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 (

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.

MDPP welcomes innovation applications

The Medical Device Partnering Program (MDPP) is an ideas incubator that supports inventors to turn their medical or assistive device ideas into proven concepts. It provides early stage development support to help de-risk, refine and develop ideas into commercially and technically viable prototypes. They do this by partnering clients with a community of experts including end-users and clinicians, manufacturers, service providers and world-class research partners and specialist facilities.

Founded by Flinders University, the program has now launched in Victoria with the support of Victoria’s Start-Up agency Launch Vic.

MDPP welcomes enquires from inventors and companies at any stage, but specialise in early-stage technical product development support. To apply visit

For more information, visit and

MDPP is also looking for people interested in supporting the innovations by offering their expertise at workshops and on clients’ projects. Anyone interested in participating should contact Matthew Richardson (R&D Manager), or Zoe Kristall (Innovations Manager)

New research facilities at Bio21 Institute honouring Emeritus Professor Nancy Millis

BioMedVic CEO and Chair, Jan Tennent and Warwick Tong, were delighted to represent BioMedVic at the opening of the new research building at the Bio21 Institute of Molecular Science and Biotechnology.

The $46M new building hosts CSL’s Global Hub for Research and Translational Medicine, a model that will stimulate collaboration and innovation.

The building has been named in honour of Emeritus Professor Nancy Millis and incorporates Professor Margaret Sheil mass spectrometry laboratories.

Professor Millis was remembered in the speech given by former Victorian Premier John Brumby at the opening with the words of Jan Tennent, “the undisputed First Lady of biotechnology and an inspiration to women in science.”

BioMedVic believes that the model for stimulating collaboration and innovation between academia and industry as exemplifies at the Bio21 Institute is a blueprint for the Victorian Government’s future strategy and investment in health innovation and biotechnology.

You can read the media release from Bio21 Institute here.

BioMedVic members – key drivers of national innovation and translation

The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) grants have been announced for 2018. Of the $526 million awarded, Victoria has secured $347 million (47%), cementing its position as the leading state for medical research in Australia.

Beyond that, two BioMedVic members were the top-ranking institutions nationally, with Monash University securing grants to the value of $103.6M and the University of Melbourne winning $103.3M worth of grant funding.

Outstanding results run even deeper across Victoria’s remarkable health research community, with NHMRC success for:

  • Deakin University ($14.4 million)
  • RMIT University ($4.6 million)
  • St Vincent’s Institute of Medical Research ($4.1 million)
  • Swinburne University ($3.4 million)
  • Melbourne Health ($624.882)

BioMedVic warmly congratulates all recipients of this latest round of NHMRC grants.

You can find more information here.

Superstars of STEM: improving visibility of women in science

Science and Technology Australia (STA) has launched this year’s Superstars of STEM in celebration of 60 women with outstanding scientific careers. This initiative aims to improve the public visibility of women in STEM, to achieve an equal representation of female STEM spokespeople in the media, and to promote role models for young girls and women to pursue scientific careers.

Women working in several BioMedVic member organisations are among the 2019 Superstars of STEM:

  • Swinburne University: Muneera Bano and Felicity Furey
  • CSIRO: Sam Grover, Laura Kuhar, Madeline Mitchell, Sharon Hook, Sarah Pearce, Cathy Robinson and Sonja Dominik
  • RMIT: Kate Fox and Asha Rao
  • Monash University: Sharna Jamadar and Kirsten Ellis
  • Deakin University: Ellen Moon
  • Melbourne Health: Anita Goh

You can read more and discover all the Superstars of STEM here.

Three BioMedVic members recognised for their efforts on gender equality and diversity

BioMedVic congratulates its members CSIRO, Monash University and Swinburne University of Technology for receiving the Athena SWAN Bronze Award in recognition for their efforts to improve gender equity and diversity.

The inaugural Athena SWAN Bronze Awards were awarded to fifteen institutions around Australia in a ceremony in Canberra on 5th December 2018.

You can read more information on the Athena SWAN Bronze Award here.

New Victorian manufacturing facility at CSIRO Clayton

BioMedVic members interested in the production of biological products such as vaccines, antibodies and stem cells for clinical trials will be delighted to know that a new Advanced Biotechnology Manufacturing Platform will be built at the CSIRO Clayton Central precinct.

The facility will allow the development of state of the art, early-stage biological and pharmaceutical products in Australia, and will ease the process of manufacturing for a wide range of companies, including those smaller ones that can’t afford to manufacture their candidates overseas.

The new manufacturing facility will be owned and run by CSIRO. It has received substantial funding from several institutions, including the Victorian Government, MTPConnect, SIEF and NCRIS/TIA , as well as companies including Telix Pharmaceutical and Sementis P/L. This investment is expected to boost the translational capabilities of the biotech sector in Australia, help to increase the number of Victorian institutions doing clinical trials while supporting local jobs and attract more investments from Australian biotech companies.

For more information see the CSIRO Blog or the Victoria Government page.

New potential treatment for premature babies with lung disease

BioMedVic congratulates its member Monash University who, together with the Hudson Institute of Medical Research and the Monash Children’s Hospital, has pioneered a trial for the treatment of premature babies with chronic lung disease. This trial and the substantial body of research underpinning it is led by Professor Euan Wallace, together with Dr Atul Malhotra and Dr Rebecca Lim.

The trial has already established that it is safe to use placenta cells in babies. In the coming phases of the trial, stem cells will be given to babies to assess if they could prevent or cure the chronic lung disease.

“All too often in medical research we hear about ‘breakthroughs’ when there hasn’t really been one. This is different”, said Professor Wallace.

Professor Euan Wallace, head of Monash’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, was awarded the BioMedVic 2014 VCRN Career Recognition Award for his outstanding record in clinical research and research training and recently delivered the keynote at the BioMedVic HREC Professional Development Day, an annual event dedicated to promulgating good practice in research ethics review through the exchange of ideas among Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC) Chairs and Research Office Directors and Managers.

More information about the trial is available here.

New Engagement Manager at BioMedVic

BioMedVic warmly welcomes Núria Saladié as its new Engagement Manager.

Núria is a science communicator and research and innovation project manager with wide experience in stakeholder engagement across a number of European framework programmes. Her storytelling skills will undoubtedly enhance BioMedVic’s efforts to engage with its Members, amplify their initiatives and celebrate their remarkable achievements.

Please introduce yourself to Núria by email, phone (9035 7965) or in person at the BioMedVic office one day soon!













MDPP arrives in Victoria

BioMedVic members engaged with medical device discovery and development will be excited to learn that the Medical Device Partnering Program (MDPP) has arrived in Victoria. Part of a national expansion, MDPP-Vic has been made possible thanks to the support from LaunchVic, the Victorian government agency for the advancement of the state’s start-up sector. MDPP will receive $2 million over two years to deliver the program in Victoria, which will officially launch in early 2019.

Sally McArthur, Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Swinburne and CSIRO Research+ Science Leader in Biomedical Manufacturing, will be the Regional Director of MDPP in Victoria. The organisation is confident that the program will create opportunities, new ventures and employment for Victoria.

BioMedVic’s CEO Prof Jan Tennent is delighted to be a member of the MDPP Victorian Steering Committee, which includes representatives from five BioMedVic members: Swinburne University of Technology, CSIRO, The University of Melbourne, Monash University and RMIT University.

You can read more information here.