ARC Discovery Grant success

24 Nov 2020

Five Faculty of Medicine research projects have been awarded $2.5M in federal government funding through the Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Project grants.

Congratulations to the eight researchers from the Mater Research Institute (MRI-UQ), School of Biomedical Sciences (SBMS) and University of Queensland Diamantina Institute (UQDI) who were successful in securing funds for their projects on topics ranging from novel microbes, how cells organise themselves, mammalian growth control, DNA replication to mammalian genetic diversity.

ARC Discovery Project details

Bringing Archaeal biodiversity to life from native Australian herbivores. The aim of this project is to provide deep functional understanding of our recent discovery of novel microbes from the Domain Archaea that inhabit the digestive tracts of native Australian herbivores. These animals are unique natural resources of great cultural, environmental, and economic significance, but increasingly susceptible to habitat change and degradation. Very little is currently known about the microbes that have co-evolved with these animals, to support their nutrition and health. The project will address these knowledge gaps, and the ensuing discoveries are expected to deliver products and services relevant to environmental health assessment and sustaining the "low methane carbon economy”.

Organising Intracellular Compartments by Formation of Transport Carriers. This project aims to investigate the cellular components which generate carriers that transport material between compartments within the cell. The process of sorting proteins and sending them to the right place is a fundamental mechanism critical to understand how individual proteins function as the move around within cells. The generated knowledge about how cells organise themselves through the movement of proteins between endosomal intracellular compartments will provide significant benefits by enhancing our capacity to understand this conserved cellular pathway which ensures the integrity of all cellular processes including signalling, communication, homeostasis and development.

Macrophage control of mammalian growth and development. The immediate postnatal period in mammals is crucial for survival, long term health and productivity. This project is an international collaboration that aims to investigate how cells of the innate immune system called macrophages control somatic growth and development of mature organ function in the early postnatal period. The project aims to build upon investment in new animal models and a novel discovery to generate significant new knowledge that will challenge current concepts of mammalian growth control. The outcomes will enhance Australia's international reputation in the fields of physiology, immunology and developmental biology.

Decoding the spatiotemporal control of DNA replication and repair. DNA replication is the fundamental mechanism of genetic inheritance and essential for all cellular life. This project aims to inform our understanding of how human cells coordinate the DNA replication machinery in time and space to accurately copy the human genome. By applying multiple innovative approaches and employing an interdisciplinary research team, this project is anticipated to generate new knowledge that explains how the human genome is replicated. This knowledge is expected to generate research publications of high quality and provide economic benefits, such as unlocking new potentially patentable DNA technologies.

Mobile DNA activity in the mammalian primordial germline. Early in pregnancy, a handful of cells in the embryo become primordial germ cells (PGCs). These PGCs will eventually give rise to sperm or egg cells, representing a critical inter-generational genetic link. Mobile DNA sequences target PGCs to create new heritable genetic changes. This proposal aims to analyse the activity, regulation, and consequences of mobile DNA activity in PGCs. This project expects to generate significant knowledge about the origins of mammalian genetic diversity. Expected outcomes include enhanced national and international collaborations across disciplines and new experimental systems. The expected benefit is an enhanced understanding of the mutational processes underlying genetic diversity and disease in mammals.

Media: Faculty of Medicine Communications,, +61 7 3365 5133, +61 436 368 746.