News & events
The 2016 School of Personalised Immunology was held on the 23-24 July at the Translational Research Facility, Monash Health Translation Precinct in Clayton, Melbourne. Students, clinicians and medical students from hospitals and research institutes in Melbourne attended the School, co-convened by Professor David Fulcher and Dr Julia Ellyard.
The one and a half-day course covered genomics, from basic genomics to advance bioinformatics and the latest techniques used in exome and genome sequencing. It included a half-day workshop where attendees were given the opportunity to put theoretical knowledge into practice. There was also discussion on the ethical implications and issues involved in the integration of genome sequencing in medicine.
The program, organised and run by the CPI, emphasised the various disciplines involved and the challenges facing the future of genomic medicine.
A copy of the preliminary program can be found here.
An article highlighting the extensive work of Professor Carola Vinuesa and her team investigating the role of genetics in autoimmune diseases at the Centre for Personalised Immunology has been published online in Stories of Australian Science. This is an annual publication produced by Science in Public containing a collection of stories covering “Australian discovery, innovation, invention and research” of the past year.
It will be included in the annual Stories of Australian Science 2016 to be published later this year.
To read the full article please head to Stories of Australian Science’s website.
We are pleased to announce that one of our Chief Investigators, Professor David Fulcher, along with our Co-directors, Professors Carola Vinuesa and Matthew Cook will be presenting a public lecture on Genetics and Immune Diseases at the Translational Research Facility, Monash Health Translation Precinct in July (details below).
The immune system is what protects our bodies from disease and infection. However, in some people this system breaks down and can cause what are collectively known as immune-related diseases. These include autoimmune diseases (eg. lupus) where the immune systems attacks healthy tissue and immune deficiencies (eg. primary immunedeficiency) where part of the immune system is completely absent. Recent advances in gene technology has improved our understanding of the major role a person's genome plays in immune diseases.
In this lecture, Professors Fulcher, Vinuesa and Cook will provide a general overview of how the immune system works, discuss the important role of genetics and the implications for human health.
Most people are familiar with the idea of donating blood to help people who need life-saving transfusions or regular blood products, but what you might not know is that you can also donate blood for medical research.
Donating blood for research allows us to compare white blood cells (immune cells) of healthy people to those from people with disease. To do this we need blood samples from healthy donors.
The CPI is proud to announce the commencement of the Healthy Blood Donor Scheme, which allows eligible healthy people in the wider community to donate blood that will directly contribute to our research.
Current locations for donations (by prior arrangement) are:
Canberra Clinical Genomics will be a partnership between ANU and ACT Health and will work to cure patients with complex diseases by sequencing their genome and finding treatments that are personalised to their condition.
The Director of the Centre, Professor Matthew Cook, from the ANU Medical School and The John Curtin School of Medical Research, said the new centre would make a real difference to patient lives.
"This enables doctors and researchers to collaborate to implement what is truly 21st Century medicine," Professor Cook said.
First announced by the ANU Vice Chancellor last December, The Elizabeth Greene PhD Scholarship is a full time three year full fee waiver scholarship for international students, and will encourage research into understanding systemic autoimmune diseases, of which Lupus is the prototype.
The Scholarship has been established through the generosity of Mr Peter Yates and his family, in memory of Ms Elizabeth Greene.
The CPI and the Australian Phenomics Facility held a morning tea at the John Curtin School for Medical Research, ANU, Canberra on 29 February 2016 to show our support for Rare Disease Day.
“A rare disease is any disorder or condition that is a life-threatening or chronically debilitating disease, which is statistically rare. There are more than 8,000 rare diseases. Many have no formal title and are difficult to diagnose. Collectively, rare diseases are surprisingly common affecting an estimated 6-8% of the Australian population.” (Extract from Rare Voices Australia Fact Sheet)
This year's theme was Patient Voice recognising the crucial role that patients play in voicing their needs and in instigating change that improves their lives and the lives of their families and carers.
Rare Disease Day amplifies the voice of rare disease patients to that they are heard all over the world.
All proceeds raised were donated to Rare Voices Australia.
You can read about our research on finding the genetic causes of lupus and the search for better treatments in the feature article in the January issue of Lab+Life Scientist.
The article highlights CPI’s ability to prove genetic variants identified through whole exome sequencing, are the cause of a person’s immunological disease. This causal link would not be possible without the use of CRISPR/Cas9 (pronounced “crisper cas nine”) gene technology to generate unique mouse models of disease.
Read the full feature article through the Isuu website.
If you want to read more about the patient with a mutation in the TREX1 gene that was published in Arthritis & Rheumatology.