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Announcing RMI2 The Regenerative Medicine Industry Interface

Regenerative Medicine 

  • An emerging field of medical science, regenerative medicine incorporates the use of cells, factors, and other biological building blocks, along with bioengineered materials and technologies for widespread clinical applications.
  • Applications of focus include neurodegenerative disorders, diabetes, arthritis, musculo-skeletal targets and cardiovascular diseases.
  • The regenerative medicine global market is valued at around $16.4 billion and is predicted to grow 23.2% a year, reaching approximately $65.5 billion in 2020, largely driven by technological advancements in stem cell and tissue engineering therapy.
  •  As one of the world’s largest regenerative medicine and stem cell research hubs, the Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute (ARMI) in partnership with Monash and Melbourne Universities, the BioMelbourne Network and Industry Partners, will establish a consortium that secures opportunities in Australia through research excellence, highly skilled workforce and a globally connected platform for commercialisation and investment.

The Regenerative Medicine Industry Interface (RMI2) is a consortium that brings together

  • Basic and applied research capability (Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute at Monash University, CSIRO, The University of Melbourne) together with industry and networking associations (BioMelbourne Network, BioMedVic, AusBiotech) and an international technology transfer hub in partnership with the regenerative medicine industry.
  • Access to high calibre research students through the Monash University Graduate Research Industry Program (GRIP) for PhD students and Monash University Business School for Executive MBA students. 
  • Commercialisation expertise and international access through a satellite hub of the Centre for Commercialisation of Regenerative Medicine (CCRM).

Indicative programs:

  • Training program: workshops and professional development activities across the network 
  • Supportive/productive industry academic interaction
  • Support for international connections 
    • Bringing together participants to collaborate with multinationals 
  • Drive sector towards best practice in sector innovation 
  • Collaboration on demonstration projects for manufacturing innovation: product & process development/improvement projects 

Industry-based PhD programs

Strategies to enhance the immunomodulatory capacity of mesenchymal stem cells 

Company: Regeneus Ltd

Supervisors: Dr Tracy Heng (Monash University), Professor Laurence Meagher (Monash University), Dr Graham Vesey (Regeneus Ltd).

Background: Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have shown great therapeutic potential as a versatile cell therapy product and are being used to treat a broad range of inflammatory disease conditions. Although predominantly known for their anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive properties, MSCs can also promote immune responses under certain conditions. Understanding how to manipulate this unique dual function of MSCs is key to broadening their clinical use to boost immune responses, e.g. in vaccines.

Project aims: To develop strategies to manipulate the immune-modifying properties of MSCs and investigate their capacity to enhance vaccine-specific responses.

Techniques: This Project will utilise techniques applicable to both stem cell research and immunology, including stem cell isolation, cell/tissue culture, multi-lineage differentiation assays, flow cytometry, in vivo T cell assays, cytokine ELISPOT and multiplex assays, serum antibody ELISA, disease models etc.

Ideal candidate: This is an exceptional opportunity to work in close partnership with an Australian regenerative medicine company. The Project will suit a highly motivated candidate with an immunology background, who is interested in translational research in a cross-disciplinary academic setting with strong industry links. The PhD candidate will conduct some parts of the research program interstate at the laboratory of our industry partner.

For all questions, and information on how to apply, contact Dr Tracy Heng via tracy.heng@monash.edu

Applications close November 30th 5 pm AEDT. 

Exceptional PhD candidates will be granted the equivalent to a RTP Stipend (formerly Australian Postgraduate Award), 2017 rate A$26,682 p.a. for three years.

Analysis of Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell-Derived Mesenchymal Stem Cells Compared to Tissue-Derived MSCs

Company: Cynata Therapeutics Limited

Supervisors: Dr Jessica Frith (Monash University), Dr Rebecca Lim (Monash University/Hudson), Dr Kilian Kelly (Cynata Therapeutics)

Background: Mesenchymal stem cells are multipotent stem cells that can differentiate into a number of cells of the mesodermal lineage such as bone, cartilage and fat cells. They have enormous clinical potential, particularly because they also have immunosuppressive and immunomodulatory properties which can aid tissue regeneration. For example, a range of clinical trials are currently underway in immune-mediated diseases such as graft versus host disease, Crohns disease and osteoarthritis. These cells also have application in the treatment of cardiovascular disease (congestive heart failure and myocardial infarction) as they readily migrate to sites of inflammation and release agents which have potent effects on the innate and adaptive immune systems. Finally, these cells can be used to treat musculoskeletal injuries such as fractures and cartilage defects.

Due to the limited supply of these cells from donors and the difficulties of generating large numbers of cells in a manufacturing process, there is significant interest in generating MSCs from more primitive cell types that can be generated essentially indefinitely, such as embryonic stem cells or induced pluripotent stem cells. As a result, a number of groups have been working towards the aim of creating well-defined mesenchymal cells using a range of published differentiation protocols. A question that arises is whether the cells generated from pluripotent cell sources are equivalent to native mesenchymal stem cells in terms of phenotype and therapeutic effects. Part of the difficulty here is that the MSC phenotype is not well defined and the term mesenchymal stem cell probably refers to a heterogeneous cell population.

In this project, we will directly compare the characteristics of human tissue-derived MSCs to those of hMSC-like cells derived from pluripotent stem cell sources with respect to their surface antigen and gene expression profiles, differentiation potential, immunomodulatory and paracrine activity and understand the mechanisms underlying any differences (for example gene expression, secretory profiles).

For all questions, and information on how to apply, contact Dr Jessica Frith via jessica.frith@monash.edu

Applications close November 30th 5 pm AEDT. 

Exceptional PhD candidates will be granted the equivalent to a RTP Stipend (formerly Australian Postgraduate Award), 2017 rate A$26,682 p.a. for three years.

More information

Download our brochure on the right hand side of this page.

Silvio Tiziani, Convenor
silvio.tiziani@monash.edu, 0418536209

Michelle Gallaher, Communications
michelle@thesocialscience.com.au, 0417784856

Matt Nussio, Lead Facilitator
matthew.nussio@monash.edu, 0437563160

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