Seminars | This Week

Brisbane Developmental Biology Seminar Series

Date/Time: Tuesday 30th May 2017 16:00

Location: Large Seminar Room, Level 3, QBP

Title of talk: Hippo and Hippo-like signalling pathways
Speaker's name: A/Prof Kieran Harvey
Speaker's organisation: Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre
Talk abstract: The Hippo pathway is a complex signalling network that controls developmental tissue growth and is frequently deregulated in different human cancers. Discovered by us and others in 2002, the Hippo pathway is now the subject of intense investigation, but despite this the mechanism of signal transduction within this pathway is incompletely understood. We have used large-scale screens to provide important insights into the signalling logic that operates in the Hippo pathway in the context of tissue growth. More recently, we have anaylsed how related Hippo-like signaling pathways control diverse cellular decisions.

Host name: Helen Cooper
Host email: h.cooper@uq.edu.au

Seminars | This Week

IMB Seminar Series

Date/Time: Friday 2nd June 2017 12:30

Location: QBP Auditorium, Bld 80

Title of talk: Liquid Biopsies: Monitoring the Cancer Genome in Blood
Speaker's name: Associate Professor Sarah-Jane Dawson
Speaker's organisation: Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre
Talk abstract: Cell-free circulating DNA containing tumor-specific sequences can be identified in the plasma of cancer patients, providing a liquid biopsy alternative to tissue biopsies for monitoring cancer genetic changes over time. Circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) analysis can allow real-time monitoring of tumor dynamics and treatment response from a simple blood test that is safe, reliable and easy to perform at regular intervals during therapy. Serial analysis of ctDNA provides a unique opportunity to study the evolving genomic landscape of a cancer during therapy, identify the early emergence of treatment resistance and guide targeted therapeutic decisions. A summary of current approaches for ctDNA analysis will be presented, together with an overview of clinical applications for the use of liquid biopsies in cancer management.

Host name: Professor Alpha Yap
Host email: imbevents@uq.edu.au

Seminars | This Week

IMB Seminar Series

Date/Time: Friday 9th June 2017 12:30

Location: QBP Auditorium, Bld 80

Title of talk: Genomic insights into evolution and dissemination of antimicrobial resistance
Speaker's name: Associate Professor Kathryn Holt
Speaker's organisation: University of Melbourne
Talk abstract: High throughput DNA sequencing has revolutionised our ability to investigate and understand bacterial pathogen populations. I have been involved in establishing and applying population genomic frameworks and associated tools to the study of several important pathogens, including typhoid, dysentery and the emerging hospital superbugs Klebsiella pneumoniae and Acinetobacter baumannii. The insights and implications offered by population genomics vary substantially between organisms, but understanding the evolution and spread of antimicrobial resistance is a common and important goal. Here I will highlight some recent insights into the evolution and spread of two highly drug-resistant bacterial pathogens that have very different population structures - Salmonella Typhi (typhoid) and Klebsiella pneumoniae.

Host name: Professsor Peter Visscher
Host email: imbevents@uq.edu.au

Seminars | This Week

Cell Biology Forum

Date/Time: Wednesday 31st May 2017 09:00

Location: Large Seminar Room (QBP Building)

Title of talk: Improving the Leishmania cell-free expression system
Speaker's name: Wayne Johnston
Speaker's organisation: IMB, UQ (Alexandrov lab)

Title of talk: Combining in vitro protein expression with AlphaLISA technology to study protein-protein interaction
Speaker's name: Shayli Varestah Moradi
Speaker's organisation: IMB, UQ (Alexandrov lab)

Host name: Brett Collins
Host email: b.collins@imb.uq.edu.au

Seminars | This Week

SCMB Chemistry Seminar

Date/Time: Monday 29th May 2017 13:00

Location: AIBN Seminar Room

Title of talk: Native State Mass Spectrometry in Fragment Based Drug Discovery
Speaker's name: Prof. Sally-Ann Poulsen
Speaker's organisation: Griffith Institute for Drug Discovery
Talk abstract: Fragment based drug discovery (FBDD) is a recently validated approach to identify small molecules as better chemical starting points for drug discovery. Since 2005, fragment screening has resulted in two FDA approved drugs and more than 30 drug candidates in clinical trials. The take-up of FBDD in academia, biotech and pharma is growing owing to this success.

FBDD is contingent on the development of robust analytical methods to identify weak, noncovalent protein−fragment interactions. In contrast to high throughput screening (HTS), where hit compounds are relatively potent (KDs in the nM to µM range), the binding interactions of hit fragments tend to be considerably weaker (KDs in the µM to mM range), so that fragment hits may not be as readily identified in classical biochemical screens as for HTS hits.

A number of biophysical techniques have been used to screen fragment libraries with some of the most popular techniques being NMR, SPR and X-ray crystallography. The use of mass spectrometry (MS) for fragment screening has remained relatively underexplored.[1] This presentation will demonstrate the application of MS as a complementary screening method in fragment-based drug discovery. Specifically we will discuss the discovery of new zinc binding chemotypes by fragment screening and a screening campaign employing SAR by MS.

Other Details: Anybody wishing to meet with Prof. Poulsen may contact Elizabeth Krenske.

Host name: Elizabeth Krenske
Host email: e.krenske@uq.edu.au

Seminars | This Week

QAAFI Science Seminar Series

Date/Time: Tuesday 30th May 2017 12:00

Location: Large Seminar Room (3.142), Level 3 Qld Bioscience Precinct Building 80, St Lucia

Title of talk: Looking to the past, monitoring the present, securing the future: Resistance to the grain fumigant phosphine
Speaker's name: Associate Professor Paul Ebert
Speaker's organisation: UQ's School of Biological Sciences
Talk abstract: The fumigant phosphine has been used extensively since the 1980s to protect the vast majority of our grain harvest from insect pests. Since the international ban on methyl bromide use for all but quarantine purposes as of 2005, our grain storage system has essentially been dependent on a single molecule for insect control. Strong resistance to phosphine was discovered in 1997 in Millmerran, Queensland. I became aware of the problem in 1999 and thus began a long and productive collaboration with the Queensland Department of Agriculture (DAF) and Fisheries. This work led to the identification of 2 primary genetic factors that are responsible for strong resistance in every outbreak, in every grain pest species on every continent that we have examined. We have used this knowledge to develop a high-throughput resistance monitoring system that we have deployed across the eastern grain-growing regions of Australia and across India as well. We are now deploying this resistance monitoring system at central grain storage facilities in Queensland to determine the effects of standard pest management practices on the resistance allele frequency. We have used our identification of the resistance genes to explore the mechanism of action of phosphine. We have used our understanding of the action of phosphine to identify soluble compounds and gases that synergistically enhance the toxicity of phosphine. Understanding the molecular basis of the synergistic interaction has now become the primary focus of my laboratory. Our goal is to be proactive and to continue to work closely with DAF, so that we are prepared for resistance problems that might eventuate in future.

Host name: Hannah Hardy
Host email: h.hardy@uq.edu.au

Seminars | This Week

SCMB Molecular Bioscience

Date/Time: Wednesday 31st May 2017 12:00

Location: AIBN Seminar Room (Bldg 75)

Title of talk: The Split Personality of Glutamate Transporters: a Chloride Channel and a Transporter.
Speaker's name: A. Prof Renae Ryan
Speaker's organisation: University of Sydney
Talk abstract: Glutamate is the predominant excitatory neurotransmitter in the mammalian central nervous system and activates a wide range of receptors to mediate a complex array of functions. To maintain efficient synaptic signaling and avoid neurotoxicity, extracellular glutamate concentrations are tightly regulated by a family of glutamate transporters termed Excitatory Amino Acid Transporter (EAATs). Altered glutamate transmission, and specifically disrupted EAAT function, has been implicated in a range of disease states including; Alzheimer's disease, episodic ataxia, epilepsy, stroke, motor neuron disease and pain. In addition to clearing glutamate from the extracellular space, EAATs can also function as chloride (Cl-) channels. The dual transporter/channel functions are mediated by distinct conformational states of the transporter and the Cl- channel activity is thought to contribute to ionic/osmotic balance and can affect cell excitability. The EAATs use a unique mode of transport we have termed the 'twisting elevator' mechanism and we hypothesize that the Cl- channel is activated during this twisting elevator movement. Our aim is to develop a model for the dual functions of the glutamate transporters through structural and functional analysis of human and prokaryotic glutamate transporters.

Host name: Kate Stacey
Host email: katryn.stacey@uq.edu.au

Seminars | This Week

QBI Neuroscience Seminar

Date/Time: Wednesday 31st May 2017 11:00

Location: Level 7 Auditorium

Title of talk: Organisation of a reverberating cell assembly in the basolateral amygdala
Speaker's name: Madhusoothanan Bhagavathi Perumal
Speaker's organisation: Queensland Brain Institute University of Queensland
Talk abstract: One of the most remarkable features of the brain is its intrinsic disposition to generate oscillatory network activity even in the absence of sensory inputs. Synchronized activity in neurons is readily observed extracellularly as electrical field potential oscillations. These network oscillations are hypothesised to perform many functions, one of which is to facilitate memory consolidation processes. Hebb's cell assembly hypothesis is one important conceptual framework to correlate network activity and memory. Hebb postulated that neurons with recurrent connections among themselves generate a reverberating activity within a specific temporal window to encode memory traces. This form of temporally organized neural circuit can form a functional unit called a cell assembly. However, what types of neurons are present in a cell assembly and how they are organized to generate reverberating activity are not known.

We investigated how the organization of neurons in the basolateral amygdala (BLA), a key structure for emotional memory consolidation, generates network oscillations. In our preparation, BLA networks spontaneously generated widespread synchronized activity as Sharp Wave oscillations (SWs), a distinct network activity associated with memory consolidation processes. During SWs, stereotypical multi-synaptic events occurred simultaneously in widespread BLA neurons. These SWs could be initiated by a rare and special subset of GABAergic interneuron, the Chandelier neuron (Chn). Simultaneous recordings from pairs of neurons showed the presence of strong glutamatergic and GABAergic feedforward and feedback circuits in the BLA to facilitate reverberating activity. These results provide a novel circuit model for the organization of neurons in Hebb's reverberating cell assembly for generation of SW oscillations in the BLA.

Host name: Deirdre Wilson
Host email: d.wilson5@uq.edu.au

Seminars | This Week

QBI Neuroscience Seminar

Date/Time: Wednesday 31st May 2017 14:00

Location: Level 7 Auditorium

Title of talk: Improving genetic risk prediction in psychiatric disorders and other complex traits
Speaker's name: Robert Maier
Speaker's organisation: Queensland Brain Institute University of Queensland
Talk abstract: The genetic nature of psychiatric disorders was observed by clinicians long before DNA had been identified as the molecule of inheritance. Until recently this knowledge has not contributed substantially to treatment efforts or to a better understanding of the disease processes because we lacked the necessary genetic data. Advances in genotyping technologies have brought an end to this data shortage which is leading to a better understanding of the genetic architecture of psychiatric disorders. Two patterns started to emerge which were uncommon in earlier studied Mendelian disorders. (i) most of the genetic part of disease risk is conferred by a large number of genetic loci of small effect, and (ii) genetic loci often influence a large number of traits at the same time. While this is true of many so-called complex traits, these two phenomena (polygenicity and pleiotropy) are particularly pronounced in psychiatric disorders. This has wide-reaching consequences for the analysis and interpretation of genetic data and provides challenges as well as opportunities. Here I will show how polygenicity and pleiotropy can be used to study the genetic heterogeneity of psychiatric disorders, and how these concepts can help to improve the prediction of genetic risk.

Host name: Deirdre Wilson
Host email: d.wilson5@uq.edu.au

Seminars | This Week

SBMS Seminar Series

Date/Time: Monday 5th June 2017 13:00

Location: QBI Auditorium

Title of talk: Novel alarmin release mechanisms and extracellular function in the onset and exacerbation of asthma
Speaker's name: Rhiannon Werder
Speaker's organisation: SBMS, UQ

Host name: David Armstrong
Host email: d.armstrong@uq.edu.au

Seminars | This Week

Division of Genomics of Development of Disease

Date/Time: Thursday 1st June 2017 11:00

Location: Level 3 Seminar Room

Title of talk: Histone Deacetylase Inhibitor Screening in a Human Disease Model of Diabetic Cardiomyopathy
Speaker's name: Abbi Helfer
Speaker's organisation: Palpant Group

Title of talk: A Synthetic Lethal Approach for the Treatment of Medulloblastoma
Speaker's name: Gayle Peterson
Speaker's organisation: Wainwright Group

Host name: Laura Genovesi
Host email: l.genovesi@uq.edu.au

Seminars | This Week

QIMR Lecture

Date/Time: Tuesday 6th June 2017 13:00

Location: QIMR Herston - Bancroft Auditorium -Level 6

Title of talk: Cancer Biology to Nanomedicine-Based Therapeutics
Speaker's name: Professor Maria Kavallaris
Speaker's organisation: UNSW
Talk abstract: Cancer remains a significant clinical problem and is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in society. Development of resistance to therapy is a major clinical challenge and elucidating the mechanisms that underlie drug resistance is essential if we are to develop solutions and new more effective therapies. The propensity of solid tumours to metastasise to distant organs poses a major barrier to cure, since metastatic cancer cells are often refractory to therapy. Recent studies from our laboratory have revealed key roles for specific microtubule proteins in cell survival signalling pathways. Given the challenges in targeting these proteins with small molecule agents, we have been developing nanoparticles to deliver siRNA/miRNA and chemotherapeutic drugs to overcome resistance and reduce the toxic side effects of conventional chemotherapy.

Host name: Nancy Cloake
Host phone number: 1800993000
Host email: nancy.cloake@qimrberghofer.edu.au