Acoustic tech grant a win for Griffith biomedical research

Griffith University’s Griffith Institute for Drug Discovery (GRIDD) has been awarded a $150,000 grant from the Ian Potter Foundation for cutting-edge technology to facilitate the search for more effective drugs to treat major diseases.

Research at GRIDD focuses on drug discovery for devastating diseases such as cancers, malaria, spinal cord injury and Parkinson’s disease.

This grant will be used to fund innovative acoustic tube handling technology within Compounds Australia at GRIDD, Australia’s only dedicated compound management and logistics facility.

Compounds Australia stores and manages sample libraries submitted by Australian-based chemists, researchers and companies.

Operating out of Griffith University’s Nathan campus, the facility makes these compounds available to drug researchers in flexible screening and laboratory-ready formats in their development of new effective medicines.

The acoustic compound storage and dispensing technology has been described by scientists as ‘singing to your compounds’.

Moana Simpson.

Australian researchers will be able to use sound waves to vibrate an exact amount of chemical sample from an innovative acoustic microtube into bespoke assay-ready formats.

This transformative methodology will increase the availability of quality compounds, reduce the risk of contact contamination and maintain high accuracy and reproducible assay results.

Compounds Australia will be the first academic group worldwide to bring the new acoustic tube technology into action.

“This technology could help our users find the next cancer drug, antibiotic or disease treatment,” Compounds Australia ManagerMsMoana Simpsonsaid.

Professor Kathy Andrews.

Compounds Australia currently has a store of over 670,000 chemical samples and dispenses up to 5 million individual sample wells a year.

Professor Kathy Andrews, acting Director of GRIDD, said the support of the Ian Potter Foundation will help researchers in the early stages of their drug discovery journey, a crucial part of the research cycle.

“This grant will help researchers achieve faster, better and higher quality biological and chemistry data and is a huge step in the quest of GRIDD and Compounds Australia to remain at the forefront of drug discovery both in Australia and internationally,” she said.

The grant continues the work of the Ian Potter Foundation, a major Australian philanthropic foundation that funds and promotes excellence and innovation in a variety of subjectareas, andfacilitates the provision of equipment and grants to support outstanding medical research groups.

The grant builds on investment in Compounds Australia from other funders, including a $2 million grant from the Australian Cancer Research Foundation (ACRF; led by GRIDD’s Professor Vicky Avery) to help update the facility’s storage and robotic platforms.