unearthed structural mechanisms of HLA polymorphism impacting on drug and food hypersensitivities,as well as Natural Killer cell receptor recognition. He has pioneered our molecular understanding of lipid-based immunity by T cells. Recently, he has provided a structural basis of how vitamin B metabolites can be presented and recognised by the immune system, thereby revealing an entirely new class of antigen in immunity. In recognition of Jamie's research leadership, he was awarded the 2003 ASBMB Roche Medal, 2004 Science Ministers Prize for Life Scientist of the Year, an ARC Federation Fellowship in 2006, the 2007 Australian Academy of Science Gottschalk medal, 2007 Commonwealth Health Minister's Award for Excellence in Health and Medical Research, elected as a Fellow to the Australian Academy of Science in 2014, elected as a Fellow to the Learned Society of Walesin 2015 and, jointly with Professor James McCluskey, received the GSK Research Excellence Medal in 2015.

Jamie travelled over the border from Wales to undertake his first degree and PhD at Bath University. Subsequently, he was awarded a Royal Society Travel Fellowship to work at St Vincent's Institute of Medical Research, firstly in the laboratory of Professor Michael Parker, and subsequently establishing his own laboratory within the Institute.The award of a Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellowship launched Jamie's independent research career. Following his award, Jamie moved to Monash University in order to design, establish and head the Protein Crystallography Unit.

Metabolic Disease & Obesity Discovery Program Head, Professor Tony Tiganis

Tony is an NHMRC Principal Research Fellow whose international reputation is built around his expertise in the cell communication networks referred to as cellular signalling. His specific focus is on the roles of protein tyrosine phosphatases in tyrosine phosphorylation-dependent signalling pathways. He is the foremost authority on protein tyrosine phosphatases in Australia and an international leader in the field. His overall goal is to define the capacity of phosphatases to function as critical regulatory elements in signalling networks and tissue crosstalk. He leads a multidisciplinary research program with a focus on metabolism, obesity and type 2 diabetes, but his work also crosses into other health issues including autoimmunity and cancer.

Tony was educated at The University of Melbourne. He completed his PhD with Professor Bruce E. Kemp, St Vincent's Institute, Melbourne. In 1995 he was awarded an NHMRC C.J. Martin Fellowship and undertook post-doctoral training with Professor Nicholas K. Tonks at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, NY. He established an independent laboratory in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Monash University in 2000 as an NHMRC RD. Wright Fellow and Monash University Logan Fellow. He was awarded an NHMRC Senior Research Fellowship (Level A) in 2005 and a NHMRC Principal Research Fellowship in 2010 that was subsequently renewed in 2015.

Neuroscience Discovery Program Head, Professor Marcello Rosa

Marcello's research is aimed at understanding how many subdivisions of the brain are responsible for vision, and what roles they play in this process. One area of focus is to identify how neurones function in different parts of the visual cortex, and how electrical activity influences perception. Recently, this line of investigation has expanded to include work on interactions between visual and auditory sensory processing, the use of visual information for controlling movement, and the development of brain-computer interfaces. Marcello also studies the consequences of brain lesions such as stroke, which impact on the ability of the brain to process information.

Marcello was awarded his PhD from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, and was an NHMRC Research Fellow working with Professor Jack Pettigrew FRS and Professor Mike Calford at theUniversity of Queensland. He is currently the leader of the preclinical validation program in the ARC Special Research Initiative in Bionic Vision and Technology, which aims to develop a bionic eye based on direct brain stimulation, and Deputy Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence forIntegrative Brain Function (CIBF). Marcello is also the Deputy Head of the Department of Physiology and is involved in collaborative research with leading international laboratories in Europe, where he is a Fellow of the University of Bologna Institute of Advanced Studies; at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in theUS; and in Japan, where he was recently appointed as a Senior Visiting Scientist in the Riken Brain Sciences Institute.