Biomedicine Alumni eNews November 2019
Message from the Director of the Monash BDI
As we are fast approaching the end of 2019, I want to take the opportunity to wish all our alumni, a safe and joyful festive season. We have an immersive experience for you in this issue: watch, listen and read about how the Monash BDI is making a difference through discovery research and outreach.
You will find out about our breakthroughs in research into potentially deadly hospital-acquired infection and ‘superbugs’, and it is not every day you can find out how our researchers discovered the breast feeding habits of our earliest ancestors!
Since the last edition we also welcomed back to campus alumnus Andrew Gray. Andrew runs a program which diverts scientific equipment from landfill, linking research institutions with schools in need. Andrew and school teachers from around Victoria joined us as we emptied out 40-year-old teaching labs as part of the move to our new Biomedical Learning and Teaching Building. We are delighted to be able to support this important program.
Professor John Carroll
Director, Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute
Dean, Biomedical Sciences, Monash University
Maternal secrets of our earliest ancestors unlocked
Research led by Monash BDI's Dr Luca Fiorenza and Dr Justin W. Adams, and their collaborator at Southern Cross University, used tooth chemistry analysis to ‘read’ more than two-million-year-old teeth of the Australopithecus africanus fossil. Their findings demonstrate why early human ancestors had fewer offspring and extended maternal roles. This fascinating research was published in the highly prestigious journal Nature.
BDI researchers – agents of change
Several Monash BDI researchers have featured in a video series recognising the game-changing research happening here at Monash.
These videos feature our work on new approaches to managing and treating prostate cancer, growing organoids to advance personalised medicine in cancer treatment, and advancing our understanding of how our immune system identifies foreign invaders to develop breakthrough treatments.
Second life for laboratory equipment
Every year around Victoria, tonnes of laboratory equipment is dumped in landfill, yet to disadvantaged secondary schools, this equipment is gold. With the move out of the 40-year-old laboratories into our new Biomedical Learning and Teaching Building, the Monash BDI had equipment to spare. Infrastructure Manager Cheryl Roberts worked with Andrew Gray from the Phoenix School Program to open the doors to the old microbiology building to around 50 secondary school teachers eager to stock their classrooms.
Monash antibiotic drug discovery to be developed in China
A new polymyxin antibiotic targeting Gram-negative ‘superbug’ infections, developed by a team of Monash scientists led by Monash BDI's Professor Jian Li, will undergo development and commercialisation in China by Brii Biosciences. Qpex Biopharma recently announced that it has entered into a collaboration with Brii Biosciences to develop, manufacture and commercialise three novel anti-infective drugs, including a polymyxin drug candidate that Qpex in-licensed from Monash earlier this year.
Making science cool
The Monash BDI is home to the award-winning BioEYES Australia program. BioEYES teaches primary and secondary students across Victoria about science, opening their minds to the world of STEMM using zebrafish. Since it began, BioEYES has reached more than 10,000 students.
Check out the recent MTPConnect podcast episode that featured Laura Reid, our Outreach Education Coordinator, discussing why it is important to get students excited about science.
Disarming dangerous bacteria
Researchers from the Monash BDI have discovered an antibiotic that could treat the serious hospital-acquired infection Clostridioides difficile. The team, co-led by Professor Dena Lyras and Dr Sheena McGowan and with Dr Yogitha Srikhanta as first author, discovered that a particular class of antibiotic, called cephamycins, can prevent C. difficile spore formation. The treatment strategy could also potentially counter diseases caused by other similar spore-producing bacteria, including the lethal anthrax, a key bioterrorism tool. The research was published in Nature Microbiology.
In October we launched a LinkedIn Group solely dedicated to our alumni - the Monash MNHS Alumni (Official) Group!
Through this channel you will have the opportunity to connect with each other, find former classmates and make new valuable professional connections in the healthcare sector.
You can also stay up to date with upcoming engagement opportunities and the latest news and research.
This channel is intended to benefit you and cater to your interests.