ARC Discovery Projects success

Hudson Institute researchers have been awarded more than $2 million from the Australian Research Council Discovery Projects Grant round.

Professor Richard Ferrero, Associate Professor Patrick Western, Dr Nicole de Weerd and Dr Samuel Forster have been awarded four ARC Discovery Projects Grants totalling $2.4 million.

Discovery Projects Grants support Australia’s leading researchers to start important work that will expand Australia’s knowledge base and research capability, providing important outcomes for all Australians.

Professor Richard Ferrero from the Gastrointestinal Infection and Inflammation Research Group at Hudson Institute

Bacterial vesicles transport their bioactive cargo to the host nucleus

Professor Richard Ferrero

This project aims to investigate how bacterial membrane vesicles transport their cargo to the nucleus of cells and its impact on host cell functions.

Bacteria use membrane vesicles as a means of communication with the host, but the full extent of their effects on host cells has yet to be fully elucidated.

The project expects to generate new knowledge in the field using cutting-edge imaging and molecular biology approaches.

The work should provide significant benefits, particularly towards the development of membrane vesicles in gene therapy, gene editing and other applications.

Epigenetic regulation of genomic stability and inheritance.

Associate Professor Patrick Western

Sperm mediate inheritance by transmitting DNA and associated chemical (epigenetic) modifications to offspring.

Our researchers hypothesise that epigenetic modifications protect DNA from mutations during sperm formation.

Using innovative models, our interdisciplinary team will determine whether loss of specific epigenetic modifications allows mutations in sperm and whether these mutations are transmitted to offspring.

This work will contribute to understanding how new mutations arise in sperm and potentially affect offspring phenotype, adaptation and evolution.

As chemicals, drugs and diet can affect epigenetic function, the studies will also contribute to determining how epigenetic inheritance affects environmental, agricultural and healthcare outcomes.

Dr Nicole de Weerd from the Regulation of Interferon and Innate Signalling Research Group at Hudson Institute

Deciphering novel cross-talk between innate cytokine receptors.

Dr Nicole de Weerd

Understanding the basic functions of interferons and how they signal to cells, is central to understanding fundamental immunity.

Interferons are crucial immune system molecules which are important for normal cell development. They protect the body from viral infection and cancer but can be deleterious in different autoimmune diseases and trauma settings. Preliminary data shows there is an interferon signalling pathway that has previously been overlooked.

This project aims to understand how this pathway works and how it contributes to the normal workings of cells. This fundamental science has future consequences for the design of vaccines and therapeutics to treat diseases that show defective interferon signalling.

This grant is lead through another Institute.

Dr Sam Forster from the Microbiota and Systems Biology Research Group at Hudson Institute

Discovery of novel bacteriophage with the capacity to modulate gut bacteria

Dr Samuel Forster

This project aims to experimentally validate the largest ever collection of bacterial viruses (bacteriophages) within the gut microbiome.

The project expects to generate new knowledge in the area of bacteriophage biology and genomics by using the innovative approaches of wet-lab and bioinformatic genome analyses.

Expected outcomes of the project include the discovery of novel phages using bioinformatics, wet-lab validation of their activity and characterisation of their potential to contribute new bacterial host metabolism.

This should provide benefits including advancing our understanding of bacteriophages, improved bioinformatic software, and a characterised collection of commercially valuable bacterial strains and phages.

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