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New $35 million research centre to unlock the power of proteins

Monday, 28 October 2019


Edith Cowan University researchers will work with a team of national and international experts to unlock the potential of proteins and peptides – the essential building blocks of life - within Australian flora and fauna.

The research is part of the new $35 million Australian Research Council (ARC) Centre of Excellence for Innovations in Peptide and Protein Science announced by Federal Minister for Education Dan Tehan MP.

Peptides and proteins carry out almost all biological functions of life and contain huge amounts of complex information which is compressed into the cells of living organisms.

Unlocking that information, understanding it and harnessing it for human benefit will be the prime focus of the new centre.

Research will focus on uncovering proteins and peptides from Australia's diverse plants and wildlife, which could lead to improvements in the food industry, pharmaceuticals and ecofriendly bio-pesticides.

The teams behind the centre have a track record of success, having developed ecofriendly bio-pesticides from the venom of spiders and potential antibiotics from the milk of koalas and Tasmanian devils.

The centre will be based at the University of Queensland and will include researchers from Edith Cowan University, Australian National University, Monash University, Queensland University of Technology and University of Sydney.

Implications for human health

ECU's Professor of Food and Agricultural Proteomics Michelle Colgrave will lead the University's contribution to the centre and said her team was proud to be a part of such an innovative endeavour.

"Nature has gifted peptides and proteins with an untapped potential that we're hoping to exploit as part of research within this Centre of Excellence," she said

"Harnessing the potential of proteins will deliver impact for the health of our society, the health of our environment and benefit our economy."

Professor Colgrave and her team will provide proteomic and peptidomic support to the new centre through ECU's Proteomics Facility.

She'll deliver the final ECU Lecture Series on December 5 explaining how proteomics could benefit Australia's food and agriculture industries and improve human health.

The Centre of Excellence for Innovations in Peptide and Protein Science will also include 20 academic and industry partner organisations from Australia, Europe, Asia and America.

More information about the ARC Centres of Excellence program is on the ARC website.


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