Eskitis researchers attract $1.97 million federal government funding

The Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery projects and Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities (LIEF) grants awarded Eskitis researchers $1 million and a further $0.97 million was awarded under the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) grants.

The grants were awarded for these projects:

ARC Discovery Projects

1. Develop environmentally sustainable asymmetric synthesis: design and development of chiral hydrogen bonding organocatalysts (Dr Mark Coster)

2. Approved Intelligent Image Processing Techniques for Novel Biomarker Discovery (Associate Professor Denis Crane)

3. Development of therapeutic agents that target carbonic anhydrase enzymes (Dr Sally-Ann Poulsen)

ARC Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities

1. Approved Facility for analysing behaviour , learning and motor skills in animal models (Professor Alan Mackay-Sim)


1. Social behaviour in rats developmentally deficient in Vitamin D: Modelling the negative symptoms of schizophrenia (Professor Alan Mackay-Sim)

2. Olfactory ensheathing cells: a major contributor to axon guidance? (Dr James St John)

The ARC funded project led by Dr Mark Coster hopes to develop environmentally sustainable and economically viable methods for asymmetric synthesis. By designing, synthesising and evaluate new organocatalysts based on the principle of hydrogen bonding activation, a common feature of Nature’s catalysts, enzymes. This research will benefit the growing Australian pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries through the development of new Advanced Materials and the training provided to young scientists in the sought-after fields of asymmetric synthesis and catalysis.

The NHMRC funded project led by Dr James St John focuses on how the glial cells, olfactory ensheathing cells, can be manipulated to improve nerve cell growth and targeting. Using time-lapse microscopy of living cells combined with altering potential growth and guidance cues we will determine how olfactory ensheathing cells interact with nerve cells. This approach will allow us to design therapies in which olfactory ensheathing cells can be used to repair diseased or damaged brain in humans.