Two Australian scientists have each been awarded CSL Centenary Fellowships, valued at $1.25 million over five years, to investigate new ways to fight two of the world’s biggest health challenges: cancer and infectious diseases. The Fellowships will be presented at the Australian Academy for Health and Medical Research Online Scientific Meeting 2020 on Thursday 15 October.
Dr Alisa Glukhova is investigating a fundamental cell communication system that guides the growth of embryos but, when it goes wrong, can contribute to cancer and other diseases. By determining the structure and shape of a signal receptor in this system, known as the Frizzled protein, she hopes to create a path to new kinds of cancer drugs.
We know very little about how Frizzled proteins and cell signalling systems work – a gap in our knowledge Alisa hopes to close thanks to her $1.25 million CSL Centenary Fellowship.
Dr Glukhova is a structural biologist at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research in Melbourne.
Professor Si Ming Man is investigating disease-fighting proteins produced by the immune system and how they might be harnessed to fight infectious diseases.
The answers could lead to alternatives to over-used and increasingly ineffective antibiotics, providing new ways to combat multidrug-resistant microbes.
Si Ming will use his $1.25 million CSL Centenary Fellowship to study a particular family of the immune system’s own ‘killer’ proteins known as guanylate-binding proteins.
Professor Man is an infectious diseases researcher at the John Curtin School of Medical Research, Australian National University, in Canberra.
CSL Chief Scientific Officer Dr Andrew Nash said that Dr Glukhova and Professor Man both work in fields of global significance.
“Alisa’s and Si Ming’s work epitomises the ethos of the CSL Centenary Fellowships. They are each seeking a deeper understanding of key proteins—vital molecules for all living systems—that could transform how we fight infectious diseases and cancer,” he said.
“It is this long-term vision that the CSL Fellowships aim to support by providing funding stability for leading mid-career Australian researchers.”