In the right environment, the simplest ideas can grow to have great impact on the way we live.
Monash has long been an incubator for groundbreaking research. Things that we take for granted now, such as seat belts in cars and IVF treatment, would not exist without the initial work of Monash researchers.
Today, our scientists continue to lead and collaborate with teams around the world, across all levels of industry and government.
Research that's made a difference
World's first IVF pregnancy
In-vitro fertilisation (IVF) is a common method for the treatment of infertility, bringing hope to thousands of men, women and families.
Monash Institute of Reproduction and Development (MIRD) researchers Professors Alan Trounson and Carl Wood achieved the world's first IVF pregnancy in 1973.
Five years later, based on their work, the world's first IVF baby was born in the UK in July 1978.
The Trounson and Wood team went on to achieve Australia's first (and the world's fourth) successful IVF birth in 1980. In fact, 12 out of the first 15 IVF babies are Monash babies.
Their research continues to make an impact in reproductive science as the treatment becomes more accessible worldwide.
In 1986, a team from Monash University's Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences (formally Victorian College of Pharmacy) designed and synthesised anti-flu drug, Relenza.
Relenza first became available in Australia in 1999 and is now used globally. Influenza can result in fatal complications and affects up to 500 million people each year.
Stem cell research
Our researchers made their first big stem cell discovery in 2000. A team led by Professors Alan Trounson and Martin Pera were the first in the world to demonstrate that nerve stem cells could be derived from human embryonic stem cells in the laboratory.
They later showed that outside of the laboratory, human embryonic stem cells could develop into nerve cells, raising the revolutionary prospect of treating a range of diseases from Parkinson's through to Alzheimer's and diabetes.
In 2009, a team under Professors Andrew Elefanty and Ed Stanley modified human embryonic stem cells to glow red when they became red blood cells. This now helps scientists to track the change as the cells make the transition.
Most recently, Associate Professor Sharon Ricardo and her group of researchers were able to reprogram human kidney cells and turn them back to an embryonic stem cell state. This discovery could help address the ethical issues surrounding current practices for harvesting embryonic stem cells for research.
- Winding back the clock with kidney stem cells (Monash News, 16 May 2011)
- 'Glow in the dark' red blood cells made from human stem cells (Monash News, 24 August 2009)