Networking, science communications, public engagement and advocacy for convergence science
The traditional function of universities is to develop and disseminate the body of knowledge. This is done via research and teaching. Research occurs across the spectrum from blue-sky, fundamental pursuits to addressing specific problems. Research findings are disseminated in a variety of ways such as academic publishing, patenting, industry collaborations, students entering the workforce, start-up companies and workshops.
This free event provides a rare opportunity for the research, business, government and investor communities to come together and engage on this pressing national issue.
Our participants bring to the panel a range of perspectives on the research-industry nexus and many of the issues surrounding research engagement and translation. As recognised leaders in their fields they are influential in effecting change in policy and practice:
Ever wondered why some animals have the ability to grow new arms, legs or even repair damaged hearts, but in humans this capability is lost? Can understanding more about how genes function in other species regeneration deliver new insights into human disease? Join us to hear from a panel of leading researchers about how they are using sophisticated science and new disciplines such as bioinformatics to explore the remarkable powers of regeneration. From muscle and heart development and repair in zebrafish to the role of the immune system in limb regeneration in salamander, learn how this research can impact medicine now and in the future.
Peter Currie received his PhD in Drosophila genetics from Syracuse University, New York, USA. He undertook postdoctoral training in zebrafish development at the Imperial Cancer Research Fund (now Cancer Research UK) in London, UK. He has worked as an independent laboratory head at the UK Medical Research Council Human Genetics Unit in Edinburgh, UK and the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute in Sydney, Australia where he headed a research programme focused on skeletal muscle development and regeneration.
His work is centred on understanding how the small freshwater zebrafish is able to build and regenerate both skeletal and cardiac muscle. In 2008 he was appointed Deputy Director of the Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute (ARMI) at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. He is a recipient of a European Molecular Biology Organization Young Investigators Award and a Wellcome Trust International Research Fellowship and currently is a Principal Research Fellow with the National Health and Medical Research Council in Australia.
James Godwin is an independent research fellow in the Rosenthal Group at ARMI and a recipient of the 2008 Newcomb Cleveland Prize for his work on the molecular basis of nerve dependence in salamander regeneration. His last appointment was at University College in London (UCL) as a research fellow in the Laboratory of Jeremy Brockes where he spent 5 years investigating the mechanisms of salamander regeneration. His PhD was obtained at Melbourne University in the Immunology Research Centre based at St Vincent’s Hospital.
This work examined cross species immune mechanisms and focussed on molecules aimed at limiting immune rejection. His current research program looks at the immunological pathways in amphibians (Axolotls) that promote regeneration and limit the scarring response. His research is focused on finding the immunological molecules capable of extending the regenerative capacity in mammals using both molecular and transgenic technologies.
Mirana Ramialison is head of the Systems Developmental Biology Laboratory at ARMI in Melbourne. She is an NHMRC/NHF Career Development Fellow and leads a multi-disciplinary team of bioinformaticians and molecular biologists, to study heart development, evolution and disease. She takes a systems biology approach to uncover the gene regulatory networks that control gene expression during cardiac development, and identify abnormal interactions that cause congenital diseases.
Prior to joining the ARMI in February 2014, Dr Ramialison was an EMBO and HFSP post-doctoral Fellow at the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute in Sydney. She received her Engineering degree from the University of Luminy (France) and PhD at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (Germany).
Presenter: Dr Joel Kramer, Director of Neuropsychology, Memory and Aging Centre, UCSF
The burden and prevalence of cognitive aging is increasing around the world due to population aging. Cognitive aging stands to impact both developed and developing countries. In this presentation, cognitive aging is explored through a convergence or transdisciplinary perspective. The latest convergent innovations in cognitive aging from the UCSF Memory and Aging Center will be explored for diagnosis, treatment and prevention. Innovations in digital health and neuroimaging will be emphasised.
Date: Monday, 29 June
Venue: Auditorium, The Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity, 792 Elizabeth Street, Melbourne (Corner Grattan Street)
The Network's newest initiative, the Opening the Vault series, was launched last evening at the Victorian Life Sciences Computation Initiative (VLSCI). The VLSCI operates the world's first supercomputer dedicated to life sciences research. Opening the Vault was Dr Amanda Barnard of the CSIRO, who took the audience of over 70 people through her research and how the VLSCI facility was used to create simulations to model nanoparticles for drug delivery. You can follow the conversation on Twitter by visiting #CSNopenigthevault. You can also view images of those who attended last evening's event. A big thank you to the team at VLSCI for allowing us to Open the Vault.
Next Opening the Vault Event:
Centre for Neural Engineering,
University of Melbourne - "Brain-in-a-Dish, Biosensors and Nanoscale Imaging/Fabrication",
6pm - 7pm (registration to open in August)
Dr Harris Eyre, MBBS, Fulbright Scholar
Convergence science is set to revolutionise health and medicine in the 21st century given the interplays occurring between physical science, computer science and life science - think 3D printing, medical robotics, Big Data, nanotechnology and the medical uses of smart phones and smart watches. Convergence science is defined as the merging of distinct technologies, industries, tools, disciplines or devices into a unified whole to create new pathways and opportunities for diagnosis, treatment and prevention. Convergence relies on a new integrated approach to solving problems too complex for any single discipline. There is a need to further strengthen the convergent approaches to medical research, clinical practice and public health. Therefore further integrating convergence science into medical education is key. In this presentation, Dr Eyre provides an overview of convergence science, practical applications of this discipline, and examples of how convergence science can be integrated into Australian medical education. The focus will be on interdisciplinary education with other health related fields (e.g. molecular biology, engineering, computer science, mathematics, public health and entrepreneurship).
Harris Eyre, MBBS, has recently returned from his time as a Fulbright Scholar at UCLA. He is a researcher and psychiatrist-in-training with a passion at the intersection of convergence science and mental health. This means Harris is exploring the value of convergence approaches to research and clinical innovation in mental health. In his academic career, Harris has written 30 peer-reviewed publications and has presented at national and international meetings. He has research and policy experience in medical education, workforce, neuroscience and mental health. Harris graduated from James Cook University Medical School in North Queensland. In 2013, he was awarded the Australian Medical Association of Queensland’s Junior Doctor of the Year Award for excellence in his activities.
Harold White Lecture Theatre
University of Melbourne
757 Swanston Street (Corner Grattan Street)
Diagnosing illness and disease can be an expensive and time consuming endeavour. For the patient it is often a painful and invasive procedure.
Chemists and engineers are the new innovators in disease identification, developing technologies to improve diagnosis – reducing cost, speeding up the turn-around time for results and allowing for diagnosis ‘on the go’. The expert panellists from research and industry will provide an overview of their work on ‘smart bandages’, instant blood glucose monitoring, and painless microneedles. They will answer your questions on how the field of portable diagnostic devices has advanced and what we can expect in the future.
Diagnostics Panel Members
Professor Nicolas Voelcker
Deputy Director, Mawson Institute,
CBNS, University of South Australia
After completing his PhD thesis in polymer surface chemistry at the DWI Leibniz Institute for Interactive Materials under Professor Hartwig Höcker, Nico received postdoctoral fellowships to work in the area of bio-organic chemistry under Professor Reza Ghadiri at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California. Following an academic position at Flinders University in Australia, Nico was appointed in 2012 as Professor in Chemistry and Materials Science at the Mawson Institute of the University of South Australia, taking on the role of Deputy Director of the Mawson Institute and Program Leader of the Cooperative Research Centre for Cell Therapy Manufacturing in 2013. Since 2014, he is also Node Leader in the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence in Convergent Bio-Nano Science and Technology.
Nico’s key research interest lies in the fabrication and surface modification of porous materials for applications in biosensors, biochips, biomaterials and drug delivery. A core research activity in his laboratory is the study of porous silicon based nanostructures and their surface chemistry. Using advanced surface analytical spectroscopy and microscopy techniques, his research has also contributed to the understanding of the fundamental principles of interfacial interactions of proteins, nucleic acids and whole cells on solid surfaces. Using this fundamental understanding, he is also developing new nanostructured materials for biosensors, biochips, biomaterials and drug delivery.
He has authored over 220 peer-reviewed journal articles with over 3500 citations, h-index 32. He has received fellowships from the German Research Foundation (DFG), the CSIRO, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and is a recipient of the Tall Poppy Science Award.
Dr Alastair Hodges
Chief Scientist, Universal Biosensors
Dr Alastair Hodges has been working in the field of electrochemical sensors since 1994. He has a BSc (Hons) in chemistry, physics and mathematics and gained a PhD in electrochemistry from The University of Melbourne in 1987.
Alastair worked as a research scientist in the Defence Science and Technology Organisation and the CSIRO in the fields of electrochemistry and membrane transport processes until 1995, when he joined Memtec Limited to work on sensor technologies.
From 1999 to 2001 Alastair led a team that worked in the US on the development of glucose sensor technology. Alastair was a founder of Universal Biosensors Pty Ltd in 2002 as their Chief Scientist. He has been instrumental in inventing and developing the electrochemical sensor technology upon which Universal Biosensors is based.
Alastair has published thirteen papers in refereed journals and is an inventor on more than 50 issued and pending patent families.
Dr Simon Corrie CBNS,
The University of Queensland
Dr Simon Corrie is a recipient of the Australian Research Council’s prestigious Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (2013-2016). He has developed several molecular technologies with applications in diagnostics, publishing the work in Royal Society of Chemistry and American Chemical Society journals and presenting it at international conferences.
After completing his chemical engineering degree and PhD in physical chemistry, Dr Corrie worked in Professor Nancy Kiviat’s HPV Research Laboratory at the University of Washington in Seattle, developing clinically-relevant molecular diagnostic assays. Dr Corrie returned to Queensland on a Smart Futures Fellowship to join Professor Mark Kendall’s research group at the Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (AIBN), developing a novel diagnostic technology based on Micropatches that capture circulating biomarkers from the skin microvasculature.
MC for Panel Discussion
Dr Simon Tucker,
Former VP Research,
Simon P. Tucker, Ph.D was Vice President, Research of Biota Pharmaceuticals, Inc for 18 years. Biota was the originator of the first drug in the neuraminidase class of influenza antivirals and has a particularly strong background in respiratory antivirals. Among the many discoveries made by the Biota R&D team are included the most potent influenza antiviral described to date, a novel antiviral for picornavirus that is currently in Phase II, several novel series of RSV antivirals and two new classes of antibiotics.
Prior to Biota Simon held the position of Senior Lecturer and Head of The Gene Therapy Laboratory at the University of Glasgow, UK and before then Senior Research Investigator, Infectious Disease Research, G. D. Searle Research and Development, St Louis, MO, USA.
Simon received his BSc (Hons) degree in biochemistry from the University of Sussex, UK. He completed his PhD in 1988 through the University of Reading, UK while studying avian influenza in the Director's Group, Institute for Animal Health, Pirbright, UK. His postdoctoral work was undertaken at the University of Alabama, Birmingham, AL, USA where he also served as a Senior Research Fellow before joining Searle.
His background is in virology with a particular interest in the discovery and development of new therapies. He has led multidisciplinary discovery teams and has been associated with numerous potential drugs that reached clinical trials, together with some that achieved registration and marketing. He has also overseen the development and launch of one the first influenza point-of-care diagnostic tests for influenza A and B.
Thursday, 27 August 2015
5.00 PM – 6.00 PM Serving of refreshments
6.00 pm – 7.15pm Presentations and panel discussion.
Level 2, Building 263
The University of Melbourne
234 Queensberry Street
3-D Brain-in-a-Dish, Autism and Biosensors
The Centre for Neural Engineering (CfNE) is an interdisciplinary centre that has been established at the University of Melbourne to undertake research in neuroscience and neural diseases. The Centre is supported by the Faculties of Engineering, Science and Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences. The CfNE is tackling some of the great challenges in the neurosciences and increasing our understanding of neuronal and brain function. Bringing together disparate disciplines for new approaches to old problems, the research activities of the Centre for Neural Engineering are focused on engineering solutions for childhood brain and mind disorders. Work is clustered around the Disorder Flagships – Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Epilepsy – and the Technology Flagships – Neural Modelling and Sensing.
The Opening the Vault @ The CfNE will include:
And there will be a few other surprises as well!
There will be a strict limit of 50 places only and a waitlist will be created if necessary. Tickets will need to be presented at the door. If there is overwhelming demand, the Network will raise with the Centre the possibility of holding another tour at a later date for those who miss out on this occasion. Refreshments will be served.
The Real Silent Witness
Forensic medicine, a voice from the grave
at the Doherty Institute
About the Convergence Forum
The Convergence Science Network will announce a series of events in early 2015. Our program will include presentations from science thought leaders and practitioners, events where we explore topical issues in more depth and we¹ll be presenting some of our brightest scientists who will share their exciting work in convergence science.
Graeme Clark Oration
The Graeme Clark Oration is delivered by global leaders in science in honour of Prof. Graeme Clark’s pioneering work in developing the bionic ear in Melbourne in the 1970’s. It is recognised as Australia’s most prestigious free public science event and is attended by secondary school students.
Convergence Science Symposium
The Convergence Science Network is an initiative that promotes an understanding of convergence science to the community, why it is important and how it is helping researchers and businesses realise their visions in delivering improved health and well-being.
Join our community
The Convergence Science Network is excited about its networking activities and is inviting organisations to join this unique science communication and engagement initiative.
Contact us to find out the exclusive benefits available to Network sponsors. We also offer an Individual Membership package of benefits.
We Engage with the community to share developments in convergence science and how these advances impact medicine and health care.
We Inspire the research community, start-ups, existing businesses, government agencies and schools to take advantage of the opportunities offered by convergence science.
We Create the environment and opportunities for new ideas, knowledge and resources across different science disciplines to come together to improve health.