Training the next generation of entrepreneurial scientists
ARMI partners with Monash University’s Global Challenges Program
The Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute (ARMI) is working with Monash University’s Bachelor of Science Advanced – Global Challenges (Honours) course to deliver the next generation of entrepreneurial scientists.
Students from the Global Challenges course are undertaking a specialist industry focused research project with ARMI scientists and the Universities Food Innovation Centre. The partnership provides the opportunity for these students to work with industry and a research institute to tackle real world problems.
Dr Alasdair Wood, a Research Fellow from ARMI’s Currie Group is one of the senior scientists working with the students at ARMI this year. ‘Students participating in the Global Challenges course are encouraged to use science to influence business, government, the not-for-profit sector and the wider community’ explained Alasdair.
‘One of the greatest challenges in science is to be able to convert a discovery in the lab into something tangible for society, be it a product or a medicine’ says Dr Wood. This year’s project is truly unique, with students aspiring to produce a food concept that will deliver the benefits of regenerative medicine for soft tissue injury during exercise. ‘The partnership is about getting students to achieve a better outcome for all stakeholders, and understanding that there are many benefits to be had.’ explained Alasdiar. He added ‘while we (ARMI) can do the science for the active ingredient, we are not as experienced at communicating this product as a brand’.
Scientists at ARMI are investigating the myotendinous junction, or muscle soft tissue development. Utilising gene editing technologies with zebrafish, they use what is best described as molecular scissors. This technique allows them to identify important sections of DNA, in this case relevant to healing. The zebrafish provides many advantages, allowing the scientists to follow tendon development from a very early age, which in other models would not be possible. ‘It is this type of science that we are incorporating into the protein snack being developed by the Global Challenges students’ says Alasdiar.
‘Delivering regenerative medicine to the public is at the centre of ARMI’s core mission and this project utilises both smart collaborations and the creativity of the next wave of entrepreneurs to deliver’ said ARMI’s Director of External Strategy and Planning Mr Silvio Tiziani. ‘If successful, this project will bring investment into ARMI, the Food Innovation Centre and create jobs’ continued Mr Tiziani.
Last year’s Global Challenges students worked with ARMI scientists and The Social Science to create a 24-hour crowd funding campaign, raising much needed funds for a qPCR Machine for research in Muscular Dystrophy. The campaign raised $16,955 during the 24-hour campaign plus an additional donation of a second aPCR machine. Read the full story here and here.
For project information, contact:
Dr Alasdair Wood
Research Fellow, Currie Group
(03) 9902 9724