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New research centre aims to kick start Australian biotech revolution

29 August, 2014

A $26 million dollar research centre designed to develop new vaccines and improve drug delivery and disease detection officially opened last week in Melbourne.

A rapidly emerging field revolutionising therapy in a wide range of diseases, bio-nano science brings together biological research with various fields of nanotechnology.

The technical approach to biology will see scientists at the Centre use nano devices and nanoparticles to improve human health in four key areas: new vaccine development, drug delivery systems, imaging technologies and disease detection.
Professor Tom Davis, who was appointed earlier this year under the Monash Warwick Alliance as Director of the Centre, said bio-nano science is a relatively new field, but one with extraordinary potential.
"Nano scale entities with dimensions thousands of times smaller than the width of a human hair are the essence of all living systems. If we are to better understand, treat and diagnose diseases we need technologies with nanoscale precision," Professor Davis said.
"We have the opportunity to trigger a biotech and medical technology revolution in Australia. By bringing together some of the country's leading researchers and combining this with cutting edge technology, the Centre will help turn this vision into a reality."
Officially opened by ARC Chief Executive Officer, Professor Aidan Byrne, the Centre will see researchers work closely with industry partners to translate research, potentially resulting in new diagnostics, drugs and vaccines for a range of conditions including HIV, cancer and malaria.
The Minister for Education, the Hon. Christopher Pyne MP, approved $285 million in funding over seven years for the ARC Centres of Excellence scheme last year. In total, the funded Centres will collaborate with 106 partner organisations from 44 different countries, receiving more than $392.2 million cash and in-kind support from participating organisations.
Vice-Provost (Research), Professor Pauline Nestor, said the ARC funding builds on the University's strengths in biotechnology, medical and health sciences.
"This vital support from the Australian Research Council focuses efforts to address some of the most devastating diseases and complex scientific challenges," Professor Nestor said.
"This Centre will unite Australia's bio-nano research activity, bringing together universities, research agencies, institutes and companies, helping Monash build on our strengths and translate our expertise to contribute to the growth of industry and research, both in Australia and around the world."

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Freda | Monday, September 1, 2014, 11:22 AM
It sounds wonderful is the centre going to research myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME/CFS)? A horrendous disease with wide ranging impact on social services, families and huge economic losses because it debilitates leaves sufferers in enormous pain and agony yet it only kills very very slowly. The National Centre for Neuroimmune and Emerging diseases is opening at Griffith University but on a shoe string budget. Like you their are collaborating around the world. Are you looking there way?