$3m world-class centre for cancer research

Wednesday, 3 September 2003

South Australia's research effort into cancer and other life- threatening diseases will receive a significant boost, with a new $3 million state-of-the-art research centre being developed at the University of Adelaide.

The University of Adelaide and the Hanson Institute have overcome tough national competition to win a $1.5m grant from the Australian Cancer Research Foundation. That funding has been further supported by the Australian Research Council and the State Government through Bio Innovation SA, taking the total to around $3m.

This will enable the university to develop a new, world-class research centre called the Adelaide Proteomics Centre. The new centre will be based on the university's North Terrace Campus, with construction expected to be completed by mid 2004.

South Australia's Minister for Science & Information Economy, the Hon. Dr Jane Lomax-Smith, will attend a celebration of this announcement at the University of Adelaide at 2.30pm today (Wednesday, September 3).

"This Centre will be a world-class research facility that will help South Australian scientists understand the fundamental principles that lead to disease and discover possible interventions," Minister Lomax-Smith says.

"It will also play a vital role in the future of tertiary education and growth of the biomedical and biotechnology sectors in South Australia."

What is Proteomics?

Proteomics is the next step on from the mapping of the human genome. Scientists involved in proteomics research look at the levels of all proteins produced in the body, including identifying different functionalities of these proteins.

"A greater understanding of the molecular interactions involved in the operation of living cells will help scientists in their quest to cure or prevent cancer and many other diseases," says the lead investigator for the Adelaide Proteomics Centre, Associate Professor Shaun McColl from the university's School of Molecular & Biomedical Science.

"The research conducted at the Adelaide Proteomics Centre will not only help in worldwide efforts to fight cancer, but also diseases such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, multiple sclerosis and many others - and it will be conducted right here in Adelaide," he says.

Two new, state-of-the-art laboratories will be built at the University of Adelaide, further complementing the world-class laboratories in the university's Molecular Life Sciences Building.

"Our new laboratories will include sophisticated analysis equipment and software, and a suite of high-performance computers," Dr McColl says.

"In conjunction with other interdependent technologies and expertise available in Adelaide - such as our gene microarray, high speed cell sorting, and microscopy - the Adelaide Proteomics Centre represents a world-class proteomics environment for South Australia.

World-class research

"The University of Adelaide has played an instrumental role in Australia's biotechnology success, and once again we are helping to lead the way in research and commercialisation opportunities for the State and the nation," says the Executive Dean of Sciences, Professor Peter Rathjen.

"This initiative is part of a long-term goal to maintain and extend excellence in this sector at the University of Adelaide and the Hanson Institute, with a strong emphasis to be placed on research into regenerative medicine, a new and important area of research," he says.

"The School of Molecular & Biomedical Science and the Hanson Institute already employ about 450 research staff and win around $25 million annually in national and international grants for their research. Collectively, this is the strongest concentration of biomedical and biotechnology research and teaching in South Australia.

"This new centre represents a very significant investment in the future of biomedical and biotechnology research in the State, and an investment in the future health and well-being of people all around the world."

Benefits to teaching

The new Adelaide Proteomics Centre will also have many positive spin- off benefits for students at the University of Adelaide, Professor Rathjen says.

"Students studying at the University of Adelaide, particularly those taking up our named degrees, will have their teaching informed by the very latest and best research in the world.

"For postgraduate students, they will have opportunities to enter into this new and exciting area of technology."


Contact Details

Professor Shaun McColl
Email: shaun.mccoll@adelaide.edu.au
Director, Centre for Molecular Pathology
School of Biological Sciences
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 4259
Mobile: +61 414 303 425