March 2018

Welcome to our
autumn newsletter.

James Whisstock
EMBL Australia Scientific Head
We have had a fantastic first three months of the year, with our work being recognised with awards and great publications, the continued growth and success of our Partner Laboratory Network, and plenty of opportunities for outstanding researchers and students to join our network and activities. 

Firstly, I'd like to congratulate Scientia Professor Kat Gaus, who has recently returned from Tehran, where her impressive work was recognised with a ceremony attended by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

I'm thrilled to announce that Dr Michelle Boyle will join us as our first group leader based at the QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute in 2019 and that we are currently recruiting two new group leaders in bioengineering, synthetic biology and computational biology at our UNSW Node in Single Molecule Science. I also extend a warm welcome to Dr Harald Janovjak, who is already working hard on a new strategy to treat type 1 diabetes since establishing his lab at Monash University in February.

We also have plenty of exciting student opportunities available: travel grants for PhD students to train at EMBL, our annual PhD course (to be held at the University of New South Wales in July), the opportunity for exceptional students to undertake their PhD degree in one of our laboratories, and more.

Finally, I would like to wish our Chief Operating Officer, Maree Trovato, well as she embarks on a new challenge - parental leave - and welcome Alex Langer, who will take on the role for the next 12 months. 

Katharina Gaus honoured with international science award

EMBL Australia Node Head Scientia Professor Katharina Gaus has received the Khwarizmi International Award for her achievements in single-molecule imaging at an award ceremony in Tehran.

Read more

Expanding rings vital for viable embryo

An international collaboration jointly led by EMBL Australia Group Leader Dr Maté Biro and the first alumnus of our Partner Laboratory Network, Dr Nicolas Plachta, has resulted in a great discovery and Cell publication.

Read more

Working towards a cure for type 1 diabetes

Dr Harald Janovjak has been awarded a JDRF grant for his innovative work using light as a strategy to treat
type 1 diabetes - the first application of visible light treatment to insulin-making beta cells.

Read more


Funding success for research into regenerative medicine and molecular mechanisms

An NHMRC Project Grant will assist Group Leader Mikaël Martino in engineering the second generation of growth factors, while postdoc Dr Qi Zhang wins an ARC DECRA fellowship.

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EAPS 2017: ‘Overcoming Chaos’ in the best way

The 4th annual EMBL Australia Postgraduate Symposium was a huge success, thanks to the efforts of the dedicated student committee, led by Julienne O’Rourke. Preparations for EAPS 2018 are underway!

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ABACBS 2017 showcases the cutting edge in bioinformatics

More than 200 delegates soaked up cutting-edge bioinformatics and computational biology research from a variety of top speakers at the ABACBS national conference, chaired by our Group Leader David Lynn.

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EMBL Director awarded honorary doctorate from ANU

World-leading biomedical researcher and EMBL Director Professor Matthias Hentze MD has been awarded the degree of Doctor of Science honoris causa for his exceptional contributions to science.

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Upcoming events

The inaugural Mechanobiology Down Under symposium will be held at Bronte Surf Lifesaving Club, Sydney on 3 – 4 May. EMBL Australia proudly sponsors the event.

The 5th annual EMBL Australia PhD Course will be held at the University of New South Wales between 1 – 13 July.

The 4th Prato Conference on Pore-Forming Proteins will be held in Italy on 24 - 27 September.

The EMBL Australia Postgraduate Symposium will be held at the Translational Research Institute, Brisbane on 28 – 30 November. More info to come.

Student opportunities

Applications for the EMBL Australia Partnership PhD Program – where students can undertake their PhD degree at one of our life science laboratories across Australia – are open now until 4 April.

Train at one of EMBL's six sites with a PhD student travel grant. Applications are open now until 30 April.

Be one of 60 PhD students to attend the annual EMBL Australia PhD Course in Sydney in July - apply by 30 April.

Applications for EMBL’s International PhD Programme are now open until 2 April.

Job opportunities

EMBL Australia Group Leader positions in Bioengineering, Synthetic Biology and Computational Biology (based at the University of New South Wales, Sydney). Applications close 5 April.
See more about the positions

Recent publications

A route to diastereomerically pure phenylglycine thioester peptides: crucial intermediates for investigating glycopeptide antibiotic biosynthesis.
Cryle MJ
Chem. Commun. (2018) 54:2146-2149.

An enhanced chemo-enzymatic method for loading substrates onto carrier protein domains.
Cryle MJ
Biochem Cell Biol. (2017) 24:1-8.

The thioesterase domain in glycopeptide antibiotic biosynthesis is selective for crosslinked aglycones.
Cryle MJ
ACS Chem Biol. (2018), 13(1):110-120. 

A Split-Luciferase Reporter Recognizing GFP and mCherry Tags to Facilitate Studies of Protein–Protein Interactions.
Gambin Y
Int. J. Mol. Sci. (2017), 18(12): 2681.

Single-molecule fluorescence reveals the oligomerisation and folding steps driving the prion-like behaviour of ASC.
Gambin Y
J Mol Biol. (2018), 430(4):491-508. 
Design, synthesis and evaluation of N- and C-terminal protein bioconjugates as GPCR agonists.
Gambin Y
Bioconjug Chem. (2018) 29(2):403-409.

Unveiling a Selective Mechanism for the Inhibition of α-Synuclein Aggregation by β-Synuclein.
Gambin Y
Int. J. Mol. Sci. (2018), 19(2): 334.
The Structural Basis for Complement Inhibition by Gigastasin, a Protease Inhibitor from the Giant Amazon Leech.
Whisstock JC
J Immunol. (2017), 199(11):3883-3891. 


Dr Michelle Boyle will join our Partner Laboratory Network as a Group Leader based at the QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, Brisbane, in 2019 and establish her lab this year. If you're interested in being part of her research group, get in touch with Dr Boyle.


Tell us something about you most people wouldn’t know?
One of my favourite things about my postdoc time in San Francisco was learning to rock climb, even though I am terrified of heights. 

What are your scientific interests?
My work is focussed on researching malaria – a disease that still has a huge negative impact on peoples’ lives globally. 
I am interested in understanding how people become immune from the disease, and how we can mimic this immunity to make an effective vaccine.

Which unresolved question would you most like to answer?
Why don’t malaria vaccines protect from malaria in children, the population most at risk of disease? How can malaria vaccines be designed to improve effectiveness? 

Name one tool you can’t do without:
Human clinical samples from generous volunteers and collaborators.
What has been a highlight of your research career to date?
Developing a new lab technique to study malaria parasites and how they infect red blood cells. The technique is now used globally in a wide range of malaria research. 

What will be the Boyle Group's goal?
My goal is to do research that will inform the development of malaria vaccines to be used in at-risk populations. 

What will you be looking for as you build your group?
I will be looking for passionate and driven people, both to join my group and as collaborators, who are interested in applying cutting-edge technologies to human malaria immunology research. 

What’s the best advice you’ve received?
There is no ‘good' time to juggle a family and a scientific career, so make those decisions based on the personal, and not the professional, aspects of your life. 
Please forward our quarterly newsletter to colleagues who may like to keep up-to-date with EMBL Australia events, news and opportunities throughout the year.
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