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Identifying emergent ecosystem responses through genes-to-ecosystems integration at Stordalen Mire

Permafrost thaw induced by climate change is predicted to make up to 174 Pg of near-surface carbon (less than 3m below the surface) available for microbial degradation by 2100. Despite having major implications for human health, prediction of the magnitude of carbon loss as carbon dioxide (CO2) or methane (CH4) is hampered by our limited knowledge of microbial metabolism of organic matter in these environments.Genome-centric meta-omic analysis of microbial communities provides the necessary information to examine how specific lineages transform …

Study level
PhD, Master of Philosophy, Honours
Faculty
Faculty of Health
School
School of Biomedical Sciences
Research centre(s)

Centre for Microbiome Research

DNA markers of burn injury and trauma

Burns cause physical and psychological trauma. Patients often experience prolonged treatment to enable their wounds to heal, and may experience scarring and repeated operations. Patients often experience distress related to the initial injury and ongoing management, and are at risk of developing PTSD. The patients who are more likely to develop heightened trauma reactions, long-term psychological sequelae and wound healing with scarring and surgery, need to be identified early in the treatment pathway, for improved management. It is also important …

Study level
Master of Philosophy, Honours
Faculty
Faculty of Health
School
School of Biomedical Sciences

Characterisation of a novel protein co-amplified with the n-MYC oncogene

The MYCN oncogene is amplified in a number of tumour types, including Neuroblastoma (NB) and Neuroendocrine Prostate Cancer (NEPC), where it is associated with worse patient prognosis, as compared to non-amplified tumours. However, the high expression of MYCN (encoding the n-MYC protein) alone in non-amplified tumours is associated with better patient prognosis and less aggressive disease. This suggests that other genes co-expressed in MYCN amplified tumours may be responsible for mediating the aggressive traits of n-MYC. Our team has identified …

Study level
Master of Philosophy, Honours
Faculty
Faculty of Health
School
School of Biomedical Sciences

Giant viruses in the human gut microbiome

The human body is home to a vast ecosystem of microorganisms including bacteria, archaea, fungi, viruses, and bacteriophages that make up the human microbiota. These microbes and their collective genetic material, known as the microbiome, influence a wide range of physiological functions including nutrient production and absorption, the development and regulation of our immune system, protection against potential pathogens, and even our mood and mental health. While distinct microbial communities exist throughout the body, the gut microbiome has gained particular …

Study level
Master of Philosophy, Honours
Faculty
Faculty of Health
School
School of Biomedical Sciences
Research centre(s)

Centre for Microbiome Research

Investigating genetic variants involved in Wilson disease and copper metabolism using genome editing

Wilson disease (WD) is a genetic disorder of copper metabolism. It can present with hepatic and neurological symptoms, due to copper accumulation in the liver and brain (1). WD is caused by compound heterozygosity or homozygosity for mutations in the copper transporting P-type ATPase gene ATP7B. Over 700 ATP7B genetic variants have been associated with WD. Estimates for WD population prevalence vary with 1 in 30,000 generally quoted. Early diagnosis and treatment are important for successful management of the disease. …

Study level
Master of Philosophy, Honours
Faculty
Faculty of Health
School
School of Biomedical Sciences
Research centre(s)
Centre for Genomics and Personalised Health

Identification of novel melanoma biomarkers using exosomes

Tumour cells excrete exosomes, membrane vesicles (30-150 nm diameter) that encapsulate and transport proteins, metabolites and genetic material. They mediate intercellular communication within the tumor microenvironment, metastasis formation via circulation, and development of drug resistance. Circulating tumor-derived exosomes can be isolated from blood patients as a non-invasive liquid biopsy.The chemical composition and overall properties of the exosomal membranes are expected to be similar to those of parent cell membranes and to modulate blood circulation time, and uptake and targeting of …

Study level
Master of Philosophy, Honours
Faculty
Faculty of Health
School
School of Biomedical Sciences

Illuminating the microbial world using genome-based fluorescence microscopy

Our understanding of microbial diversity on earth has been fundamentally changed by metagenomic characterisation of natural ecosystems. Traditional approaches for visualising microbial communities are time-consuming and provide limited information about the identity of specific microorganisms.The proposed research aims to combine single cell genomics and super resolution microscopy for novel, high-throughput, genome-based techniques to visualise microorganisms, plasmids and viruses, with strain level specificity.The application of these highly scalable approaches will provide comprehensive and unprecedented insight into the fine-scale dynamics and evolution …

Study level
PhD
Faculty
Faculty of Health
School
School of Biomedical Sciences
Research centre(s)

Centre for Microbiome Research

Multi-microbial 3D printing for screening microbiome functions

The ability to 3D print bacteria has relevance to a wide range of applications, ranging from developing novel anti-microbial modalities to probiotics for promoting human health. Traditional culture techniques used in microbiology such as agar plates and suspension cultures have limited spatio-temporal control over the bacteria microenvironment as well as their interaction partners, in particular, mammalian host cells. This project aims to bridge this technological gap by combining 3D printing and microfluidics technologies to spatially control the localisation of multiple …

Study level
PhD, Master of Philosophy
Faculty
Faculty of Health
School
School of Biomedical Sciences

Comprehensive strain-level characterisation of microbial communities associated with inflammatory bowel disease

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a chronic, relapsing inflammatory disorder driven by complex interactions between environmental, microbial and immune-mediated factors 1,2. An unfavourable shift in gut microbiome composition, known as dysbiosis, is now considered a key feature of IBD 2-5, however it is unclear how specific microorganisms and their interactions with host cells contribute to disease onset and progression.Previous IBD studies have been largely limited to older sequencing methods with low phylogenetic and functional resolution. Furthermore, these studies have predominantly …

Study level
Master of Philosophy, Honours
Faculty
Faculty of Health
School
School of Biomedical Sciences
Research centre(s)

Centre for Microbiome Research

Early diagnosis of pregnancy complications using exosomes

Complications of pregnancy, including preterm birth represent the major causes of fetal and neonatal morbidity and mortality and potentially affect childhood and adult susceptibility to both cardiac and metabolic diseases. Early detection of these disorders is, therefore, essential to improve health outcomes for mother and baby.Exosomes are small (40-120 nm), stable, lipid bilayer nanovesicles identified in biological fluids (e.g. in milk, blood, urine and saliva). They contain a diverse array of signalling molecules, including mRNA, microRNA (miR), proteins, lipids and …

Study level
Master of Philosophy, Honours
Faculty
Faculty of Health
School
School of Biomedical Sciences

Targeting leptin's signalling axis to prevent treatment resistance in prostate cancer

Advanced prostate cancer (PCa) is a leading cause of cancer-associated death in Australian men. Anti-androgens, which exploit the tumour’s reliance on androgens for its growth & spread, offer temporary remission in advanced PCa patients, but due to treatment resistance, fail to be curative. A further complication of anti-androgens is that they trigger a deleterious suite of metabolic side-effects resembling obesity/Metabolic syndrome. These symptoms not only impact patient health but promote tumours to be more aggressive & resist treatment. Vital new …

Study level
PhD, Master of Philosophy, Honours
Faculty
Faculty of Health
School
School of Biomedical Sciences

Restoring adiponectin signalling to prevent prostate cancer progression

Advanced prostate cancer (PCa) is a leading cause of cancer-associated death in Australian men. Anti-androgens, which exploit the tumour’s reliance on androgens for its growth and spread, offer temporary remission in advanced PCa patients, but due to treatment resistance, fail to be curative. A further complication of anti-androgens is that they trigger a deleterious suite of metabolic side-effects resembling obesity/Metabolic syndrome. These symptoms not only impact patient health but promote the tumour to be more aggressive and resist treatment. Vital …

Study level
PhD, Master of Philosophy, Honours
Faculty
Faculty of Health
School
School of Biomedical Sciences

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