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Australian Stem Cell Research

Are you curious about stem cells and how they are used in research?

Follow the links below to find out more about how Australian stem cell scientists and clinicians are harnessing the potential of these unique cells.

sca Joel and Nadia at lab bench

Researchers from universities and medical research institutes across the country are working with industry and international colleagues to change the future of healthcare. Want to know more? Click on the links below:

little howden forbes

Mini-kidneys tell two sides of a genetic story

Professor Melissa Little, Dr Tom Forbes and Dr Sara Howden

Gene-editing technology combined with stem cells provides a powerful new way to study genetic kidney diseases and their treatments.

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munsie fahd

“Who will help me?"

Professor Megan Munsie and Saed Fahd

People suffering from serious illnesses are turning to unproven and risky stem cell therapies ingrowing numbers. Researchers are trying to understand how to provide better information and support.

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girolamo watson

Clearing corneas and restoring vision

Professors Nick Di Girolamo and Stephanie Watson

If disease or trauma depletes stem cell reservoirs in the eye's cornea, a rapid and painful loss of vision soon follows.

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bourne homman ludiye

Building tools for brain repair

Professor James Bourne and Dr Jihane Homman-Ludiye

Professor James Bourne and his team are laying the groundwork for using stem cell transplants to treat brain trauma with the discovery of an anti-scarring agent and new biomaterials to support transplanted cells.

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wolvetang gomez

Miniaturised stem cell laboratories

Professor Ernst Wolvetang and Cecilia Inclan Gomez

By pairing biology with engineering, two research groups are developing innovative ways to understand what happens in diseases associated with brain function.

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parish thompson

Towards stem cell therapies for Parkinson's diseas

Professor Clare Parish and A/ Professor Lachlan Thompson

A bioengineering approach that supports survival of cells trans-planted into the brain offers new hope of a treatment for Parkinson’s and other brain diseases.

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harvey dorison

Pathways to heart repair

Professor Richard Harvey and Dr Aude Dorison

New insights delivered by two Australian research teams puts heart research on the fast track to the clinic.

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ramialison salimova

How to mend a broken heart

Dr Mirana Ramialison and Dr Ekaterina Salimova

Dr Mirana Ramialison and her colleagues are  trying to determine what makes a stem cell  a stem cell. It is a quest that might unlock  solutions to congenital heart disease.

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laslett goodwin

The plentiful promise of the pluripotent

Associate Professor Andrew Laslett and Dr Jacob Goodwin

The potential of using stem cells to treat injury  and disease is often loudly proclaimed, with justification. But culturing stem cell lines carries risks—a fact less often mentioned.

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Using stem cells in the brain to combat MS

Dr Toby Merson

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is the most common neurological disease in young adults, and globally the number of cases is increasing, according to  a recent report in The Lancet.

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nilsson cao

Expanding horizons for stem cell transplants

Professor Susie Nilsson and Dr Ben Cao

A new blood stimulation procedure may provide a faster, pain-free way for stem cell donors to help save lives of cancer patients.

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polo knaupp

Understanding and controlling cell reprogramming

Professor Jose Polo and Dr Anja Knaupp

Professor Jose Polo has made the technicalities of converting one cell type into another vastly more accessible, launching a start-up company in the process.

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abud jarde

Having the guts to make a difference

Associate Professor Helen Abud and Dr Thierry Jarde

A functional intestinal system is essential for  life but is also vulnerable to disease. Professor Helen Abud and her collaborators have devised  an ingenious method of studying the specialised cells in the gut and what goes wrong when  damage occurs or cancer is initiated.

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poutin haynes

Enlisting the brain’s immune cells to fight MS

Professor Colin Pouton and Dr John Haynes

Specialist cleaning cells in the brain play a key role in neuro degenerative diseases, and they may also hold the secret to new treatments for the likes of MS and Alzheimer’s.

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chong thavapalachandran

A heart-felt desire to advance stem cell science

A/Professor James Chong and Dr Sujitha Thavapalachandran

“It would be great to see what we have learned from stem cell research and stem cell science  being applied in mainstream cardiology practice,” says Associate Professor James Chong.

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wells rajab

Big data points the way to custom stem cells

Professor Christine Wells and Nadia Rajab

Analysing big data helps discover what makes stem cells tick enabling ways to predict cell behaviour and even create custom immune cells.

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elefanty stanley ng

Making the right cells from stem cells

Professors Andrew Elefanty and Ed Stanley and Elizabeth Ng

A powerhouse trio of laboratories is refining the way of making blood and heart cells, bringing future therapies closer to reality.

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Fixing hearts by finding out what makes them tick

A/Professor Enzo Porello

You can learn a lot about hearts by trying to build one from scratch. A pair of scientists have grown ‘beating’ human heart muscle tissue from stem cells and are exploring cardiac regeneration.

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pebay lidgerwood

Seeing eye disease clearly with robotics

Professor Alice Pebay and Dr Grace Lidgerwood

Induced pluripotent stem cells combined with state-of-the-art robotics offers new insights into eye disease.

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palpant sinniah

Studying heart development one cell at a time

Dr Nathan Palpant and Enakshi Sinniah

Examining how individual heart cells develop is revealing how they make decisions to form a working heart.

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mar fard

Discoveries hidden in big data

A/Professor Jess Mar and Dr Ati Fard

One way of looking at the complexities of the human genome is to turn it into a computer  print-out, an approach that produces what is  known as a ‘transcriptome’.

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poewll neavin

Studying heart development one cell at a time

A/Professor Joseph Powell and Drew Neavin

Examining how individual heart cells develop is revealing how they make decisions to form a working heart.

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oconnor shparberg

Micro-lenses bring new cataract treatments in sigh

Drs Michael O'Connor and Rachel Sharpberg

Stem cells are being used to rapidly test and improve treatments for cataracts, thanks to an innovative solution

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How has the Australian Government supported stem cell research?

Stem cell science has been a strength within Australian biomedical research for many decades and remains a leading contributor to global efforts to harness the potential of stem cells for new ways to diagnose and treat diseases, injury and illnesses. The Australian Government has long recognised this potential and provided support through special initiatives.

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In addition to providing funding through competitive project grants and fellowships administered by Australian Research Council and National Health and Medical Research Council, the Australian Government has also supported a series of stem cell initiatives.

The Australian Stem Cell Centre (2003–2010)

This initial major collaborative initiative linked leading academic researchers from across the country with the biotechnology industry. It was founded as part of the National Biotechnology Centre of Excellence and received about $100 million from the Australian Government through the Backing Australia’s Ability scheme I and II in addition to $10 million from the State Government of Victoria’s Science Technology & Innovation program.

Stem Cells Australia (2011–2019)

The Australian Government provided $24 million through the Australian Research Council’s Special Research Initiative scheme to supported over 300 researchers across 14 Australian universities and medical research institutes to the fundamentals of stem cell biology and how to harness the potential of these cells for new diagnostic, therapeutic and biotechnological applications. Find out more about ‘Our history’.

MRFF Future Fund Accelerating Research Program (2018–2021)

In 2018 the Australian Government announced $3 million to support national teams of experts to take stem cell research from the laboratory into the clinic to develop new treatments and cures for debilitating conditions, in areas of identified unmet need as part of the Emerging Priorities and Consumer-Driven Research initiative under the Medical Research Futures Fund 10-year plan. Click here to find out more.

MRFF Stem Cells Therapies Mission (2019–2028)

The Stem Cell Therapies Mission research funding program that will invest $150 million over 9 years to develop innovative, safe and effective treatments accessible to all Australians who need them. The first round of grants were awarded in 2020. More information can be found on the Department of Health website.

Where can I find out more about stem cell research in Australia?

Stem cell research in Australian universities, medical research institutes and the biotechnology industry is also supported through initiatives led by the following organisations. Click on the logos below to learn more.


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