Nanoscale biophotonics coming to Griffith Uni

Griffith University

Friday, 01 June, 2018

Nanoscale biophotonics coming to Griffith Uni

Griffith University has been announced as the latest collaborating partner of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Nanoscale BioPhotonics (CNBP) and is set to host a CNBP research node at its Gold Coast campus.

The Griffith-based research node will be headed by Associate Professor Daniel Kolarich from the university’s Institute for Glycomics, where the node will be based. It is set to add to CNBP’s research capability in the development of next-generation light-based tools that can sense and image at a cellular and molecular level.

“Our team has specialised glycan knowledge and expertise that will aid the centre in its objectives of improving understanding and knowledge of cell communication and the nanoscale molecular interactions in the living body,” said Associate Professor Kolarich.

“Glycans (sugar chains attached to proteins and lipids on the cell surface) are intricately involved in bacterial and viral infection, immune responses, cancers, lung disease, brain function, fertilisation, cardiovascular disease and a host of other cellular activities.

“As a node of the CNBP we will be working to extend our knowledge of these sugars — to be able to better sense and image their interactions, as well as to understand how they function at the molecular level, and ultimately how they shape the health and wellbeing of an individual.

“In the longer term, we expect this work to lead to new and improved approaches to disease and ultimately, new and innovative forms of clinical diagnosis.”

CNBP Director Mark Hutchinson, a professor at the University of Adelaide, welcomed Griffith University as a new partner to the centre.

“Associate Professor Kolarich and his team are world-class scientists with exceptional knowledge and skills in glycomics,” he said. “They have state-of-the-art facilities and will add significantly to CNBP’s investigative strength, helping us to achieve the highest levels of research excellence.

“The team’s research fits perfectly, and offers unique molecular targets to our core CNBP areas of imaging, sensing and discovery as well as aligning with our key biological areas of study — pain, reproduction and vascular health.”

Griffith University joins the University of Adelaide, Macquarie University and RMIT University as core members of the Centre of Excellence. Professor Hutchinson noted that Professor Nicolle Packer is both a current CNBP Chief Investigator at Macquarie University and also a Principal Research Leader at the Institute for Glycomics, providing an established link between the organisations.

“Her world-leading glycan expertise and in-depth knowledge of CNBP research capabilities will greatly assist in helping drive the benefits of this new partnership,” Professor Hutchinson said. “And I’m extremely excited by the opportunities that we now have to extend our science in this space.

“Our CNBP research network offers a transdisciplinary and collaborative working environment that will help grow knowledge of glycan activity and glycan impact in areas such as brain cell signalling, the forming of plaque in arteries and in the human fertilisation process.”

The centre is administered by the University of Adelaide and funded by the Australian Research Council (ARC) until 2021.

Image caption: Associate Professor Daniel Kolarich. Image courtesy of CNBP under CC BY 2.0

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