Monash academic to head Victoria's Regenerative Medicine Institute

Published in Monash Memo, 9 May 2007


Professor Nadia Rosenthal, from the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, has been appointed to head Victoria's new Regenerative Medicine Institute.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Richard Larkins said Monash University was delighted to have attracted such an acknowledged leader in the area of cardiac muscle regeneration to head the Institute.

"Combined with the outstanding biomedical scientists at Monash University and the imminent commissioning of the Australian Synchrotron at Monash, this will ensure that the Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute will be one of the world's leading institutes of its type," Professor Larkins said.

Minister for Innovation, John Brumby, made the announcement at BIO 2007 in Boston on 8 May, ahead of Professor Rosenthal's participation in the Victorian Government sponsored regenerative medicine track of sessions on stem cells.

Mr Brumby said Professor Rosenthal's husband, Mr Alan Sawyer, from Monash University's Antibody Technology Facility, Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, had also been appointed to head Victoria's new Monoclonal Antibody Technologies Facility.

Both facilities are to be based at Monash University, cementing Monash as a centre of Biomedicine in the international medical research community.

"These top-level appointments will augment the leadership status Victoria already has in stem cell and regenerative medicine," Mr Brumby said.

"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.

"Regenerative medicine is emerging as one of the most promising areas in medical science making great advances in repairing human tissue and organs by bringing together several scientific fields including stem-cell research, molecular biology and tissue engineering.

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.

Prof Rosenthal is currently head of the mouse biology program at European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Monterotondo, Italy and was involved in discovering the insulin gene years ago while at Harvard Medical School.

"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 ageing population," Mr Brumby said.

Mr Brumby said the intellectual property and know-how of the existing EMBL facility would be directly transferred to the Melbourne-based facility, ensuring its world-leader status.

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