$4 million genetics research centre for SA

Wednesday, 27 October 1999

The University of Adelaide has today won a $4 million grant for a new research centre to explore the frontiers of biological research and open the way for new genetic therapies and advances in agriculture.

The Special Research Centre for the Molecular Genetics of Development will not only bolster understanding of embryo development, it will also add substantially to the growing biotechnology industries in South Australia.

The research centre, funded by the Australian Research Council (ARC), will begin work next year, encompassing researchers from the University's Departments of Genetics and Biochemistry and leading to the employment of new researchers.

The centre is a coup for South Australia and has received the largest funding of any of the 11 new Special Research Centres announced today. It is expected to be funded for nine years, with the $4 million supporting the first three years of its work.

The University's Head of Genetics, Professor Robert Saint, says the centre's work will examine the way genes govern the development of embryos, beginning at the most basic level of cells.

He says comprehending development at this level has enormous implications for understanding and treating a variety of diseases including cancer.

"There are many potential benefits from this work," he says.

"It will enable us to understand how cells are regulated and give us the capacity to better regulate genes. We can clearly see the implications of this work with cancer, for example, where there is unregulated cell division."

He says South Australia's biotechnology industries will be boosted by the centre's work, which will offer more sophisticated genetic technologies to tackle problems ranging from stock improvement to human developmental disorders. Research aimed at generating specific tissue types for therapeutic use will also be an important part of the research to be carried out by the centre.

The centre will attract the best researchers from interstate and overseas.

In another boost for genetic research at the University, Professor Saint has also been awarded a $160,000 ARC Research Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities Grant to purchase sophisticated new equipment to help map the response of genes to any change or event in the life of an organism.

The University won a total of $1.9 million in grants to support five research infrastructure projects.

The University won 33 new ARC Large Grants, worth a total of $5.4 million over the next three years. The University was also awarded 13 new grants worth a total of $1.2 million over three years, under the ARC's scheme linking researchers with industry.

The Vice-Chancellor, Professor Mary O'Kane, says the University's performance in winning ARC grants has again shown that it is one of the best research universities in Australia.

"The new Special Research Centre is recognition of the University of Adelaide's fine work in genetics and biochemistry over many years," she says.

"The centre will add substantially to South Australia's position as a growing centre for innovation in biotechnology."

 

Contact Details

Mr Professor Rob Saint
The University of Adelaide
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Ms Robyn Mills
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Media and Communications Officer
The University of Adelaide
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Mr David Ellis
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Website: http://www.adelaide.edu.au/news/
Deputy Director, Media and Corporate Relations
External Relations
The University of Adelaide
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