Congratulations Erica – Finalist of the Falling Walls Science Breakthroughs of the Year – Science in the Arts

The Falling Walls Science Breakthroughs of the Year ( 1-10 November) will highlight breakthrough thinking from around the world. Over the past months, they have received over 900 nominations from 111 countries.

They are delighted to introduce the finalists and present their science breakthroughs of the year in these ten categories: Life Sciences, Physical Sciences, Engineering & Technology, Social Sciences and Humanities, Science in the Arts, Digital Education, Science and Innovation Management, Emerging Talents, Science Start-Ups, Science Engagement Initiatives.

Breaking the Wall of Disabled Access to Science – Erica Tandori (Artist in residence, Rossjohn lab, Monash university)

Lying at the intersection between art, science and blindness, Tandori’s exhibitions use interactive sculptures to engage and inspire audiences of all ages and abilities. Her breakthrough is making art and science exhibitions inclusive, accessible and available to everyone globally.

Tags: Artificial Intelligence, Discrimination, Diversity, Education, Science Communication

Watch Erica’s presentation of her breakthrough below:

Erica Tandori is a legally blind artist, researcher and academic. She explores the intersections of art, vision loss and science. Tandori’s PhD focused on capturing the entoptic effects of her retinal disease through art, conveying an ‘eye-witness’ account of blindness. As resident artist at the Rossjohn Lab, Monash University, Erica creates multi-sensory, multi-modal artworks communicating biomedical research to blind and low-vision audiences. This inspires people of all ages and abilities to learn, understand and appreciate the wonders of science.

 

Other Science in the arts finalists

Further information:

FALLING WALLS AND BERLIN SCIENCE WEEK, THE WORLD SCIENCE SUMMIT:

Falling Walls and Berlin Science Week invite you to this year’s World Science Summit, held remotely from 1 – 10 November 2020. This year we shift from physical events to a global virtual showcase, with free digital access for everyone. We acknowledge the combined effort of scientists worldwide to overcome the pandemic, and its many effects. Make sure to attend this event, where some of the world’s best researchers gather to discuss and celebrate the most recent breakthroughs in science and society from all over the world.

WHEN

1 – 10 November 2020, with a daily science highlight programme at Noon GMT (13.00 Berlin Time) and the Grand Finale on 9 November

WHAT

500+ speakers, 200+ sessions, 1 digital platform with live-streamed breakthroughs, expert panels, workshops and lectures

WHERE

Completely remote – Free digital access from wherever you are plus selected physical events in Berlin

Congratulations Rachel – Winner of the BDI Student Symposium 5 minute talk category

The annual BDI student symposium looked a bit different this year, with face-to-face being replaced with face-to-screen. Despite these changes, we were so happy to see such a huge turnout of students from across the BDI showcasing their research through talks and poster presentations.

Thank you to all the students and assessors who made the day run smoothly and congratulations again to our winners!

Student talks: Hot off the plate reader – be the first to hear about the exciting results our students are generating.

WinnerNicholas Choo 

Runner up: Bob Leung 

5-minute talks: With just five minutes, students will give you the highlights of what their research can achieve.

WinnerRachel Farquhar

Runner-upYusun Jeon 

Image: Rachel delivering her talk via zoom.

Posters: A chance to have a chat with our students about their exciting new data.

WinnerMariam Bafit

Runner-up: Kerry Mullan

The BDI Student Symposium was held on Friday, September 25th and showcased the work of BDI Graduate Students.

Adapted from Monash BDI Notices.

Unlocking Your Inner Eye. Artistic Intelligence with Erica Tandori, a Legally Blind Artist

Artist in residence, Dr Erica Tandori is expanding the frontiers of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Art. Her work at Monash University in the Rossjohn lab focuses on communicating science through art for the visually impaired. She is now expanding this work and utilising robotics in her artistic creations to create a multi-sensory experience. AI and robotics have the potential to transform lives and promote social good. Harnessing these technologies to create art exhibitions exploring science and biomedicine is enabling greater inclusion, accessibility and education for low vision, blind and diverse audiences. Erica’s work and her personal story provide an impressive example of AI for social good, promoting diversity and inclusion in science and technology.

Art is not in the retina. It’s in the imagination. Hear the story of Erica Tandori, a visually impaired artist, who is using AI to create multi-sensory art experiences showcasing the wonders of biological life.

TOPICS DISCUSSED IN THIS EPISODE:
– Art is not in the retina, it’s in the imagination
– Natural intelligence
– Tapping into the soul to power AI and art
– Art for good
– Fostering wonderment to think differently

Panelists include Neil Sahota, World Wide Business Development Leader, IBM Watson and Michael Ashley, Screenwriting Professor at Chapman university

Original article

Novel immune-oncology approach for potential cancer treatment

A research collaboration between Monash University and Lava Therapeutics details a novel immune-oncology approach for the potential treatment of cancer. Instrumental to the study was co-first author Dr Roeland Lameris from Amsterdam UMC and colleagues from the University of Melbourne.

Published in Nature Cancer, the study, co-led by Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute’s ARC Laureate Fellow Professor Jamie Rossjohn and Dr Adam Shahine,  highlights the synergy between an antibody fragment, known as a nanobody, that not only acts as a bridge helping to link together two key immune cell receptors but also takes advantage of their interaction, enabling the body to enhance its immune response to cancer.

These antibody fragments, denoted as nanobodies, act by targeting the interaction between a molecule known as CD1d and Natural Killer T cells (NKT) in a stable and long-lasting manner, against tumour samples of patients with multiple myeloma and acute myeloid leukemia.

The new findings will serve as a model for the potential generation of new and effective therapies against a broad range of cancers.

Using the Australian Synchrotron, the team at Monash University provided detailed atomic insight into how the nanobodies exerted their effect on immune cells in a cancer model. “We were able to precisely visualize how the nanobody simultaneously recognized CD1d and the NKT TCR, thereby providing a molecular basis for their anti-tumour properties” Professor Rossjohn stated.

Hans van der Vliet, professor in medical oncology at Amsterdam UMC and chief scientific officer of Lava Therapeutics says “By targeting and boosting natural immune cells that are inherent in all humans, such as NKT cells and gamma-delta T cells, for an enhanced therapeutic effect, we believe our approach could ultimately translate into a broadly applicable immunotherapeutic approach for a range of cancer indications.”

“This collaborative work paves the way for rationally developing improved therapeutics to treat a range of cancers” said co-first author Dr. Shahine.

Read the full paper in Nature Cancer titled: “A single domain bispecific antibody targeting CD1d and the NKT T cell receptor induces a potent anti-tumour response
DOI: 10.1038/s43018-020-00111-6

Original paper

Front cover image

Image: Nanobodies targeting of a tumour cell.

Image Credit: Erica Tandori

Immutep and Monash University Receive Grant Funding for LAG-3 Project

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – Immutep Limited (ASX: IMM; NASDAQ: IMMP) is pleased to announce that the Australian Research Council (ARC) has awarded Immutep and research partner Monash University a A$360,000 grant under the ARC‘s Linkage Project scheme to support their research collaboration into Lymphocyte Activation Gene-3 (LAG-3) for a further three years.

The collaboration between Immutep and Monash University’s Biomedicine Discovery Institute (BDI) commenced in 2017 and the parties have been investigating the structure of LAG-3 and how it binds to its main ligand, MHC Class II. This new funding will allow further investigation and provide insights into the way LAG-3 controls T cell function, and may ultimately lead to the development of a new generation of innovative medicines for the treatment of cancer, autoimmune diseases or infectious diseases.

ARC Laureate Fellow at the Monash BDI, Professor Jamie Rossjohn, said: “We thank the ARC for the continued funding to support our collaboration with Immutep. Through the partnership, we are able to combine the state-of-the-art structural biology facilities we have here at the BDI with the expertise of Dr Triebel, who is the pioneer of the LAG-3 immune checkpoint. This is important work and we look foward to furthering our understanding of LAG-3 structure and function.”

Immutep‘s CSO and CMO, Dr Frederic Triebel, also welcomed the grant and said: “We have been very pleased to collaborate on this project alongside one of the leading international groups in structural immunology led by Professor Rossjohn. We look foward to continuing our studies into LAG-3 and are most grateful, of course, for the support of the ARC.”

The title of the new grant is “Investigating the atomic structure of an immune cell inhibitory receptor” andwill be conducted over a three year period. Professor Rossjohn will have overall oversight of the project and will be responsible for resources management of the grant. As the leading global authority on LAG-3, Dr Triebel will provide his expertise and facilitate access to relevant LAG-3 specific constructs, reagents and antibodies directed against LAG-3. Immutep will also make a financial contribution towards the study.


About the Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute

Committed to making the discoveries that will relieve the future burden of disease, the Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute at Monash University brings together more than 120 internationally-renowned research teams. The research teams are supported by world-class technology and infrastructure, and partner with industry, clinicians and researchers internationally to enhance lives through discovery.

Professor Jamie Rossjohn FAA FLSW FMedSci Professor Jamie Rossjohn is an Australian Research Council Laureate Fellow at Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute, Monash University and Professor in Structural Immunology at Cardiff University.  Professor Rossjohn is recognized for his contributions to understanding molecular bases of immunity.

About Immutep

Immutep is a globally active biotechnology company that is a leader in the development of LAG-3 related immunotherapeutic products for the treatment of cancer and autoimmune disease. Immutep is dedicated to leveraging its technology and expertise to bring innovative treatment options to market for patients and to maximize value to shareholders. Immutep is listed on the Australian Securities Exchange (IMM) and on the NASDAQ (IMMP) in the United States.

Immutep’s current lead product candidate is eftilagimod alpha (“efti” or “IMP321”), a soluble LAG-3 protein (LAG-3Ig) based on the LAG-3 immune control mechanism. This mechanism plays a vital role in the regulation of the T cell immune response. Efti is currently in a Phase IIb clinical trial as a chemoimmunotherapy for metastatic breast cancer termed AIPAC (clinicaltrials.gov identifier NCT02614833); a Phase II clinical trial being conducted in collaboration with Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, NJ, USA (known as “MSD” outside the United States and Canada) referred to as TACTI-002 to evaluate a combination of efti with KEYTRUDA® (pembrolizumab) in several different solid tumours (clinicaltrials.gov identifier NCT03625323); a Phase I clinical trial being conducted in collaboration with Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany and Pfizer Inc. referred to as INSIGHT-004 to evaluate a combination of efti with avelumab (clinicaltrials.gov identifier NCT03252938); and a Phase I combination therapy trial in metastatic melanoma termed TACTI-mel (clinicaltrials.gov identifier NCT02676869).

Additional LAG-3 products, including antibodies, for immune response modulation in autoimmunity and cancer are being developed by Immutep’s large pharmaceutical partners. Immutep is also developing an agonist of LAG-3 (IMP761) for autoimmune disease.

Further information can be found on the Company’s website www.immutep.com or by contacting:

Australian Investors/Media:
Catherine Strong, Citadel-MAGNUS
+61 (0)406 759 268; cstrong@citadelmagnus.com

U.S. Media:
Tim McCarthy, LifeSci Advisors
+1 (212) 915.2564; tim@lifesciadvisors.com

This announcement was authorised for release by the Board of Immutep Limited.

Original article