How immune cells prowl like ocean predators – reported in Nature today

Professor Wolfgang Weninger

Professor Wolfgang Weninger

Centenary’s resident immune system imager and dermatologist, Professor Wolfgang Weninger, has played a key role in proposing a new model of how the enforcer cells (T cells) of our immune system search for a parasitic pathogen in the brain.

And it turns out that T cells on the prowl have much in common with marine predators, such as tuna and sharks, as to how they track down their prey.

It’s part of a long-standing collaboration with researchers in the US. The work has just been published in the top-ranking science journal Nature and should give us a better handle on how to support the body’s defences against disease.

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Is the cure hiding in the computer?

Dr William Ritchie

Dr William Ritchie, Research Fellow and Group Head of Bioinformatics

Tonight Dr William Ritchie will tell some of Centenary’s biggest supporters about how fast computing is transforming research at the Institute.

He’s speaking at our 2012 Foundation dinner to a who’s who of Sydney’s business community.

He’ll tell them how a new generation of medical researchers: mathematicians, physicists and engineers are invading research laboratories. They’re hunting through the gigabytes of information produced in the lab and finding patterns: gene sequences connected with certain cancers for example; or DNA sequences that don’t seem to be doing anything. They’re even running virtual experiments – doing in seconds what would take months of laboratory work.

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One large steppe for liver research

Hard Yak

Hard Yak. From left: Rupert Robey, Centenary's Wil d'Avigdor, Ben Bradshaw and Dimitry Peisakhov

Imagine yourself driving along the Pamir Highway in Tajikistan 4000 m above sea level, or stranded in the Mongolian desert. I certainly can’t, but that’s the point! It’s all part of the Mongol Rally, in which I and three mates are taking part. And besides having a mind-blowingly extreme travel experience, we’ll be raising money for liver research at the Centenary Institute.

G’day, my name is William d’Avigdor and I’m a PhD student supervised by Nicholas Shackel in the Liver Injury and Cancer Laboratory headed by Geoff McCaughan. I study the genetics of the Hepatitis C Virus in humans.  I am also a member of a four-man Australian team, Hard Yak, along with Ben Bradshaw, Dimitry Peisakhov and Rupert Robey, which is set to drive 15,000 km for charity  from London to Mongolia in the 2012 Mongol Rally.

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Centenary Australia and Vietnam fight TB together

Centenary Scientist Dr Greg Fox in Vietnam

Centenary Scientist Dr Greg Fox in Vietnam

This week, Centenary is helping Vietnamese medical researchers to plan their next move against tuberculosis, a disease that once was Australia’s top killer and still kills 54,000 people each year in Vietnam.

Vietnam’s National Tuberculosis Program deputy head Nguyen Viet Nhung and his delegation are inspecting Centenary Institute’s new PC3 lab, meeting Australian colleagues who also work on TB visiting our research partners at the Woolcock Institute, and sharing research progress and strengthening ties.

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