AIMSS collaborates with ANSTO’s Australian Synchrotron to advance musculoskeletal research

The Australian Institute for Musculoskeletal Science (AIMSS) is a collaborative institute for translational research into ageing and musculoskeletal (MSK) diseases. Investigating disorders of bone and muscle as well as the interactions between muscle and bone and factors that control MSK health, AIMSS is having a major impact on MSK research worldwide.

AIMSS has established an important collaboration with ANSTO’s Australian Synchrotron (AS)* that enables the institute to use a wide range of enhanced imaging and resolution techniques to delve into the structure and function of the MSK system and search for better therapies and approaches to address conditions such as osteoporosis, osteopenia and sarcopenia. These studies are especially important in the context of Australia’s ageing population, which is a key driver of the Institute’s goal to improve health outcomes via evidence-based research in both the basic sciences and in the clinic.

One of the projects that AIMSS is currently researching at the AS uses a highly specialised X-ray tomography approach, unique to the AS, to study the long-term bone and muscle changes seen in osteopenia and sarcopenia, as well as osteoporosis.

Other collaborative projects are using X-ray fluorescence microscopy to study the side-effects of oxaliplatin therapy in cancer and changes in bones and muscles associated with inflammation-induced osteosarcopenia in a preclinical model of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), a condition that affects approximately 75,000 people in Australia.

These projects and others are overseen at AIMSS by Prof Gustavo Duque, A/Prof Kulmira Nurgali and other AIMSS Project Directors, and are being facilitated and coordinated by A/Prof Damian Myers, the Program Director for Basic Sciences and for Medical Imaging at AIMSS.

* The Australian Synchrotron is a national facility administered under the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO). The Synchrotron’s diverse range of beamlines offers Australian researchers powerful imaging modalities that, previously, were available only through synchrotrons in Europe, Japan and the USA.

For more information, contact A/Prof Damian Myers (damianem@unimelb.edu.au).


First experiments on the Australian Synchrotron Imaging and Medical Beamline. Tomographic sequence of mouse tibia. See video

Stevenson, A. W.; Mayo, S. C.; Hausermann, D.; Maksimenko, A.; Garrett, R. F.; Hall, C. J.; Wilkins, S. W.; Lewis, R. A.; Myers, D. E.  First experiments on the Australian Synchrotron Imaging and Medical beamline, including investigations of the effective source size in respect of X-ray imaging J Synchrotron Radiat  (2010)  17 1  75-80


High-definition mapping of trace metal distribution at the neuronal network level. Spatial map of hippocampus region of rodent brain depicting zinc, iron and copper (Panel A: Zn=Green; Fe = Blue; Cu=Red; Panel B: Red to highlight CA3 region of HC; Panel C: Highlight of Cu distribution; Panel D: Thionin staining showing Nissl bodies in neurons). This work was funded by the TAC under the Victorian Neurotrauma Initiative (CIs TJ O’Brien, DE Myers and RJ Hicks) and other contributors to this work included Prof Vivienne Bouilleret, Ms Lisa Cardamone, Mr John Williams, Dr Nigel Jones and several students who worked on that project at the time.

Myers DE, Stevenson AW, Wilkins SW, O’Brien TJ, Hicks RG, Mayo S, Maksimenko A, Moorhead GF, Ryan CG, James S, Broadhead ML, Patterson D., de Jong MD, Howard D, Häusermann D. X-Radiation in Health and Disease: Novel Approaches to the Study of Disease Processes and Therapy. Proceedings, 40th Annual Condensed Matter and Materials Meeting (2-5 Feb 2016). Wagga Wagga, NSW, Australia TA1: 1-11. Australian Journal of Physics. See paper.