Monash University awarded multi-million dollar grant for new ARC Training Centre

Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences (MIPS) is leading a collaboration of academic and industry partners that has been awarded a $4.7 million grant from the Australian Research Council (ARC) towards establishment of a new $13 million ARC Industrial Transformation Training Centre (ITTC).

MIPS will be the headquarters of the new ARC Training Centre for Cryo-Electron Microscopy of Membrane Proteins for Drug Discovery, established in collaboration with the University of Melbourne, University of Wollongong, the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research (WEHI) and industry partners including Catalyst Therapeutics, AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Dimerix Bioscience and Thermo Fisher Scientific.

The ITCC is one of five new ARC Training Centres announced by the Federal Government today (Tuesday 14 July), and will be dedicated to enabling the power of cryo-electron microscopy to reveal membrane protein structures as a basis for structure-enhanced drug design.

The ITTC will provide new links between academic and commercial partners, providing increased opportunity for generation of new IP and expansion of economic investment into the Australian biotechnology sector. It will have a major focus on training industry-ready Higher Degree Research candidates and postdoctoral fellows. MIPS researcher Professor Patrick Sexton will be the ITTC Centre Director and Associate Professor Denise Wootten will be a centre Chief Investigator. Bio21 Institute researcher, Associate Professor Isabelle Rouiller will be the ITTC Deputy Director. More than 20 investigators will be involved across the collaborating organisations.

Professor Sexton says: “There is currently a key skills gap in the specific area of membrane protein cryo-electron microscopy which must be addressed – this ITTC will be dedicated to establishing Australia as an international centre of excellence for membrane-protein drug discovery.”

“The team and I are very excited by this opportunity and to be a part of this wonderful ARC initiative that is designed to drive growth and innovation to improve the lives of everyday Australians.”

Director of MIPS, Professor Chris Porter, said the ARC announcement was great support for the ongoing strategic direction of MIPS as a leader in collaborative drug discovery and development and was highly synergistic with the ITTC in Fragment-Based Design, also based at MIPS.

“We are delighted to be working across the sector to pioneer the next step in Cryo-EM for Drug Discovery as well as supporting the growth and development of students from across the country,” said Professor Porter.

“On behalf of MIPS, I’d like to congratulate Professor Sexton and Associate Professor Wootten and all their collaborators on their success in this venture. We look forward to watching this outstanding training centre thrive.”

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