Dr Anja Knaupp was recently awarded a prestigious Peter Doherty Early Career Fellowship from the National Health and Medical Research Council that will support her quest to better understand the complex processes involved in cellular reprogramming.
Anja has long been fascinated by how proteins interact with each other and with other factors to control how cells function during development, in health and during disease. During her PhD at Monash University’s Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology she examined how changing protein shape influenced key physiological processes at a molecular level.
Determined to continue her research, she decided to apply her knowledge to the field of stem cell research and in 2013 joined the laboratory of Associate Professor Jose Polo at Monash’s Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute.
Specifically, Anja was intrigued by the concept of reprogramming - where a body cell could be made to revert to a more primitive stem cell state - and the possible role that proteins might play in controlling this complex process and the implications that improvements in this process may have for regenerative medicine in the future.
The funding provided by her Fellowship will allow Anja to further dissect and define the pluripotency network in reprogramming cells – including how protein complexes are assembled and then modified during this process.
By linking the biochemical and molecular biological expertise acquired during her PhD with the unique skills and experience of her colleagues in the Polo laboratory, Anja aims to advance this important area of medical research.
Anja is a member of Stem Cells Australia.