Orchestrating changes in heart disease

Centenary’s Molecular Cardiology research group—Professor Chris Semsarian, Dr Richard Bagnall & Tatiana Tsoutsman (Missing: Rhian Shephard) with bioinformatician Dr William Ritchie

A study by Centenary scientists will help researchers find new approaches to diagnosing and treating a devastating genetic heart condition. The group looked at microRNAs, tiny fragments of genetic material that regulate genes.

They may be small, but microRNAs (miRNAs) pack a significant punch. The work that Centenary’s Molecular Cardiology research group—including post-doctoral fellow, Dr Richard Bagnall, Professor Chris Semsarian, Dr Tatiana Tsoutsman and Rhian Shephard in collaboration with bioinformatician Dr William Ritchie—has just published tracked changing patterns of microRNAs in heart cells from the inception of the disease condition until its end stages. Continue reading

Quirky Cosies for Melanoma Research

These most darling tea cosies, hand-knitted by Jan Cook, are the latest trend in the world of afternoon tea. The quirky styles are the perfect addition to the table when the social occasion arises or simply when you curl up to a delicious brew with a good book.

It was the Duchess of Bedford in 1840 who introduced the concept of afternoon tea as she became uncomfortably hungry between the hours of lunch and dinner. She may well have been the first to make fashionable the use of tea cosies, and we are glad she did.

Our dear friend Jan has started knitting designs from Australian author Loani Prior’s “Wild Tea Cosies” published by Simon & Schuster, which made the Top Ten in the Australian National Bestseller List in 2008. Continue reading

First trip abroad sees PhD Candidate win Immunology prize

Michelle Vo

Sight seeing at the British Museum, London, en route to ECI 2012, Glasgow.

There comes a time in people’s careers when they have to step up. However, for Michelle Vo, this was no ordinary challenge.

It required a new passport, a 33,000km round trip, competition from 11 international PhD candidates and quite literally ‘stepping up’ into the bright lights of the big stage.  Adding to the excitement, this was also Michelle’s first time abroad.

Michelle was selected to present at the European Congress of Immunology (ECI) 2012, in Glasgow, Scotland, with an audience from 31 European countries and beyond, where she picked up the 2nd place prize in the Bright Sparks in ECImmunology.

‘A “bright spark” is defined… as someone who is thought of as particularly smart and quick-witted (…and sometimes, perhaps, a little too smart and quick-witted)…’ Continue reading

Surfing for a cancer cure

Centenary researcher Dr Josep “Pep” Font

They both demand years of training, attention to detail, and an enormous amount of support from others, but there’s not much else medical research and surf ironman competitions have in common—until now.

Centenary researcher Dr Josep “Pep” Font is bringing the two together by competing in October in one of the world’s most gruelling ironman races, The Coolangatta Gold, while raising funds for the Structural Biology lab in which he works.

Pep started competing in adventure races about five years ago, and switched to surf lifesaving events after joining the Bondi Surf Bathers’ Life Saving Club (BSBLSC). He wanted to improve his skills in the water. Continue reading

New group at Centenary to study health span and ageing

Dr Masaomi Kato

In 1909, when the old age pension for those over 65 was introduced in Australia, life expectancy was about 55. It is now about 80.

For most of the 20th century, people in their 60s and 70s were expected to be seen with walking sticks. Now, many of them are working out regularly in the gym. And, as populations age, the developed world’s biggest health problems are now degenerative diseases rather than infections.

So perhaps it’s not surprising there has been an upsurge in interest in research into ageing—and the Centenary Institute is taking a major interest in applying its unique skill sets and clinical know-how to the problem. Leading the way will be the Institute’s newest research group leader, Dr Masaomi Kato, who moved to Australia from Yale University earlier this year to establish a Laboratory of Ageing.

Continue reading