Celebrating International Women’s Day

March 8th marks International Women’s Day, a global celebration of the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. This year’s theme is “Choose to Challenge,” which encourages everyone to challenge gender bias and inequality and create a more inclusive world.

In the field of Science, women have made significant contributions, from Marie Curie’s groundbreaking research on radioactivity to Rosalind Franklin’s crucial role in the discovery of the structure of DNA.  Today, women continue to make important contributions to scientific fields, including immunology, which is the focus of the Rossjohn Lab.

Women in the Rossjohn lab are driving forward our understanding of the immune system, and their work is essential to the advancement of scientific knowledge. We commend the efforts of our women from undergraduate and graduate students, exchange and scholarship students, research assistants, research fellows, group leaders, administrative staff, managers and artist in residence.

We acknowledge that women still face significant challenges in the Sciences, such as the gender pay gap, fellowship and grant successes, lack of representation in leadership positions, and bias and discrimination. To address these challenges, we sat down over some coffee and snacks, interacting and networking.  We hope it will help to foster a supportive lab community where we can look to each other for help and guidance and increase the visibility of women in Science.

As we celebrate International Women’s Day, it’s important to remember that there is still much work to be done to ensure gender equality in Science and beyond. By supporting and championing women in Science, we can help create a more diverse and inclusive scientific community that benefits us all. Let us continue to celebrate the achievements of women in Science and work together to break down the barriers that still exist. By doing so, we can create a more equitable and just world for everyone. Happy International Women’s Day.



Congrats to our newly appointed BDI Group Leaders: Wael, Jan and Adam

Monash BDI announce new Group Leaders

Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute (BDI) is excited to announce 13 newly selected Group Leaders. These Group Leaders are part of a program created by Monash BDI to help early career researchers (ECRs) bridge the gap between senior postdoctoral fellow and independent lab head.

Professor Dena Lyras, Deputy Director at the Monash BDI, said that this program provides recognition and additional career momentum for researchers who are leading novel, cutting-edge research programs and developing their independence.

“Congratulations to all of the newly selected Group Leaders. This is a testament to the hard work and dedication of these researchers, and we look forward to seeing their next steps and achievements,” said Professor Lyras.

Congratulations to the newly selected Monash BDI Group Leaders:

Dr Wael Awad seeks to elucidate the mechanistic basis underpinning metabolite capture and loading of the MHC class I-related molecule “MR1” by cellular chaperones, by using cutting-edge molecular, immunological and biochemical approaches. He also explores the scope of environmental and microbial metabolites that can modulate human T cell immunity. Such studies pave the way for the development of innovative therapeutics based on selective modulation of T cell immunity.

Dr Jan Petersen’s research focuses on antimicrobial immunity and natural killer (NK) cell immunity. He investigates how T cells and NK cells recognise microbial peptide antigens presented by major histocompatibility complex (MHC) molecules, and aims to decipher the molecular mechanisms that define the ability of the adaptive immune system to distinguish between self and foreign. Focused on events central to infection and immunity, his work is aimed at understanding outcomes in various diseases and transplantation.

Dr Adam Shahine is focused on the molecular roles of lipids in the regulation and dysregulation of human adaptive immunity. Using structural biology, he seeks to investigate the mechanisms of lipid antigen recycling, and the presentation of lipid antigens by CD1 antigen presenting molecule family T cells.

Dr Deepak Adhikari aims to gain a better understanding of how mitochondria are formed and how they regulate the development of eggs and offspring.

Dr Asolina Braun aims to understand what initially causes psoriasis and hence to discover new treatments for this skin disease. Her research is focused on finding peptides that trigger and set off the detrimental immune response in psoriasis.

Dr Luke Formosa investigates how mitochondrial enzymes are built from their individual subunits, and how this process is disrupted in mitochondrial disease. One in 5,000 children will develop a mitochondrial disease, but about one-third of patients won’t have a genetic diagnosis. By discovering new genes that play a role in this process, the diagnosis of patients can be improved, paving the way for new treatments for this disease.

Dr Meiling Han’s research targets antibiotic resistance, focusing on the mechanism(s) underpinning the extensive membrane remodelling that occurs in Gram-negative bacteria and the interactions between remodelled bacterial membranes and membrane-targeting antimicrobials (e.g. lipopeptides). The fundamental mechanistic information that she generates will greatly inform the future design of much-needed antibiotics against antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Dr Anja Knaupp’s research centres on characterising cell-type-specific sets of proteins and determining how they operate. Insight into these molecular mechanisms and drivers is key for our understanding of cellular identity and changes that, for example, occur during cancer development.

Dr Rachael Lappan aims to understand the nature and basis of microbial life in the atmosphere, the largest but most unexplored potential ecosystem on Earth. Using cutting-edge molecular and biogeochemical approaches, she aims to identify true microbial residents of the atmosphere, understand their mechanisms for survival in this environment and explore their role in seeding newly formed environments.

Dr Kate McArthur’s research uses a variety of microscopy and cell biology techniques to understand the mechanisms behind, and immune responses to, mitochondrial changes and aberrant cell death during disease.

Dr Nitin Patil is investigating peptide- and oligonucleotide-based antimicrobial drug development and delivery.

Dr Francesca Short combines genomic and molecular microbiology approaches to understand bacterial behaviour and adaptation. Her current research focuses on how bacteria control the production of virulence factors during infection and on how common disinfectants can compromise antibiotic efficacy.

Dr Yogitha Srikhanta investigates strategies that bacterial gut pathogens employ to proliferate, cause disease and survive, with a focus on antibiotic resistance and epigenetic-mediated gene regulation.

Original article


Congrats Ben on the award of the Future Leader Postdoctoral Fellowship

Monash BDI success in Faculty fellowships

Six postdoctoral researchers from the Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute (BDI) have received fellowships in two separate schemes offered by the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences (MNHS).

These awards will support outstanding early career researchers at key points in their careers. This opportunity allows them to continue to pursue their chosen research programs in areas as diverse as understanding gene regulation in prostate cancer, identifying the molecular determinants of immune cell recognition and treating antimicrobial resistant infections.

Congratulations to Dr Sue Nang, Dr Gaofeng Ni and Dr Evan Healy on receiving a Faculty Early Career Postdoctoral Fellowship.

The Early Career Postdoctoral Fellowship (formerly Bridging Postdoctoral Fellowship) provides funding to support the career development of final year PhD students and early career researchers while they apply for externally funded fellowships.

The Future Leader Postdoctoral Fellowships (formerly Senior Postdoctoral Fellowships) are targeted at outstanding candidates who have clear potential to be successful in external career fellowship schemes.

Three Future Leader Postdoctoral Fellowships were awarded to Monash BDI’s Dr Anja Knaupp, Dr Benjamin Gully and Dr Natalie Lister.

Original article


Congrats Ben on your successful ARC discovery grant

Monash BDI awarded more than $7m in ARC funding

In the latest round of Australian Research Council (ARC) funding, Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute (BDI) researchers have been awarded 14 Discovery Project grants, worth more than $7 million.

The funded projects are expected to advance knowledge in a range of areas, from understanding why it is that mammalian eggs have so much mitochondrial DNA to defining how signalling pathways regulate organ size, extracting energy from air and many more innovative research projects.

Announced last week, the ARC’s Chief Executive Officer, Ms Judi Zielke PSM, said that the Discovery Projects scheme supports individual researchers or research teams to innovate and build the ‘new’ knowledge essential for a knowledge-based economy.

Monash University ranked third in the ARC Discovery Projects scheme (DP23).

Professor John Carroll, Director of the Monash BDI, said that the outstanding results speak to the high calibre of researchers at the Institute, and illustrate the strength of BDI’s research initiatives.

“This is an incredible result, demonstrating our ability to deliver positive impact globally through fundamental discovery research. Congratulations to all of our researchers who have been successful at securing this highly competitive funding,” Professor Carroll said.

“I’d also like to thank the ARC for this funding, and to say that our researchers appreciate the timely release of these funding outcomes.”

“It was an incredibly competitive year, and commiserations go to those who missed out,” he said.

Congratulations to the following Monash BDI researchers, who are leading projects that received ARC DP23 funding:

Dr Benjamin Gully
Project title: In depth characterisation of the gamma delta T cell immune synapse

Dr Deepak Adhikari
Project title: Understanding why mammalian eggs have so much mitochondrial DNA

Dr Peter Boag
Project title: Biomolecular condensates in mRNA-regulation in germ cells

Professor John Carroll
Project title: How are sperm mitochondria eliminated after fertilisation

Dr Alex Combes
Project title: Imaging mammalian organogenesis with adaptive optics

Associate Professor Fasséli Coulibaly
Project title: The viral fusosome: a modular machinery for cargo delivery to target cells

Professor Mariapia Degli-Esposti
Project title: Defining novel immune checkpoints controlled by stromal cells

Professor Chris Greening
Project title: Extracting energy from air: mechanism of a bacterial hydrogenase

Dr Rhys Grinter
Project title: Hitting bacteria with a Bam: lectin-Like antimicrobials as new antibiotics

Professor Kieran Harvey
Project title: Defining how signalling pathways cooperate to regulate organ size

Professor Nicole La Gruta
Project title: The role of Lck/CD8 association in negatively regulating T cell activation

Emeritus Professor Helena Parkington
Project title: Understanding uterine contractility for reducing newborn lamb mortality

Professor Stephen Turner
Project title: Visualising chromatin changes in 3 dimensions: super to ultra resolution

Associate Professor Lee Wong
Project title: Histone H3.3-dependent transcriptional control and B cell differentiation

Original article

Jamie on the Clarivate’s list of Highly Cited Researchers for 2022 (that’s 5 consecutive years).

Monash academics named among the global top one per cent

Twenty Monash University researchers have been named as the world’s most influential academics in their fields as part of Clarivate’s list of Highly Cited Researchers for 2022.

The annual list identifies global research scientists and social scientists among the world’s top one per cent of researchers who have published the highest number of peer-reviewed scientific papers cited by other researchers in their work.

Two Monash University researchers from the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical SciencesFaculty Dean Professor Arthur Christopoulos and Professor Patrick Sexton, were recognised among only 218 researchers globally across two fields: Biology and Biochemistry, and Pharmacology and Toxicology.

The Highly Cited Researchers 2022 list uses both quantitative and qualitative analysis to identify individuals from across the globe who have demonstrated significant and broad influence in their chosen field or fields of research.

The preliminary list of Highly Cited Researchers is drawn from the highly cited papers that rank in the top one per cent by citations for field and publication year in the Web of Science citation index over the past decade.

The methodology that determines the “who’s who” of influential researchers draws on the data and analysis performed by bibliometric experts and data scientists at Clarivate.

Clarivate recognised 7,225 researchers from 69 countries this year. Australia is ranked 5th globally for highly cited researchers, with 337 people on the list, representing 4.7 per cent of the total list. Clarivate notes this is remarkable for a country the size of Australia with 25 million people.

Monash University Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) and Senior Vice-President Professor Rebekah Brown said the prestigious list demonstrates the University’s broad research capacity.

“This is global recognition of the exceptional influence and impact of Monash researchers. Not only does Monash have a wide range of disciplines represented on the list, but also those whose work crosses multiple disciplines.”

“We are proud to have so many researchers named in the top one per cent globally and this speaks to the quality of our researchers’ work, their collaborations and the influence they have in their fields.”

List of Highly Cited Researchers – Monash University

Rinaldo Bellomo Clinical Medicine
Rachelle Buchbinder Social Sciences
Peter A. Cawood Geosciences
Arthur Christopoulos Biology and Biochemistry
Arthur Christopoulos Pharmacology and Toxicology
Alex Fornito Neuroscience and Behavior
Peter R. Gibson Cross-Field
Kathryn E. Holt Microbiology
Douglas R. MacFarlane Cross-Field
Charles R. Mackay Immunology
Jamie Rossjohn Immunology
Patrick M. Sexton Biology and Biochemistry
Patrick M. Sexton Pharmacology and Toxicology
Huanting Wang Cross-Field
Mark E. Cooper Cross-Field
Jian Li Cross-Field
Laurence Macia Cross-Field
Stefan A. Maier Cross-Field
Paresh K. Narayan Economics and Business
Russell Smyth Economics and Business
Natalie L. Trevaskis Pharmacology and Toxicology
Murat Yücel Cross-Field