ARC Future Fellowship: Unravelling the master plan for development

06 August 2018
Congratulations Professor Jose Polo
Professor Jose Polo was awarded a prestigious Australian Research Council (ARC) Future Fellowship, for his leading research into cell identity and cell fate. 

Professor Polo is a Group Leader at the Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute and the Biomedicine Discovery Institute at Monash University and is interested in the transcriptional and epigenetic mechanisms that govern cell identity, particularly during reprogramming and transition between pluripotent stem cells.

This ability to reprogram tissue cells, such as skin, back into a cell that mimics the pluripotent characterises of an embryotic stem cell has provided a powerful new way to investigate underlying causes of human disease in a manner not previously possible. 

Moreover, investigating the process of changing one cell type into another provides a unique tool to dissect the molecular and cellular events that govern cell identity and fate. This could give important insight into how a fertilised egg cell can give rise to every cell type that comprises a human. 

This is the focus of Jose’s ARC Future Fellowship project, “Unveiling the epigenome dynamics through the pluripotency continuum”. He was awarded over $900,000 for his work. 

This project aims to utilise stem cells and genomics-based technologies, in combination with new computational algorithms, to dissect the fundamental molecular events that drive the first steps during development. 

The project is expected to unveil the basic mechanisms underpinning how genes driving the developmental master plan are controlled in cells that have the capacity to give rise to the whole organism and placenta. 

Jose believes that the knowledge gained from this work will inform and guide future novel approaches, such as in assisted reproductive technologies or regenerative medicine.

Congratulations Jose!

The Australian Research Council Future Fellowships scheme supports research in areas of critical national importance by giving outstanding researchers incentives to conduct their research in Australia. The aim of the Future Fellowships scheme is to attract and retain the best and brightest mid-career researchers.  

Professor Jose Polo is Chief Investigator at Stem Cells Australia.