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Queensland consortium to establish AutoStem

14 December 2017
AutoStem will enable critical insights into stem cells

A consortium of Queensland researchers was awarded an Australian Research Council ‘Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities' (LIEF) award to establish AutoStem.

Led by Professor Justin Cooper-White, co-director of UQ-StemCARE, the project aims to establish an automated stem cell bioengineering ("AutoStem") facility. AutoStem will enable critical insights into the molecular mechanisms that underlie the loss in stem cell function and tissue homeostasis as we age.

The AutoStem facility expects to lead to the discovery of the key drivers of stem cell ageing and the development of novel technological solutions to maintain tissue function with age. The outcomes produced from the AutoStem facility will have significant economic and social benefits in enabling healthy ageing and increased productivity for an ageing Australia.

The investigators in this group:

  • Professor Justin Cooper-White is a global leader in using engineering to solve problems in biology. He is a senior group leader at the Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (AIBN) and specialises in microfluidics, stem cell biology, polymer chemistry and biomaterials. Professor Cooper-White is a co-director of UQ-StemCARE.

  • Associate Professor Joe Tiralongo is a Research Leader at the Institute of Glycomics. His research expertise lies in the role of sialic acid in human health and disease, as well as the use of Glycan and Lectin Array technology to explore microbe-host interactions and cancer glycobiology. 
  • Professor Ernst Wolvetang is a senior group leader at AIBN. He uses human induced pluripotent stem cells to model brain and ageing diseases, to perform functional genomics and develop novel regenerative medicine approaches. Professor Wolvetang is a co-director of UQ-StemCARE.

  • Dr Joseph Powell is the head of the Single Cell and Computational Genomics Group at the Institute for Molecular Bioscience, which use computational and statistical genomics to decipher large amounts of genomic sequence information to uncover disease-causing genes and the causal mechanisms that activate them.
  • Dr Jana Vukovic is the group leader of the Neuroimmunology and Cognition Group at the Queensland Brain Institute. Her team is interested in elucidating how physiological changes associated with exercise, as well as ageing, influence microglial function and adult neurogenesis. 

  • Professor George Mellick is the Chief Investigator of Clinical Neurosciences at Griffith Institute for Drug Discovery. His research explores the genetics of Parkinsonism and the interactions between genetic and environmental factors that contribute to onset and development of the disease. He also leads the Queensland Parkinson's Project.

  • Dr Rodrigo Medeiros is a Senior Research Fellow at the Queensland Brain Institute. The broad goal of his lab is to advance knowledge of the healthy and diseased brain to a point where rational strategies can be developed for the early diagnosis, prevention and cure of Alzheimer’s disease and age-related neurodegenerative disorders.

  • Associate Professor Daniel Kolarich has recently been awarded an ARC Future Fellowship. The major theme of  his research group is to understand the functional role protein glycosylation plays in cellular development, health and disease including its evolutionary aspects in host-pathogen recognition.

Congratulations Justin and his colleagues.

Professor Justin Cooper-White and Professor Ernst Wolvetang are Chief Investigators with Stem Cells Australia.

The Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities scheme provides funding for research infrastructure, equipment and facilities to eligible organisations.

UQ-StemCARE aims to understand how the decline in stem cell function affects the ageing process with the goal is to engineer clinically translatable solutions for increasing health span and healthy ageing.