16 October 2003

Determining the structures and functions of new proteins with exciting pharmaceutical and agricultural applications is just one of UQ's Institute for Molecular Bioscience's (IMB) research projects boosted in the latest round of Australian Research Council (ARC) funding announced yesterday (15/10/03).

IMB researchers were successful in three ARC categories attracting over $5.2 million (seven Discovery Projects, two Linkage projects and one Linkage - Infrastructure Equipment and Facilities Project grant).

Professor David Craik was the recipient of $350,000 per year for five years for his work on proteins with pharmaceutical applications.

Professor Craik said his research project would use new approaches in chemistry, biochemistry and molecular biology to learn more about several families of circular proteins.

"Circular proteins differ from conventional proteins in that they have no ends: their termini are seamlessly joined, thereby making them exceptionally stable and resistant to enzyme digestion," Professor Craik said.

"In conjunction with Associate Professor Marilyn Anderson from La Trobe University we aim to increase our knowledge of circular proteins which will facilitate their applications in drug design and in the development of novel insecticides," he said.

Head of IMB-CSIRO Livestock Industries joint Proteomics Laboratory Professor Jeff Gorman is confident the purchasing of advanced high through-put mass spectrometry equipment, as a result of a successful LIEF grant, will enhance collaborations between teams from The University of Sydney and Queensland University of Technology. This instrumentation is critical to maintaining Australia's high international profile in this area of research.

IMB Deputy-Director (Research) Professor Brandon Wainwright said this round of ARC funding was very successful for IMB and further boosted the Institute's capabilities to undertake globally important research in the biosciences.

"The number of successful grants reflects the breadth of IMB's research excellence and it is particularly gratifying to note the high level of collaboration between IMB and other research organisations," Professor Wainwright said.

"Our success in Linkage grants also demonstrates IMB's ability to forge real industry partnerships and is due to the expertise of our in-house commercialisation team IMBcom working in tandem with the Institute's researchers."

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