Monash-CUHK projects

Studying Sarcopenia in man and zebrafish

The Currie lab will examine process of muscle stem cell decline in zebrafish and the eternal hyperplasia of some stem cell systems.  The Li lab has developed mouse models of sarcopenia that are not available currently in Australia. The student will then work on mouse models of Sarcopenia to compare mechanisms in mammalian models in the Li lab in Hong Kong. Through these studies a comprehensive understanding of muscle stem cell aging in fish and mouse will be achieved.

Monash Supervisor: Prof Peter Currie
CUHK Supervisor: Prof Gang Li
For more information on this project please contact Prof Peter Currie

Effect of age-related epigenetic changes in neural stem/progenitor cells upon remyelination of the brain

Myelin regeneration is critical for preventing axonal loss in patients with multiple sclerosis and in animal models of demyelination. Dr. Merson’s group has demonstrated that both oligodendrocyte progenitor cells (OPCs) and neural stem/progenitor cells (NSPCs) can regenerate myelin in young mice and that the myelin regenerated by NSPCs is superior to that produced by OPCs. Ageing reduces the regenerative capacity of both OPCs and NSPCs. Whilst age-related epigenetic modifications in OPCs have been shown to reduce their regenerative capacity, this has not been explored for NSPCs. This project will compare the epigenetic changes in NSPCs and OPCs during ageing and develop approaches to restore youthful chromatin structures in these populations to enhance remyelination in aged mice.

Monash Supervisor: Dr Tobias Merson
CUHK Supervisor: A/Prof. Cynthia Jiang
For more information on this project please contact Dr Tobias Merson

Engineering of a hydrogel system to recruit pro-regenerative T cells at sites of tissue injury

Immune cells are now recognized as key players in tissue repair and regeneration. In particular, we have found that T lymphocytes are able to promote regeneration of various tissues in the mouse including skin, bone, and muscle. Therefore, one could promote T lymphocyte accumulation at a site of tissue injury to enhance regeneration. In this project, the goal is to engineer hydrogel and drug delivery systems to increase the number of pro-regenerative T lymphocytes at a site of injury. For example, hydrogels will be functionalized with immunomodulatory molecules such as cytokines, growth factors, or miRNAs and tested in mouse models of skin, bone, skeletal muscle (Martino’s group in ARMI), and cardiac injury (Lui’s group in CUHK). This project has the potential to generate novel regenerative medicine therapies.

Monash Supervisor: A/Prof Mikaël Martino
CUHK Supervisor: Prof Kathy Lui
For more information on this project please contact A/Prof Mikael Martino

Mechanisms regulating germline progenitor cell identity and fate

Maintenance of male fertility is dependent on a population of germline stem cells within the testis (known as spermatogonial stem cells or SSCs). Transition of SSCs to a committed progenitor fate is essential for generating cohorts of differentiating germ cells and spermatozoa. While molecular mechanisms responsible for SSC-to-progenitor transition are poorly appreciated, our data indicates that the transcription factor SOX3 is essential for stable adoption of a committed progenitor state. Using novel reporter models, Sox3 deficient mice and genome-wide analysis approaches, this project will define molecular features of SSC and progenitor populations and the role of SOX3 plus cooperating factors in defining progenitor cell identity and function.

Monash Supervisor: Dr Robin Hobbs
CUHK Supervisor: Prof Tin-Lap Lee
For more information on this project please contact Dr Robin Hobbs

Tunable stiffness of biomaterials for bone tissue engineering

The Project is to develop technology for tunable biomaterial stiffness; optimise substrate physical influence on stem cell osteogenesis and new technologies for bone tissue engineering.

Monash Supervisor: Dr Jess Frith
CUHK Supervisor: Prof Rocky Tuan
For more information on this project please contact Dr Jess Frith

Effect of mechanical properties of the cell on the intracellular delivery of nanoparticles

The project focus on roles of adhesion and stiffness of cell membrane on the cellular uptake of nanoparticles.

Monash Supervisor: Dr Tuncay Alan
CUHK Supervisor: Assistant Prof Jonathan Choi
For more information on this project please contact Dr Tuncay Alan

Robotic system for walking assistance

This project is to develop a new robot for walking assistance for rehabilitation and osteoarthritis, with the expertise in exoskeleton robot development at CUHK.

Monash Supervisor: Dr Chao Chen
CUHK Supervisor: Prof Raymond Tong
For more information on this project please contact Dr Chao Chen

DNA-silicon based nanostructures for biomedical applications

This project aims at preparing a new class of bionanomaterials by using DNA oligonucleotides and porous silicon nanoparticles as the basic building blocks. These multifunctional nanostructures will allow for effective cellular uptake, loading of drug payload, and potentially biomolecular sensing.

Monash Supervisor: Prof Nicolas Voelcker
CUHK Supervisor: Assistant Prof Jonathan Choi
For more information on this project please contact Prof Nicolas Voelcker