AsianScientist (Oct. 23, 2014) – The Australian Research Council (ARC) Center of Excellence in Advanced Molecular Imaging was opened on October 15, 2014. Led by Monash University Professor James Whisstock, the Center will work on characterizing and visualizing the key interactions that underpin immune responses.
Whisstock said understanding the immune system is central to fighting cancer and infectious diseases, as well as gaining a greater understanding of autoimmune diseases.
“Many of the workings of our immune systems are a mystery, especially at a molecular level: how our immune system fights infectious diseases and cancer and why it sometimes over-reacts, causing auto-immune diseases,” he said.
“These are questions the ARC Center of Excellence in Advanced Molecular Imaging will help to answer, using new ways of visualizing how single molecules function in the context of immune cells.”
Researchers at the Center have already discovered how one of the triggers for celiac diseases works, why some viruses hide in the body for decades to trick the immune system. They also invented a microscope that could potentially be implanted into body organs.
A range of imaging technologies including the Australian Synchrotron and Europe’s new 3.4 km long X-ray free electron laser, will be used to gain new information about the immune system and open up potential pathways for disease treatments.
Based at Monash University, the A$39 million (~US$34 million) Center brings together physicists, chemists and biologists from La Trobe University, the University of Melbourne, Monash University, the University of New South Wales and the University of Queensland.
Partner organizations include the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation, The Australian Synchrotron, Carl Zeiss Pty Ltd, Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron (Germany), Leica Microsystems Pty Ltd, University of Warwick (UK).
Source: Monash University.
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