CSL Limited

The CSL Centenary Fellowships for early-mid career medical researchers are high-value awards available to Australians who wish to continue a career in medical research in Australia. Two individual five-year $1.25 million fellowships are awarded each calendar year.

This $25 million program was established by CSL Limited in its Centenary year to support Australia’s best and brightest biomedical researchers—fostering excellence in medical research by supporting mid-career scientists to pursue world-class research at an Australian institution.

The 2021 Fellows will be announced on Thursday 15 October, 2020.

For more information, contact Niall Byrne on niall@sciencienpublic.com.au 0417 131 977 or (03) 9398 1416.

More about the Fellowships at: www.csl.com.au/centenary/fellowships.htm

CSL Limited is a global specialty biotechnology company that researches, develops, manufactures and markets products to treat and prevent serious human medical conditions.

A new way to fight drug-resistant bacteria

Professor Si Ming Man, John Curtin School of Medical Research, Australian National University, Canberra

Si Ming Man is tackling central questions of immunology: how do disease-fighting proteins produced by the immune system recognise pathogens, and how can these natural defence mechanisms be harnessed to fight infectious diseases?

The answers could lead to alternatives to over-used and increasingly ineffective antibiotics, providing new ways to combat multidrug-resistant microbes.

Disease-fighting proteins can recognise invading bacteria, setting in train an immune response. Understanding exactly how this process works, however, is a continuing challenge. 

Some 17 million people die each year from infectious diseases. Antibiotics are the first line of treatment but their overuse in hospitals and agriculture has resulted in an alarming rise in bacterial resistance. The United Nations estimates that by 2050 drug-resistant infections will kill 10 million people a year.

Si Ming aims to use his $1.25 million CSL Centenary Fellowship to study a particular family of disease-fighting immune system proteins known as guanylate-binding proteins (GBPs).

“The immune system is an incredible toolbox full of tricks, which we can learn from,” he says. “We now think the GBPs have a receptor similar to an antenna that can sense a pathogen once they invade our bodies.”

Four years ago, Si Ming made the exciting discovery that these proteins could attack E. coli bacteria. 

“They go and find the pathogen and break it apart, uncloaking it so the rest of the immune system can see it and destroy it,” he says.

That exciting breakthrough led to the hypothesis that the proteins could be harnessed as a disease-fighting system without the need to turn to antibiotics.

“The overall goal of the research is to find more and more of these disease-fighting proteins from our own immune system and harness their power to destroy all types of microbes, including bacteria and viruses,” he explains.

Si Ming’s work is ambitious because the family of GBPs is large. The CSL Centenary Fellowship allows him the space to give those ambitions full rein which could lead to lasting holistic solutions to the problem of multi-drug resistance.

“It provides continuous five-year support for young researchers like myself, which is incredibly important and my stage of my career,” he says. “That means that I can ask big questions, and train the next generation of young researchers.”


Photographs of Si Ming Man

2021 CSL Centenary Fellow Professor Si Ming Man (Photo credit: Science in Public)
2021 CSL Centenary Fellow Professor Si Ming Man (Photo credit: Science in Public)
2021 CSL Centenary Fellow Professor Si Ming Man at John Curtin School of Medical Research, ANU (Photo credit: Science in Public)

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Could Frizzled proteins lead to new cancer drugs?

Dr Alisa Glukhova, Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, Melbourne

Alisa Glukhova is investigating a fundamental cell communication system that guides the growth of embryos but, when it goes wrong, can contribute to cancer and other diseases.

By determining the structure and shape of the Frizzled protein, she hopes to create a path to new kinds of cancer drugs.

The cells in our body need to be told when to grow, what to become, when to multiply – even when to die.

But with close to 40 trillion cells in our bodies – and an unimaginable number of molecules in those cells – it is easy to see how things can go horribly wrong. And the result of those molecular misunderstandings can be catastrophic – a cascade of misinformation that can lead to the uncontrolled division of cells that is one of the hallmarks of cancer.

One of the key signalling systems in this process is the Wnt system. It’s so fundamental to life, it’s found in fruit flies, sponges, and humans.

We know very little about how Wnt signalling works – a gap in our knowledge Alisa hopes to close thanks to her $1.25 million CSL Centenary Fellowship.

That grant will support her work studying the signalling events surrounding Frizzled receptor proteins that lie on the surface of cells and act as tiny inboxes that receive messages from other cells.

We do know that many drugs can influence the Wnt signalling systems, including Frizzled receptors.

“We want to find new effective drugs that work with these receptors, or just to make ones we are already using work better,” Alisa says. But to do that we need to understand their shape and structure.

Alisa is bringing the latest technology to the task, using X-ray crystallography and cryo-electron microscopy. She will look at the structure of the proteins in a crystal form using synchrotron X-rays and she will visualise individual flash-frozen protein molecules using electron microscopy.

Alisa says that the five years of CSL Fellowship support will give her time to gain a fundamental understanding of the Wnt pathway that could then lead to the design of new classes of cancer drug.


Photographs of Alisa Glukhova

Portrait of 2021 CSL Centenary Fellow Dr Alisa Glukhova (Photo credit: Monash Photography Club)
Portrait of 2021 CSL Centenary Fellow Dr Alisa Glukhova (Photo credit: Monash Photography Club)
Portrait of 2021 CSL Centenary Fellow Dr Alisa Glukhova (Photo credit: Monash Photography Club)

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$2.5 million CSL Centenary Fellowships announced

Could Frizzled proteins lead to new cancer drugs? (Melbourne)

A new way to fight drug-resistant bacteria (Canberra)

Two Australian scientists have each been awarded CSL Centenary Fellowships, valued at $1.25 million over five years, to investigate new ways to fight two of the world’s biggest health challenges: cancer and infectious diseases. The Fellowships will be presented at the Australian Academy for Health and Medical Research Online Scientific Meeting 2020 on Thursday 15 October.

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$2.5 million CSL Centenary Fellowships announced

Curing the ‘hidden malaria’ in Asia/Pacific (Darwin)

A path to personalised treatment for most cancers (Adelaide)

Two Australian scientists have each been awarded AUD$1.25 million CSL Centenary Fellowships over five years to improve treatments for two of the world’s biggest health challenges: malaria and cancer. The Fellowships will be presented in Perth at the Australian Academy for Health and Medical Research Gala Dinner on 10 October.

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Curing the “hidden” malaria

Dr Kamala Thriemer, Darwin

Dr Kamala Thriemer will use her $1.25 million CSL Centenary Fellowship to develop and optimise treatment programs against vivax malaria in SE Asia and the Horn of Africa.

Photo credit: Stepping Stone Films

Vivax malaria is the second largest cause of malaria deaths and is hard to treat as the parasite can hide in the liver and re-emerge months later. Her studies have shown that as few as one in ten patients successfully complete the long course of treatment.

Kamala is a public health researcher at the Menzies School of Health Research in Darwin.

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A path to personalised treatment for most cancers

Associate Professor Daniel Thomas, Adelaide

Dan Thomas has developed new ways to identify a cancer’s weakness and target it with personalised treatment. He’s already treating acute myeloid leukaemia patients in Adelaide.

Photo credit: Stepping Stone Films

His $1.25 million CSL Centenary Fellowship will facilitate his return from Stanford University to the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI) and The University of Adelaide.

Daniel began his academic career with a PhD in haematology from the University of Adelaide.

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Brisbane scientists awarded $2.5m in first CSL Centenary Fellowships

  • Is long term memory stored in DNA, and what does it mean for Alzheimer’s?
  • Changing the odds from one in 10 for older leukaemia patients
  • Scientists available for interview.  

Two Brisbane scientists have each been awarded an AUD$1.25 million, five-year CSL Centenary Fellowship to further research that aims to help patients beat leukaemia and examine the origins of memory to better understand Alzheimer’s disease.

Full profiles, photos, HD footage available:

CSL media release: www.scienceinpublic.com.au/media-releases/csl-fellows

Overlay available via Dropbox: www.dropbox.com/sh/aujr04spwvx7ecp/AAArPfLhh8vXMaZhEEXzSAG9a?dl=0 

For more email Niall Byrne niall@scienceinpublic.com.au or call Toni Stevens (03) 9398 1416, 0401 763 130

Professor Geoff Faulkner and Associate Professor Steven Lane are the inaugural Fellows in a $25 million program established by CSL in its centenary year to support Australia’s best and brightest biomedical researchers—fostering excellence in medical research by supporting mid-career scientists to pursue world-class research at an Australian institution.

Professor Geoff Faulkner from the University of Queensland thinks long-term memory might be stored in our brain’s DNA and he’ll test his theory in brains affected by Alzheimer’s.

Today, 85 per cent of children with leukaemia can be cured, but the outlook for patients over 60 is bleak, with only 10 per cent surviving beyond one year as their cancer adapts to weather the storm of standard chemotherapy treatments. Steven wants to change that outlook.

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Australian Scientists awarded $2.5m in support of ground-breaking research into Alzheimer’s Disease and Leukaemia

csl-100-logo-downloadedCSL Limited Media Release

Two Australian scientists have each been awarded an AUD$1.25 million, five-year CSL Centenary Fellowship to further research that aims to help patients beat leukaemia and examine the origins of memory to better understand Alzheimer’s disease.

Professor Geoff Faulkner and Associate Professor Steven Lane are the inaugural Fellows in a $25 million program established by CSL in its centenary year to support Australia’s best and brightest biomedical researchers—fostering excellence in medical research by supporting mid-career scientists to pursue world-class research at an Australian institution.

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Are memories stored in DNA?

Geoff Faulkner— Mater Research Institute-University of Queensland (MRI-UQ) and Queensland Brain Institute (QBI)

2017 CSL Centenary Fellowship; $1.25 million over 5 years

geoff_faulkner_2-tomrGeoff Faulkner is testing a bold idea— he thinks long-term memory might be stored in our brain’s DNA. If he’s right, it will revolutionise both our understanding of life’s blueprint and how we manage diseases like schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s.

There’s DNA in every human cell called ‘junk’ or ‘non-coding’ DNA because our bodies don’t use it to generate proteins, the building blocks of life.

The strange thing is, this DNA makes up over 98 per cent of our genome. Surely it must do something. The question is: what?

Geoff Faulkner has been studying this question for years with his team from the MRI-UQ. Now, working with the Queensland Brain Institute (QBI), Geoff’s inaugural CSL Centenary Fellowship will help him delve deeper, using brains bequeathed by Alzheimer’s patients.

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Improving survival for patients with acute leukaemia

Steven Lane—QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute

2017 CSL Centenary Fellow, $1.25 million over five years

steven_lane-tomrLeukaemia is one of Australia’s deadliest types of cancer. However, as Steven Lane knows, it’s not just one type—it’s hundreds of different types, each with its own genetic fingerprint.

This variation means some types of leukaemia are treatable, whereas others quickly develop resistance. Today, 85 per cent of children with leukaemia can be cured, but the outlook for patients over 60 is bleak—only 10 per cent survive beyond one year.

Steven wants to change that outlook. Together with his team at the QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute in Brisbane he has developed the capacity to rapidly profile the genetics of leukaemia types and model them in the lab.

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