Learning about Australian stem cell research: at the frontier of tomorrow’s medicine

08 April 2019
Liz Visher and Dr Robert Mun from the ARC joined Prof Melissa Little at our recent public forum.
Over 200 guests including members of the Australian Research Council, public and high school students, joined researchers from across the Stem Cells Australia network members to gain an insight into stem cell research and have their questions answered. 

Prior to the forum the audience were able to explore a Stem Cell Photography Exhibition and meet junior research ambassadors from the Stem Cells Australia initiative. High school students were especially excited to speak with the ambassadors, to discuss their experiences as researchers and journeys into a career in science, particularly what it means to undertake a PhD.  

Speaking at the event on behalf of the Federal Education Minister, the Hon. Dan Tehan, Mr Tim Wilson MP opened the event, congratulating all the researchers at Stem Cells Australia on their achievements over the previous eight years of Australian Research Council funding.
The public forum was chaired by Professor Trevor Kilpatrick, who introduced the panel of researchers and moderated the question and answer session. 

  • Associate Professor Enzo Porrello from the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute and University of Melbourne explained how he uses stem cells to understand how the heart develops and investigate how a “tissue patch” may help repair the hearts of children born with congenital heart disease. 
  • Professor Stephanie Watson from the University of Sydney showcased her breakthrough research into the possibility to transplant healthy stem cells into patients’ damaged eye following a cornea injury.  
  • Professor Ernst Wolvetang from the University of Queensland, explained how he uses cells from patients to model their disease in a dish in the lab, allowing him and his team to determine the causes of disease, develop diagnostic tools and to test potential treatments.
  • Professor Christine Wells from the University of Melbourne described her work in exploring lab-made macrophages and their potential to include features such as making and delivering medicine. 
  • Associate Professor Megan Munsie from the University of Melbourne highlighted her research into why people turn to unproven stem cell treatments and how providing resources can help patients navigate their options.  
The event was closed by Professor Melissa Little, Program Leader of Stem Cells Australia, who celebrated the research conducted by Stem Cells Australia members, research which has revealed the properties of stem cells and showed the pathway towards converting these discoveries into genuine clinical outcomes. 

Watch the full Public Forum

You can read more about the speakers in At the frontier of tomorrow’s medicine and Tomorrow’s medicine starts today

This event was held in conjunction with UniStem Day

Media Coverage
Australian Research Council "Stem Cells Australia celebrates eight years" - 22 March 2019