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We’re hiring! Centre Manager role open for applications.

After two and a half years with CPTT, our Centre Manager Dr Susan Northfield is leaving for a new role at the end of March 2022. We are currently advertising to fill this position. Details are all available via this link, including the position description and links for the application process.

The Centre is fully established, with another two years of operation remaining. We are therefore seeking someone who can step into this part time role for the remainder of the Centre’s operation.

If you have any questions about the role you can contact Susan and/or the CPTT Director, Professor Alastair Stewart via therapeutics-technologies@unimelb.edu.au

Applications will close on March 23rd, 2022.

Happy 2022 International Women’s Day from ARC CPTT!

Today is International Women’s Day #IWD2022, and this year the theme is #BreakTheBias.

Imagine a gender equal world. A world free of bias, stereotypes and discrimination. A world that’s diverse, equitable, and inclusive. A world where difference is valued and celebrated. Together we can forge women’s equality. Collectively we can all #BreakTheBias.

Today we celebrate the women of our Centre – students, postdocs, chief investigators, executive members, and industry board members. The photo accompanying this post shows some past and present members of our Centre at our University of Melbourne, Monash University, and University of Western Australia #ARCCPTT nodes. We thank them and all members of the Centre for contributing to providing a diverse, inclusive and supportive environment as we commit to #BreakTheBias and call out inequality. #IWD2022

Exciting career progression for CPTT postdoc!

Congratulations to CPTT postdoc Dr Liz Johnstone, who is based at our University of Western Australia node, on her appointment as a level B Teaching and Research Academic in the School of Biomedical Sciences. This is a full time role and an exciting next step in Dr Johnstone’s career. Her research and association with the Centre will continue and from January she has move into an affiliate role with the Centre.

Dr Johnstone has had a busy 2021 with four journal publications (three first author) and a conference presentation at the Australasian Society of Clinical and Experimental Pharmacologists and Toxicologists (ASCEPT) conference in November, where she receive the ASCEPT 2021 Early Achievement Award for Women. Congratulations Liz!

CPTT Postdoc awarded REDI Fellowship!

We are delighted to announce that our very own Dr Xumei (Bryan) Gao has been awarded one of ten highly competitive fellowships from the MTPConnect REDI (Researcher Exchange and Development within Industry) Fellowship program. MTPConnect recently made public the ten high-skilled Australian researchers, clinicians and professionals from the medical technology, biotechnology and pharmaceutical sector who were selected as the next fellows under the REDI Fellowship Program. The successful fellows were selected from applications submitted across Australia.

The REDI Fellowship Program provides financial support to Australian, international and/or multinational medical technology and pharmaceutical companies to bring the best Australian talent in-house to work on priority research projects. It is helping Australian researchers, clinicians and MTP professionals gain real world experience and skills by being deployed into industry settings.

MTPConnect Managing Director and CEO, Dr Dan Grant, says this is the largest group of industry-led fellowships to be announced since the REDI program began, taking the total to 14 fellows. “Our congratulations to these ten talented fellows – and to the companies who are sponsoring them,” Dr Grant said. “It’s great to see so many major international companies in the sector getting behind this initiative and involving Australia’s talent base to spearhead global collaboration.”

Dr Gao is a Postdoctoral Researcher in the ARC CPTT, based at The University of Melbourne. He will undertake a 12-month project with one of our industry partners, Trajan Scientific & Medical. Dr Gao will be enhancing skills in product development and validation with Trajan, a Melbourne-based global leader in analytical technology commercialisation. He will focus on evaluating the application and utility of pump technology in commercial settings to emulate tissue physiology in cell culture to improve prediction of drug efficacy.

Congratulations to Bryan and our partners at Trajan on this successful outcome! We look forward to seeing this work continue to progress in the coming year.

Full announcement from MTPConnect can be found here.

CPTT-Biozone End-of-Year Forum (Perth)

Photo credit: Prof Kevin Pfleger

On November 22nd our Perth node held a joint end-of-year forum with Biozone. This event was an opportunity for students and postdocs to present updates on their research projects from the last twelve months.

The pandemic prevented our Melbourne and Perth cohorts from running our end-of-year Forum together this year. However, unlike last year where our forum was entirely virtual, this year we have had the opportunity to gather in person, albeit in separate states. Plans are underway for our 2022 forum in twelve months time, which all being well will be our first time together in nearly three years! It’s certainly been a challenge but our Perth cohort has shown the way with their event.

The Melbourne end-of-year forum is scheduled for December 9th. If you have any questions, please contact the Centre Manager.

Welcome to our new IAB members!

The ARC CPTT are delighted to welcome some new faces to our Industry Advisory Board (IAB). We are welcoming Andrew O’Brien from Clarivate Analytics and Bastian Stoehr from SMR! We were able to formally introduce them to the other members of our IAB at our most recent meeting.

Welcome Andrew and Bastian! We look forward to working with you both.

We would also like to thank outgoing members of the IAB, Gouri Betigeri (Clarivate Analytics) and Scott Edwards (SMR) for their contributions, and we wish them both well on their next endeavours.

PhD submissions – Congratulations Arianna & Helen!

The submission of a PhD thesis is an important milestone to celebrate. We are delighted to say that two of our Centre’s PhD students have just reached this stage of their candidature. Congratulations to Arianna Oddo and Qianyu (Helen) Chen! We invite you to learn a little more about them and their research below.

Arianna Oddo has undertaken her PhD at Monash University, under the supervision of Professor Nicolas Voelcker and Dr Tommy Tong. Her thesis title is “Microfluidic devices as novel in vitro platforms in the context of pre-clinical and toxicological studies”. Arianna has been active on Twitter during her PhD, demonstrating her skills in science communication. She has also been busy publishing her research in scientific journals, including Nanoscale Advances and Trends in Biotechnology. Click the links to read more!

Helen Chen undertook her PhD at The University of Melbourne, under the supervision of CPTT Director, Professor Alastair Stewart. Her thesis was titled “Organotypic airway epithelial cultures in modelling inflammation and infection”. Helen has also been an avid writer during her PhD, contributing to six publications so far (most recently in Biomicrofluidics), and another to be announced soon.

Congratulations again to Arianna and Helen on this milestone achievement in your academic careers!

R U OK? Day: Resources for 2021

Thursday September 9th is R U OK? Day. For many people this day acts as a prompt for us to ask friends, family and colleagues, “Are you OK?”.

The ARC CPTT is aware that not everyone will feel comfortable asking or indeed answering that question. We know that mental health is an ongoing discussion, beyond what a single day can encapsulate. The last two years have been extremely challenging for all of us, and so we are using this day as an opportunity to provide you with resources that will help you to ask and answer this question in the days, weeks and months ahead. Your conversation could save a life, and it is important to be equipped.

  • The first resource available is the R U OK? Day Workplace champions pack, which you can access here. Please take a moment to review the contents and consider saving a copy to your files.
  • The second resource is the R U OK? Day webinar, which will be run on R U OK? Day. Full details for the webinar are included below, and it is FREE to register.

Join the free R U OK? Day webinar 12.30pm Thurs 9 Sept (AEST)

Learn when and how to ask R U OK? so you can have a conversation that could change a life. Speakers include:

  • Sam Mac, weatherman Sunrise and R U OK? Ambassador
  • Katherine Newton, CEO R U OK?
  • Ann-Maree Fardell Hartley, psychologist and suicidoligist

Register here: https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/2021-r-u-okday-webinar-tickets-166884491005

Read more about R U Ok? Day: https://www.ruok.org.au/join-r-u-ok-day

Watch the R U Ok? Day video: https://vimeo.com/574775905

We are a community, and we’re here to support you. Please reach out to us if you need support or assistance. 

Take care and stay safe. 

CPTT connection to mRNA vaccine manufacture

Photo credit: Monash University

Since global development of vaccines for COVID-19 became a reality, we in Australia have identified the critical value of producing vaccines onshore. That goal first became a reality with the AstraZeneca vaccine being produced in Melbourne by CSL. However, as we are now all aware, production of mRNA vaccines (Pfizer or Moderna) could not be achieved so easily.

Recently the Victorian Government provided Monash University with $5million to manufacture the first batch of a COVID-19 mRNA vaccine in Australia, to be used for clinical trials (utilising a vaccine candidate developed by researchers from the Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences). The team conducting this research is lead by CPTT chief investigator, Professor Colin Pouton.

Colin has been interviewed and quoted in many news articles and reports, especially in the last few months. However, we would like to draw your attention to a specific Opinion article Prof Pouton published in June in The Age newspaper titled ‘Australia set to join the mRNA vaccine revolution‘. Congratulations to Colin for bringing attention to the need for Australia to develop the manufacturing capabilities for production of medical and therapeutic technologies!

‘Materials, Mimics, & Microfluidics’ – CPTT conference success!

On July 21 – 23 our Centre participated in the ‘Materials, Mimics, & Microfluidics: Engineering Tools for Mechanobiology’ conference. In addition to members of our Centre being invited to present at the main meeting, we hosted two successful satellite meetings in Melbourne and Perth. The satellite events featured local researchers and the Melbourne event also included a PhD student ‘rapid fire’ session, sponsored by BOMP and MCN. Well done to Esther Lestrell and Tina Cheng who were the joint winners of the rapid fire session!

Congratulations to Dr Bryan Gao and Dr Roey Elnathan for their organisation of the Melbourne event, and to Dr Yu Suk Choi and Dr Brendan Kennedy for their organisation of the Perth event! All four were also invited speakers of the main conference and part of the meeting’s scientific committee. We thank them for their contributions to the conference and for their representation of ARC CPTT!

For those who were unable to attend and are interested to see more photos from the event, check out the hashtag #3M2021, which was used throughout the conference by participants from around the globe! Some of our own photos are included below.