Planning our future research strategy

Back L-R: Professor Valerie O'Donnell, Professor Warwick Anderson AM, Professor Dame Anna Dominiczak, Professor Rachel Wong, Professor Dena Lyras.  Seated L-R: Professor Jeff Errington, Professor John Carroll, Professor Amander Clark, Professor Bruce Stillman.
Back L-R: Professor Valerie O'Donnell, Professor Warwick Anderson AM, Professor Dame Anna Dominiczak, Professor Rachel Wong, Professor Dena Lyras. Seated L-R: Professor Jeff Errington, Professor John Carroll, Professor Amander Clark, Professor Bruce Stillman.

The Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute (BDI) International Scientific Advisory Board (ISAB) convened its first meeting last week from Wednesday 1 May to Friday 3 May. The ISAB was established to provide strategic counsel to the Monash BDI Executive Committee to further develop a high-level picture of our future research strategy and the plans needed to position us as a world-leading research institute.

Our ISAB is comprised of nine international luminaries in the field of medical research:

  • Professor Warwick Anderson AM, Human Frontier Science Program
  • Professor Amander Clark, University of California Los Angeles
  • Professor Dame Anna F Dominiczak DBE MD FRCP FAHA FRSE FMedSci, University of Glasgow
  • Professor Jeffery Errington FRS FMedSci, Newcastle University
  • Professor Iain Mattaj FRS FRSE FMedSci, Human Technopole, Italy
  • Professor Valerie O’Donnell, Cardiff University
  • Professor Bruce Stillman AO FAA FRS, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
  • Professor Rachel Wong, University of Washington
  • Professor Juleen Zierath, Karolinska Institutet

The ISAB members were highly engaged throughout the intensive three-day meeting. The visit involved presentations and discussion sessions on our discovery programs, new initiatives, platforms, people and culture, the journey from discovery to translation and more. During the sessions, the ISAB were able to get a clear picture of the current landscape at the Monash BDI and offer recommendations for improvement and future planning.

They were also given tours of the Biomedical Learning and Teaching Building, Monash Micro Imaging and Monash Biomedical Imaging. The members of the ISAB also had the opportunity to meet our Group Leaders at an informal networking event on the Thursday evening.

Monash BDI’s Director and Deputy Director, Professor John Carroll and Professor Dena Lyras, hosted the visit and acted as moderators during the productive discussions. Dr Megan Astle, Director External Relations within the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, acted as a liaison for the ISAB.

“The discussion at each of the sessions was thoughtful and rigorous. We were pleased to see such engagement from both the ISAB members and the presenters from the Monash BDI,” Professor Carroll said.

“We are grateful for the participation of everyone involved, particularly the ISAB members – all of whom travelled from overseas to joins us – and Megan Astle, who gave her time to attend each session and will be preparing the final report,” he said.

A number of our early career researchers (ECRs) also had the opportunity to meet the members of the ISAB at a breakfast hosted at the Green Chemical Futures Building on the Friday morning. The ECRs were able to gain insight and advice from these leading figures and provide the ISAB with perspectives of researchers at the beginning of their careers.

Photos from the Group Leader networking event and the ECR breakfast.Dr Sarah Atkinson, an ECR from the Borg lab, said she felt the breakfast was very beneficial.

“It's always great to talk to senior researchers about their careers and thoughts on the future of research. Having an international perspective on what we're doing at the Monash BDI was especially valuable,” Dr Atkinson said.

Françios Olivier, a PhD student from the Traven lab, also appreciated the opportunity to meet a member of the ISAB.

“As a PhD candidate working on fungal pathogenesis, it was great to meet Professor Bruce Stillman – a pioneer in yeast genetics research. I gained valuable insights into the rewards and challenges of a career in science,” Mr Olivier said.

“The coffee was good also," he said.

Once we receive the official recommendations and report from the ISAB, we will implement those recommendations of most benefit to the future success of the institute.

More information on the next steps following the ISAB visit will be posted here as it becomes available (Monash login required).


About the Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute

Committed to making the discoveries that will relieve the future burden of disease, the newly established Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute at Monash University brings together more than 120 internationally-renowned research teams. Our researchers are supported by world-class technology and infrastructure, and partner with industry, clinicians and researchers internationally to enhance lives through discovery.