New equipment a welcome boost for biomedical research at Monash

Two Monash BDI teams successfully secured funding in the 2019 National Health and Medical Research Council Equipment Grants round.
Two Monash BDI teams successfully secured funding in the 2019 National Health and Medical Research Council Equipment Grants round.

Future drug discovery and chemical biology research at the Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute (BDI) has been given a welcome boost as two teams successfully secured funding in the 2019 National Health and Medical Research Council Equipment Grants round.

A team led by Professor Mibel Aguilar have been allocated funds to purchase the CEM Liberty Blue™ Automated Microwave Peptide Synthesizer and the Biotage® Selekt. The Liberty Blue allows for the microwave-assisted synthesis of biomolecules, while the Biotage® Selekt provides flash purification systems for achieving high-purity biomolecules synthesised in the laboratory. The instruments offer researchers an easy, safe and fast system to prepare biomolecules of interest including small molecules, peptides and proteins.

These new instruments will solve a major bottleneck that had developed in the ability of research groups to access reagents within an appropriate timeframe due to their slow rate of synthesis and purification.

The multi-disciplinary nature of biomedical research has seen an increasing number of groups within the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences’ use chemical tools and synthetic peptides to answer key research questions. The new equipment will help expand collaborative research across disciplines, groups and departments, as well as collaboration and innovation fostered with researchers in the Faculties of Engineering and Science.

Another team, led by Dr Alex Combes, has been awarded funds to purchase a spinning disk confocal microscope. The microscope will build new capacity for rapid imaging of 3D tissues and organoids. Its technology enables near-instantaneous illumination of an entire field of view recorded in millisecond timescales on a high-resolution camera.

The new capabilities will allow Monash University to build on its world-leading research in development, disease and regeneration, which involves imaging of cells and tissues in a 3D context.

Research utilising patient-derived tissue organoids is on the rise, offering new opportunities for disease modelling and drug screening for cancer, infection, neurological and cystic diseases. The Monash BDI Organoid program is a national flagship in this area facilitating work in more than 20 laboratories within Monash and beyond.

The microscope will provide an essential boost to confocal capacity at Monash Micro Imaging (MMI), where the equipment will be kept – with open access across the Faculty.

The new equipment secured by both teams will help expand collaborative research across the university and will have broad applications across biomedical research.


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.