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Dear <<First Name>>

Australian medical research and development is a hot topic on the national innovation agenda this month, with the Medical Research Future Fund and the Biomedical Translation Fund achieving important milestones in their eventual rollout. These funds are set to transform the Australian medical research landscape.
The first week of August saw the launch of the $250m Biomedical Research Translation Fund in Melbourne. The fund focuses on the commercialisation of research into marketable products. This previously missing link between research and industry provides the opportunity to ensure our efforts have clinical impact, accelerate research, and facilitate important and strategic partnerships.
The Advisory Board of the Medical Research Future Fund also announced a significant development, inviting the research community to participate in a webinar on 31 August 2016 as part of the sector consultations to develop the Strategy and Priorities for the Fund. These much welcomed progress milestones have inspired a renewed optimism in Australia’s research sector – for scientists, stakeholders, partners, investors, and for the many patients and their families who are watching our research progress closely for very personal reasons. 
EMBL Australia is very well positioned to leverage the opportunities these funds and development programs will create, and to play a leading role in the acceleration of the Australian research community on the global stage.
We pride ourselves on the standard that our leadership team is setting, establishing the ambitious metrics for success and scientific excellence. Stories like the one featured in this month’s newsletter about Professor Peter Currie and his group, and A/Professor Ville-Petteri Mäkinen, highlight the exceptional talent present at EMBL Australia, creating a foundation for the younger members of our network to strive towards.
I would like to encourage all of our students to register for the EMBL Australia Postgraduate Symposium. Students are also urged to view the information regarding the 2016 ACABS conference, where they can apply for a travel bursary.   
We would like to encourage all of our researchers to complete the EMBL-ABR survey, which has been extended. They want to hear from life scientists and medical researchers regarding their needs and wants. You can find the survey within the newsletter. At this stage, bioinformaticians are excluded from the survey.
Best regards,
James Whisstock

In this month's newsletter:

Profile, Professor Peter Currie, EMBL Australia, Victoria Node

Professor Peter Currie is a based at Monash University in Victoria, Australia, where he is the Victorian node head for the EMBL Australia Partner Laboratory. He leads research focused on the molecular mechanisms that act to pattern the vertebrate embryo and how different muscle cell types have evolved. His work is centred on understanding how the small freshwater zebrafish is able to build and regenerate both skeletal and cardiac muscle.
Professor Currie started his research career at Syracuse University, New York, USA, where he received his PhD in Drosophila genetics. From there he moved to the UK to undertake a post-doc in zebrafish development at the Imperial Cancer Research Fund (now Cancer Research UK) in London. He has worked as an independent laboratory head at the UK Medical Research Council Human Genetics Unit in Edinburgh, UK and the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute in Sydney, Australia where he headed a research programme focused on skeletal muscle development and regeneration.

You can read Professor Curries’ full bio on the EMBL Australia website.

A/Prof Ville Mäkinen - Investigating the molecular risk factors for Type I diabetes sufferers

A closer look at molecular risk factors for diabetic kidney disease and effect on life span and heart disease.

We are well versed on the links between diet, diabetes, obesity, and heart disease. Yet the conversation around diabetic kidney disease, and the effect on heart disease and lifespan, remains largely unspoken.

One in ten Australia adults exhibit biomedical signs of kidney disease, with chronic diabetics and indigenous Australians highly susceptible. A/Prof Ville-Petteri Mäkinen's research group at the EMBL Australia SA node (SAHRMI) is investigating the molecular risk factors for diabetic kidney disease, and its effects on heart disease and life span in Type I diabetics.

Finland, Mäkinen’s home country, has the highest incidence of Type I diabetes world-wide, which presents major clinical challenges when looking at the substantial risk for kidney disease, and the associated clinical challenges. It is this shocking statistic that triggered his interest in this research area.

Mäkinen entered the world stage of diabetic research almost ten years ago, when in 2008 he published a paper in Diabetes on the biochemical “subtypes” of Type I diabetics, and their risk of premature death - read the full story on A/Prof Mäkinen on the EMBL website..

Open - Early bird registration for the 3rd EMBL Australia PhD student symposium, SAHRMI with speaker update

16-18 November, 2016

The EMBL Australia 2016 Postgraduate Symposium Committee would like to invite all research students to attend the 2016 EMBL Australia Postgraduate Symposium.

The symposium brings together students from a broad range of disciplines around Australia and is a great opportunity to showcase your work in an open and friendly environment. We welcome all levels of research students: Honours, Masters and PhD.

To make the symposium more accessible to interstate students we are subsidising the cost of accommodation at YHA Adelaide; only a short walk from SAHMRI. Availability is limited so be sure to register early to avoid disappointment. We will also be hosting a significantly subsidised conference dinner at the Adelaide Pavilion. If you are one of the first 25 early bird tickets to register, you will get a free conference dinner!

We are proud to present our invited speakers:

Keynote Speaker:
  • Prof John Quackenbush, Professor of Computational Biology and Bioinformatics at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, USA
Sessional Speakers, each heading one of our major themes:
  • Infection and Immunity: Dr Misty Jenkins, Division of Immunology, Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, Australia
  • Cancer: Professor Ross Hannan, Centenary Chair of Cancer Research John Curtin School of Medical Research, Australian National University (ANU), Australia
  • Neurobiology: Associate Professor Julian Heng, Laboratory Head, Brain Growth and Disease, Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research, Australia
  • Science and Society: Professor Michelle Haber, Executive Director Children’s Cancer Institute, Sydney, Australia
  • Genetics & Cell Biology: Associate Professor Geoff Faulkner, Laboratory Head of the Genome Plasticity & Disease group, Mater Research Institute - University of Queensland (MRI-UQ), Brisbane, Australia
  • Bioinformatics: Associate Professor David Lynn, South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI), Adelaide, Australia
  • Translational and Clinical Science: Professor Nadia Rosenthal, Scientific Director of the Mammalian Genetics headquarters of The Jackson Laboratory, USA and Founding Scientific Head of EMBL Australia
Each session will have three student presentation slots open to our EAPS 2016 delegates as well as an associated poster session - plenty of opportunity for students to get involved!

Important Dates
Conference dates: 16-18 November, 2016
Early bird registrations close: 26th August 2016
Abstract submissions close: 2nd September 2016
Auditorium, South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI), Adelaide, South Australia.

For more information, please visit our website and email any questions to

Find the EMBL Australia PhD Symposium on Facebook and Twitter, follow the conversation with #EAPS16.

EMBL - Heidelberg Postdoc Opportunities still open

Dr Jan Ellenberg (Head, Cell Biology and Biophysics unit) has two exciting research opportunities for postdocs in his group at EMBL headquarters in Heidelberg. He is currently seeking outstanding junior scientists to join his group who want to pursue ambitious interdisciplinary research in molecular cell biology and have recently completed or are about to finish their PhD.

Jan’s two projects are briefly described below: 

1. New genome labelling technologies for super-resolved live imaging
In this project, we are aiming at unraveling the dynamic 3D folding principles of the genome in single human cells. We will utilize 4D high- and super-resolution imaging technology combined with new tools of sequence specific fluorescence labelling of genomic loci to look at dynamic changes of chromosome organization during the cell cycle.

The ideal candidate should have experience in at least one of the following areas: advanced fluorescence microscopy/molecular biology/biochemistry.

2. Second generation inverted light-sheet microscopy
To unravel fundamental questions of cell division errors in early mammalian embryonic development we are aiming at designing and building a 2nd generation of our recently published inverted light-sheet microscope. The purpose of the new instrument is to enable long-term tracking of individual chromosomes over several embryonic divisions and to track the fate of aneuploidy cells in the living preimplantation mouse embryo. Key technical innovations will include new illumination and detection schemes to be able to image all blastomeres with single protein complex resolution, while maintaining the low photo toxicity and high throughput of light-sheet microscopy. Additionally, new image analysis tools will need to be developed to analyze the complex data generated by the microscope.

The ideal candidate should have experience in at least one of the following areas: optical engineering/software engineering for microscope control/computational image analysis. 

More details regarding these positions are available on the Ellenberg Group page.

Or for further information visit the EMBL website or contact Dr Jan Ellenberg via email or telephone +49-6221-3878391.

EMBL-ABR: Survey extended – tell us what you want and need

The EMBL Australia Bioinformatics Resource survey has been extended.  It is specifically targeted at life scientist and medical researchers (not bioinformaticians). We want to hear directly from the community about your current level of bioinformatics skills, what resources and tools you use and need, and what are your training and computational needs are.
Please forward this survey link to anyone across your networks of life scientists and medical researchers. We want to know the bioinformatics needs of specific biological domains as well as the differences (or not) among those working on model versus non-model organisms. The survey closes on 29 August, 2016. All participants who select the option to receive survey findings will be updated once the findings have been compiled. A summary survey report will also be published later in the year.
Also, EMBL-ABR has launched their monthly newsletter. If you would like to subscribe, follow the link at the bottom of the EMBL-ABR homepage.

ABACBS-2016 conference with GOBLET meeting - registration and abstracts submissions now open

October 31 - Nov 9, Queensland University of Technology

In 2016, the ABACBS national conference will run in conjunction with the B3 Symposium and be named "AB3ACBS-2016".
This year the ABACBS national conference will bring together bioinformaticians and computational biologists, as a fusion of ABACBS with: Invited speakers include:
  • Ute Roessner, metabolomics specialist from the University of Melbourne
  • Simon Ho, computational evolutionary biologist from the University of Sydney
  • Kate Hertweck, bioinformatician and plant evolutionary biologist from the University of Texas at Tyler
  • Andreas Schreiber, expert in bioinformatics and cancer genomics, Centre for Cancer Biology, Adelaide
  • Ben Zakour, microbial bioinformatics specialist Nouri
  • Matt Richie, statistical bioinformatician and exponent of R, from WEHI, Melbourne
  • Terri Attwood as a special guest, renowned for her leadership of and contribution to major bioinformatics initiatives, including GOBLET, the Global Organisation of Bioinformatics Learning, Education and Training.
For more information, click here.

Follow ABACBS on Twitter.

Information for students:
AB3ACBS has reserved a slot for the best student presentation delivered at the COMBINE Symposium.

Student travel bursaries:  AB3ACBS 2016 and the COMBINE Symposium aim to support student participation by awarding travel bursaries.

Students may apply using the abstract submission form.  The funds are limited, not all applicants will receive bursaries. Please note that bursaries may not cover all costs.  International travel will not be funded.

Bursaries will be allocated considering the quality of abstract, the likely cost of travel and the attendance at both COMBINE and AB3ACBS events.

EMBL-ABR Best Practice workshop series: the data life-cycle

24-28 October, 2016

Best practice data life-cycle workshop series, 24-28 October, Melbourne. Registration is now open. Please register your interest by sending an email to
International trainers Sandra Orchard (EMBL-EBI), Jyoti Khadake (Uni Camb), and Dan Bolser (Ensembl Plants) join Hub experts to deliver this workshop series aimed at life science researchers wishing to learn world's best practice in curating, annotating and publishing life science data.
Full program to be announced soon.
For further information and updates visit the EMBL-ABR website.

EMBL-ABR hosting Galaxy Australasia meeting

Melbourne, 3-9 February 2017

EMBL-ABR will be hosting the Galaxy Australasia Meeting 2017 in Melbourne from 3-9 February 2017 (GAMe2017). Galaxy is an open, web-based platform for data intensive biomedical research. It enables researchers to perform, reproduce, and share complete data analyses. It is also the platform upon which the Australian-made Genomics Virtual Laboratory is built.
This meeting creates opportunities for life scientists to attend a whole day workshop on using Galaxy, includes a conference for all who use or are interested in Galaxy, and ends with a 3-4 day workshop for administrators who service users around the Australasian region. For further information, visit the Galaxy website.
For the latest news on EMBL-ABR you can visit the EMBL- ABR website and read interviews by A/Professor Vicky Schneider on our most experienced bioinformatics practitioners and what they want EMBL-ABR to achieve. You can also find out more on the formation of the Science Advisory Group, bringing together a number of highly-regarded scientists from around the world to discuss and advise on EMBL-ABR strategy, activities and priorities.
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