For Dr Andrew Care, tiny structures inside living bacteria may hold the key to tackling many diseases. Shaped like miniature soccer balls, these protein nanocages can be modified to accomplish a wide range of tasks, from helping microbes cope with environmental stress to delivering drug payloads inside cancer cells. Continue reading
The 2019 BioNetwork “hackathon” Event was held last week at Macquarie University (MQ). The CNBP-sponsored event promoted interdisciplinarity between the different departments on campus in order to foster innovation and successful collaborations for early-career researchers. The event was modeled as a “hackathon” in order to develop team building in an interdisciplinary context and develop new ideas based on challenges presented by clinicians from MQ Hospital.
The event hosted a prestigious panel of speakers, and included an opening address from MQ Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Prof. Sakkie Pretorius and an introduction to the university’s health research priorities by Dr. Brenton Hamdorf, Director of Academic and Research Partnerships. Neurosurgeons and clinical researchers A./Prof Andrew Davidson and A./Prof. Antonio di Leva presented modern challenges relating to brain cancer research. In the afternoon session, attendees had the opportunity to hear talks from Dr. Sumit Raniga on Orthopaedic Biomechanics and Prof. Lars Ittner on the new MQ Dementia Research Centre.
More than 60 attendants – including CNBP ECRs, came to the event during the day, a majority of which participated in the group activities which resulted in pitch presentations judged by a panel of experts. Generous contributions from the CNBP and others funded prizes for the pitch presentations and poster session, and collaborative grants for interdepartmental projects.
On behalf of the BioNetwork Organisation Committee we would like to thank all of the speakers, sponsors and attendees. We hope MQ and CNBP members will take part in this event again next year, and that the BioNetwork will become a useful outlet for networking and interdisciplinary collaboration on campus.
Image: DVCR Prof Sakkie Pretorius opening address
CNBP AI at Macquarie University and Early Career Fellow at the Cancer Institute NSW, Dr Andrew Care, has presented his research to a packed house at a ‘Pint of Science’ public outreach and engagement event, 20th May 2019.
Held at the Nags Head Hotel, Glebe, Sydney, Dr Care talked about the latest in cancer research with a particular focus on a newly discovered class of biologically-derived nanoparticles (protein nanocages), and how they can be genetically-engineered to target and destroy tumours.
“Taking my science out to the public was great fun,” he says. “But more importantly it was a good opportunity to highlight that positive advances we are making in the fight against disease thanks to ongoing research investment in Australia,” he said.
Dr Care added, “I checked out Pint of Science for the first time last year. I saw a great talk by Dr Orazio Vittorio a cancer biologist from Children’s Cancer Institute Australia. After a chat at the pub about our research, we started a collaboration. A year later Orazio and I are developing an exciting new tool for cancer treatment! Together, we’ve also obtained research funding, and we’re about to file a patent and to publish our first paper together. None of this would have possible without Pint!”
“Talking at Pint of Science this year is my way of giving back and saying thanks for making a great collaboration happen…and maybe to find another awesome collaborator lurking in the pub again,” he concludes.
Dr Care’s research group combines techniques from synthetic biology and nanomedicine for the targeted treatment of cancer. More information on his exciting work can be found in his profile here.
CNBP Associate Investigators Dr Lyndsey Collins-Praino (University of Adelaide) and Dr Andrew Care (Macquarie University) together with CNBP Director Prof. Mark Hutchinson have been awarded a highly competitive Research Grant by the NeuroSurgical Research Foundation. The funds will help the team to work on pioneering a novel nanotechnology that will look to prevent the spread of Parkinson’s Disease throughout the human brain.
CNBP Associate Investigators Dr Lyndsey Collins-Praino (University of Adelaide) and Dr Andrew Care (Macquarie University), together with CNBP Director Prof Mark Hutchinson have been awarded a highly competitive Research Gift by the Australian Brain Foundation.
The funds granted will help the team to develop a new technique that aims to prevent the spread of Parkinson’s Disease in the human brain.
Below: Dr Lyndsey Collins-Praino and Dr Care accept their Research Award (with Prof Hutchinson in absentia).
A new review paper has been published in the journal ‘Genes’ featuring two CNBP Associate Investigators as co-authors, Dr Andrew Care (Cancer Institute NSW) and Dr Anwar Sunna (Macquarie University).
Titled, ‘Bioengineering Strategies for Protein-based Nanoparticles’, the paper focuses on the tools available to custom-engineer protein-based nanoparticles for different applications, including those in nanomedicine and biotechnology.
First author of the paper, and co-supervised by Dr Care and Dr Sunna is Ms Dennis Diaz (pictured left in photo).
Publication title: Bioengineering Strategies for Protein-Based Nanoparticles.
Authors: Dennis Diaz, Andrew Care and Anwar Sunna.
Abstract: In recent years, the practical application of protein-based nanoparticles (PNPs) has expanded rapidly into areas like drug delivery, vaccine development, and biocatalysis. PNPs possess unique features that make them attractive as potential platforms for a variety of nanobiotechnological applications. They self-assemble from multiple protein subunits into hollow monodisperse structures; they are highly stable, biocompatible, and biodegradable; and their external components and encapsulation properties can be readily manipulated by chemical or genetic strategies. Moreover, their complex and perfect symmetry have motivated researchers to mimic their properties in order to create de novo protein assemblies. This review focuses on recent advances in the bioengineering and bioconjugation of PNPs and the implementation of synthetic biology concepts to exploit and enhance PNP’s intrinsic properties and to impart them with novel functionalities.
It has been formally announced that Dr Andrew Care, former CNBP Research Fellow and now Centre Associate Investigator, has been awarded a 2018 Early Career Fellowship from the Cancer Institute New South Wales (CINSW) to fund the research project, ‘Biological nanoparticles for the targeted delivery and light-triggered release of drugs’.
This project aims to develop novel protein nanocages for the targeted co-delivery and controlled release of therapeutics in the multimodal treatment of cancer.
In addition, PhD Candidate Ms Dennis Diaz, who is part of the team working on this exciting project, was recently awarded a Research Scholarship Award from the translational cancer research centre, Sydney Vital.
Dennis is working under the supervision of Dr Andrew Care and A/Prof. Anwar Sunna (also a CNBP Associate Investigator).
Further information on the CINSW and its recent grants announcement is available here.
A new book edited by A/Prof Anwar Sunna (CNBP Associate Investigator), Dr Andrew Care (CNBP Research Fellow) and Peter Bergquist (Macquarie University) as been published by Springer.
The book, “Peptides and Peptide-based Biomaterials and their Biomedical Applications”, highlights new developments in the applications of peptide and peptide-based biomaterials in biomedicine.
“This is a fast-moving and rapidly expanding research area, which promises to be one of the most significant fields of research in applied biomedicine”, says A/Prof Sunna.
“The work introduces readers to direct applications and translational research at the interface between materials science, protein chemistry and biomedicine.”
The study on “Solid-binding peptides for immobilization of thermostable enzymes to hydrolyze biomass polysaccharides” by CNBP Researcher Dr Andrew Care and led by CNBP Associate Investigator A/Prof Anwar Sunna has been featured on Renewable Energy Global Innovations as a key scientific paper.
The work was originally published in the scientific journal Biotechnology for Biofuels (February, 2017).
A chance to talk science with Australian politicians and policy influencers was an opportunity seized by CNBP with Centre Investigator Prof Heike Ebendorff-Heidepriem and Centre Research Fellow Dr Andrew Care both in attendance at the annual ‘Science meets Parliament’ (SmP) event, Canberra, 21-22 March, 2017.
Established by Science and Technology Australia, SmP provides 200 scientists with a unique professional development opportunity to get a clear sense of the competing rationalities of science, politics and public policy. The two-day gathering also includes a day at Parliament House, where delegates get the chance to meet privately with parliamentarians.
As part of this activity, Prof Ebendorff-Heidepriem met with Senator Chris Back and Senator Chris Ketter, and also spoke with Shadow Minister of Defence, Richard Marles. In addition, she spoke with many researchers and entrepreneurs from both the University and industry sectors.
“Improving collaboration between the research community and industry was a hot topic in many of the discussions that I had”, said Heike. “Particularly in my meeting with Senator Chris Back. People were also extremely excited about our approach, in using fibres and light to create exciting new windows into the body.”
CNBP’s Dr Andrew Care met with Opposition Leader Bill Shorten’s advisor, discussing gender equality and early education for STEM and also touching on ECR opportunities and improving research and industry ties. He also met MP Adam Bandt, the Greens spokesperson for science.
“Overall it was an extremely rewarding experience,” says Andrew. “Attending SmP gave me the opportunity to explore the political process and to network with many other researchers from academia, industry, and governance. It was fantastic to see science and innovation so high on the government’s agenda.”
Below – MP Adam Bandt and CNBP’s Dr Andrew Care.