Peter Mac clinician scientist Professor Mark Dawson will advance understanding of a key driver of gene expression thanks to a $515,000 grant from the Australian Research Council.

Prof Dawson, who is also Professor at the University of Melbourne’s Centre of Cancer Research, will use the funds to study “transcription factors” which play a fundamental role in gene expression.

Also in this ARC funding round, Peter Mac’s Associate Professor Belinda Parker is part of a team - led by La Trobe University's Professor Brian Abbey - which secured $274,000 to further develop a novel slide technology. The slide can automatically highlight cancer cells without the need for manual staining.

ARC Chief Executive Professor Sue Thomas said in total $258.6 million was allocated to 587 projects by outstanding individuals and teams in this funding round.

“The aim of the Discovery Projects scheme is to support excellent basic and applied research and research training; promote national and international research collaboration; and enhance the scale and focus of research in Australian Government priority areas,” Prof Thomas said.

“This investment will see expanded knowledge base and research capacity in Australia, and economic, commercial, environmental, social and or cultural returns for Australia.”

See the full list of 2022 Discovery Partnership grant recipients.

Peter Mac recipients and their latest ARC funded projects

Professor Mark Dawson - $515,698

A change in gene expression underpins all cell fate decisions yet there is scant knowledge about how transcription factors, the master regulators of transcription, specifically interact with some, but not all, transcription cofactors to nuance gene expression. Investigating this process is important to understand every biological process in plants and animals driven by a specific gene expression programs. This project will increase our biological knowledge in transcription control and we believe that the knowledge gained will have broad implications for health, biotechnology and industry.

Associate Professor Belinda Parker with La Trobe University’s Professor Brian Abbey and Dr Eugeniu Balaur - $274,673

This proposal aims to combine recent advances in metamaterials and quantitative phase imaging to probe the near-surface refractive index properties of cells and tissues. The proposed technique delivers orders of magnitude improvement in terms of sensitivity over conventional phase contrast microscopy and will be used to provide new insights into the molecular basis for disease. This project will result in a new approach to stain-free, label free, tissue characterisation that will benefit a diverse range of applications in biological imaging and aid in the development of this nanotechnology platform into a long-term, sustainable business for Australia.


For more information contact the Peter Mac Communications team on 0417 123 048.

About Peter Mac

Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre is a world-leading cancer research, education and treatment centre and Australia’s only public health service solely dedicated to caring for people affected by cancer.