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Seven group leaders wanted, join the bioinformatics society, and more in October  
Dear <<First Name>>

This morning Senator Scott Ryan opened the new ARC Centre of Excellence in Advanced Molecular Imaging in Melbourne. The Centre brings together five universities and a host of partners in Australia and Europe, and there are strong and growing connections with EMBL and EMBL Australia.

The Centre has already begun visualising the complex molecular interactions that make up our immune system—and looking at why it sometimes overreacts. They’ll also be developing new tools to investigate the immune system through some clever integrations between physics, chemistry and biology, and the use of microscopes, synchrotrons, X-ray free lasers, neutron beams and more.

The Centre is supporting four EMBL Australia Group Leader positions—two with James Whisstock at Monash University, and two with Kat Gaus at UNSW. These positions are open for applications now along with two positions in developmental and regenerative medicine at Monash and one at SAHMRI in Adelaide.

Congratulations to Centre Director, Professor James Whisstock, and his team on the launch—we’re looking forward to working with you and with your collaborators.

It’s wonderful to see more of our research partners taking on the EMBL model, which offers Group Leaders up to nine years of secure funding. This kind of research security offers a unique advantage for our young researchers to tackle big questions, particularly now in a time of shifting priorities and uncertainty in government funding for life sciences research.

EMBL Alumni go on to do great things. Last week we got the exciting news that EMBL Alumnus Stefan W. Hell from Heidelberg, Germany, has jointly won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for 2014. His contribution to further developing the optical microscope has allowed life scientists to peer into the living nano-world, and visualise molecules. It’s a technology that continues to be instrumental in much of our work right here at EMBL Australia and at the Imaging Centre.

Best wishes,
Professor Nadia Rosenthal
Scientific Head, EMBL Australia
Please note that all replies to this newsletter go to If you wish to email me directly, my address is

In this month's newsletter:

Jobs with EMBL Australia

A total of seven new EMBL Australia Group Leader positions are now available across: the University of New South Wales, Sydney; Monash University, Melbourne; and the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI), Adelaide.

Modelled on the EMBL objective to support independent, interdisciplinary, quality research, these positions are designed for high-potential, early-career scientists who are dedicated to research excellence. The positions will enable them to form and lead their own independent research groups.
  • The UNSW Centre for Single Molecule Science is recruiting two EMBL Australia Group Leaders with experience in trans-disciplinary research such as cancer, immunology, neuroscience, and cardiovascular biology. They’ll define and drive a new research field that seeks to understand complex systems starting from the single molecule level, and derive practical medical applications.
    Applications close 19 October 2014. More details
  • Monash University is looking for two EMBL Australia Group Leaders to establish laboratories within the new Biomedical Discovery Institute, part of the Faculty of Biomedical and Psychological Sciences, in Electron Microscopy and in Protein Crystallography. They’ll also be working closely with the new ARC Centre of Excellence in Advanced Molecular Imaging.
    Applications close 2 November 2014. More details
  • Monash University is also recruiting two EMBL Australia Group Leaders with an interest in regenerative medicine, developmental biology or systems biology to join its two existing EMBL Australia Group Leaders at ARMI.
    Applications close 2 November 2014. More details
  • SAHMRI is seeking a third EMBL Australia Group Leader to investigate cell biological mechanisms of autophagy regulation and biogenesis of the endosome lysosome network, to find out how these processes contributes to the onset and progression of conditions such as dementia, stroke and cancer.
    Applications close 24 November 2014. More details
Each position will provide the successful applicant with an initial five years of funding for a research team and a generous annual research budget, extendable to a maximum of nine years, subject to external review.

See the EMBL Australia jobs webpage for all job listings

Showing Canberra what Australia’s research infrastructure can do

Australia’s research infrastructure is helping to improve economic productivity, health and well-being, and drive industrial technologies, but the public and the politicians don’t often get to see how this is all being achieved.

Earlier this month, Canberra’s politicians and the public got the chance to see exactly what Australia’s major science infrastructure projects have been up to, at the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS) Showcase at Parliament House.

EMBL Australia was one of 27 exhibitors there to celebrate the achievements of NCRIS-supported research infrastructure over the past 10 years. NCRIS has invested more than $2.5 billion into research infrastructure, with a further $1 billion in co-investment coming from partners.

EMBL Australia’s Scientific Director Nadia Rosenthal was at the showcase. “We’re proud of what we have built so far with the funding we have received through NCRIS from the Australian Government,” says Nadia. “And I’m thrilled that we’re able to offer more EMBL Australia research leader positions with the support of NCRIS.”

“The showcase also really made me think about where we fit in Australia’s broader research scene. With all the different types of research and data being produced from various infrastructure projects, it’s exciting think about how they might be used collaboratively to solve problems.”

In other news

What can you learn from 100,000 well people?

Dr Lee Hood speaking in Melbourne at ICSB 2014.

Dr Leroy (Lee) Hood of the Institute for Systems Biology plans to monitor 100,000 well people over 20-30 years to find out why some stay healthy while others to progress to disease. Is it in their genes, nutrition, sleep patterns, or microbiome? Is it a combination? How do they all work together? And how can we use this information to redefine how we view health and disease?
Lee’s keynote lecture on systems medicine was one of the highlights of the 15th International Conference on Systems Biology (ICSB 2014), which explored how a systems biology approach is helping to redefine how we undertake research to understand health, the environment, and other biological systems.

Other keynote speakers included Hiroaki Kitano, from Japan’s Systems Biology Institute and Hans Westeroff from the University of Amsterdam.

“It was great to see international systems biologists of all ages networking, sharing ideas and enjoying Melbourne,” says Nadia Rosenthal, who chaired the conference’s program committee. “Personally, I learned a huge amount of science at the conference. I particularly enjoyed the keynote lecture by Lee Hood. His vision for human health is truly inspiring.”
“I heard from several participants that they enjoyed the varied program, which explored the possibilities that systems biology holds for range of research disciplines. That was particularly rewarding, given my very recent engagement with systems biology - I'm glad we got the balance right!” Nadia said.

“Some of the scientific highlights for me were about or from Australia: Elizabeth Murchison’s fascinating story about transmissible cancer in Tasmanian devils; Barbara Fazekas’ single cell analysis showing how immunological disease is enormously dependent on environment, and surprises from Ian Small about the nature of sex and suicide in plants. All in all, a real playground for biologists.”

The next conference, ICSB 2015, will be held in Shanghai next year. EMBL Australia wishes Jianfeng Feng and his committee the best of luck putting together the next conference in this fast-moving field.

Bioinformatics society launched this month

A new professional society for bioinformaticians and computational biologists was launched last week in Melbourne at the Australian Bioinformatics Conference ABiC 2014.

The newly-fledged Australian Bioinformatics and Computational Biology Society (ABACBS) aims to:
  • strengthen the science and profession
  • encourage and support students
  • provide representation and advocacy
  • promote interaction and awareness of bioinformatics and computational biology.
Membership with ABACBS is currently free. Register online now

Aussie PhD students head to EMBL for symposium

The poster image for this year’s EMBL PhD
symposium,created by Mariia Burdyniuk,
a PhD student in the Lénárt group at EMBL
Twenty life-science PhD students from around Australia will be heading to Heidelberg, Germany next month for the annual EMBL PhD Symposium.

The students are from: ANU; the Victor Chang; the Garvan; UNSW; University of Sydney; Children's Cancer Institute; CSIRO; University of Queensland; Bond University; University of Adelaide; La Trobe University; Bio21 Institute; the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute; and Monash University.

This year’s conference, “Inspired by Biology—Exploring Nature’s Toolbox”, will delve into the creative and multidisciplinary uses of existing biological mechanisms to solve problems in basic and applied sciences. The conference will cover a range of fields from DNA nanorobots and xenonucleic acids through to tissue engineering and biomaterials.

It’s the third year that EMBL Australia has provided support for PhD students to attend the conference, which is organised by EMBL’s first year PhD cohort. As in previous years, some members of the Australian contingent will present their own research at the conference. We’ll check in with them when they return.

Keep up to date with the latest news on the Symposium via the Facebook page

Events coming up

If you have events to add to the EMBL Australia events calendar, drop us a note at with the details and a link for more information.

The 16th EMBL PhD Symposium - Inspired by Biology: Exploring Nature’s Toolbox.
23 October 2014, EMBL Heidelberg, Germany
The conference by PhD students, for PhD students. From nanoscience to synthetic biology, engineering to biotechnology.

Translational Research Excellence Conference
24 October 2014, Brisbane, Australia
Translational research conference hosted by Life Sciences Queensland for members and the life science community.

AusBiotech 2014- National Conference
28 October 2014, Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre
AusBiotech national conference puts spotlights on the robust Queensland biotech industry.

BioInfoSummer 2014
1 December 2014, Monash University
BioInfoSummer is coming to Monash University. This annual event brings together over 150 biologists, statisticians and bioinformatics professionals to uncover the potential of bioinformatics.

Australia Biotech Invest 2014
3 December 2014, Crown Conference Centre, Melbourne, Victoria
With over 300 senior level life science professionals in attendance, the inaugural Australia Biotech Invest conference was a major success. Building on this successful first edition, Australia Biotech Invest will return to Melbourne on 3-4 December 2014.

EMBL Australia PhD Symposium: Research in life sciences: in vitro to in vivo
3 December 2014, University of NSW, Sydney

For a full list of upcoming events, head to the EMBL Australia events page.

About EMBL Australia

EMBL - the European Molecular Biology Laboratory - is Europe's flagship for the life sciences. The Australian government joined EMBL as an Associate Member in 2008.

EMBL Australia is an unincorporated joint venture between members of the Group of Eight universities and the CSIRO, supported by the Australian government.

Read more about EMBL Australia
Copyright © 2014 EMBL Australia, All rights reserved.

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