SOURCE: Government of Victoria Australia

May 07, 2007 09:00 ET

International Scientific Leader to Head Victoria, Australia's Regenerative Medicine Institute

Top Level Appointments Announced at BIO 2007

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA and BOSTON, MA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- May 7, 2007 -- Professor Nadia Rosenthal, an international leader in molecular biology, has been appointed head of Victoria's new Regenerative Medicine Institute, Minister for Innovation, John Brumby announced today from BIO 2007 in Boston. Alan Sawyer, her husband, has also been appointed to head Victoria's new Monoclonal Antibody Technologies Facility.

Both facilities are to be based at Monash University, establishing Monash as a center of biomedicine in the international medical research community. Monash and the University of Melbourne rank in the top 20 biomedical universities in the world according to The Times Higher Educational Supplement. The couple will take up their appointments in 2008, with Professor Rosenthal initially serving on a part-time basis to establish the Institute and to help build European ties with Monash.

"Professor Rosenthal is internationally renowned for her work on the use of stem cells in muscle regeneration and heart repair, and Alan Sawyer is widely respected for his groundbreaking work in developing antibodies for basic medical research," said Mr. Brumby. "These appointments will help take Victoria's work in regenerative and medical research to the next platform, helping us achieve our goal of becoming one of the main five major biotechnology centers in the world." Regenerative medicine is emerging as one of the most promising areas in medical science. It is making great advances in repairing human tissue and organs by bringing together several scientific fields including stem cell research, molecular biology and tissue engineering.

Currently head of the mouse biology program at European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Monterotondo, Italy, Professor Rosenthal is researching how to improve the regenerative capacity of damaged muscle and heart tissues. She was involved in discovering the insulin gene years ago while at Harvard Medical School.

The $138 million Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute (ARMI) will be set up under stringent international standards to attract the world's best researchers, and to serve as a platform for increased collaboration with EMBL. "This Institute will enable researchers to develop better treatments faster and apply the promising world of regenerative medicine to many of the diseases associated with an aging population," said Mr. Brumby. The Victorian Government is providing $35 million towards the new institute.

Under Alan Sawyer's supervision, the Monoclonal Antibody Technologies Facility will provide antibodies needed by Victorian researchers and bio-pharmaceutical companies involved in drug development and pre-clinical testing. Initial projects will focus on making antibodies recognizing stem cell markers in collaboration with the Australian Stem Cell Center.

ARMI will adopt EMBL operating procedures and complementary programs to ensure exchange of scientists and collaborative research programs. "The European facility has contracts with large global commercial entities, and these will be continued and enhanced from the Monash base," said Mr. Brumby. "We expect to see a number of standalone companies emerging, particularly in the fields of diagnostics and bio-imaging as a result of technologies developed at the facility," he added.

The Victorian Government and Invitrogen will co-host the regenerative medicine track of sessions on stem cells on May 8th at Bio 2007. The track will include eight sessions covering issues from legislation to commercialization and opportunities. One of the sessions, "Stem cells: their importance to research and treatment," will include speakers from Victoria, Australia.

Professor Nadia Rosenthal

Professor Nadia Rosenthal is Head of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory's Outstation in Monterotondo [Rome], Italy. She moved to EMBL in 2001 from Harvard Medical School, where she directed a biomedical research laboratory at the Massachusetts General Hospital and served as an editor at the New England Journal of Medicine. Professor Rosenthal is a member of EMBO, and has been awarded the Ferrari-Soave Prize in Cell Biology. She currently holds a Professorship in Cardiovascular Science at Imperial College London and a visiting Professorship at the University of Western Australia.

Alan Sawyer

Alan Sawyer is head of a high-throughput core facility serving EMBL scientists, EMBO Young Investigators Program fellows and external clients including large pharmaceutical concerns. He serves on a number of scientific advisory and editorial boards. He has two patents pending and one granted for his methods for producing monoclonal antibodies.

Contact Information

  • Media Contact:
    Michelle Linn
    Linnden Communications
    Office: 508-419-1555
    Mobile: 774-696-3803
    Email Contact