Congratulations to our new ARC Future Fellows

31 July 2014

Stem Cells Australia members - Alice Pébay and Robin Hobbs - have been awarded prestigious 2014 Australian Research Council Future Fellowships to continue their research in Australia.

On 23 July Minister for Education, the Hon. Christopher Pyne MP, announced $115 million for 150 new Fellowships under the Australian Research Council's (ARC) Future Fellowships scheme.

The highly competitive award recognizes the mid-career researcher’s scientific excellence and capacity to forge collaboration across disciplines and further build Australia’s research capacity, amongst other attributes with funding provided for up to five years.

Congratulations to both of you!

Dr Alice Pébay - from The University of Melbourne and the Centre for Eye Research Australia - will use her funding for a project with aims to investigate the role of particular fats (lipids) in influencing cell fate. The study of lipids, or lipidomics, is an emerging and exciting area of biological science and remains vastly understudied in development. This project will look at reprogramming of somatic cells into stem cells, their pluripotency and differentiation. This will be complemented with studies in the zebrafish, which permits the direct study of cell fate in vivo. This unique approach is a powerful way to unlock major events involved in development and to unmask the roles of lipids in these fundamental mechanisms.


Dr Robin Hobbs – from the Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute and Department of Anatomy and Developmental Biology, Monash University – aims to explore the role of adult stem cells in tissue maintenance.It is apparent that stem cell populations are not uniform, being composed of discrete subpopulations with distinct properties. The functional significance of these subsets and mechanisms that control their divergent characteristics are unclear. Using germline stem cells from mice as a model, stem cell subsets have been identified based on differential expression of select pluripotency genes. Robin plans to define functional characteristics of these subpopulations and to dissect transcription factor networks controlling their development. This promises important insight into our understanding of adult stem cell regulation.