June marks 6 months since the establishment of the RespiTech Group at the WIMR. The new laboratories are fully up and running and the group has integrated seamlessly into the culture and mission of the Institute. Since our arrival, the group has started a number of collaborations with basic molecular biologists, pharmacologists, medical practitioners, and clinical management teams to form a holistic approach to researching and treating respiratory disorders.
We established a series of new initiatives: The RespiTech.org web-portals and social media pages, The OzNose project (a multidisciplinary team working on projects with the upper respiratory tract space) and launched Pulmatix Ltd, a consultancy and testing services company. Internationally, the group have attended a series of international conferences and members have presented papers and posters to the scientific community. Members of the group have been successful in securing a number of grants to fund continued and new research projects and have published over 16 peer reviewed journal articles. Paul, Dany and Brian received funding from the TSANZ to study the influence of diet on the effectiveness of asthma medicines; Jess received an Endeavour Fellowship to undertake work at UCL with Simon Gaisford's group and YY will spend 2014 in Southampton with Joy Conway's group after receiving a prestigious European Respiratory Society Postdoctoral Fellowship. We attended the graduation of Mehra, welcomed many new members and held BBQs, Institute Cook-ups and other social events.
As June draws to a close, the RespiTech Team continue to move forward. This month, members of the group (Young, Traini) along with Cell Biology (Oliver) have been successful at securing two competitive grants. Firstly, the teams were awarded a $200,000 Equipment Grant for the purchase of a new CRAM microscope (confocal, Raman, atomic force microscope). Secondly, the team were successful in securing a $370,000 Australia Research Council Linkage Grant to develop a treatment for pulmonary fibrosis. Additionally, two new articles were published. YY was first author on both publications. The first, in the European Journal of Pharmaceutics and Biopharmaceutics (IF 3.83), presented an inhaled liposomal formulation and the applicability of different in vitro, ex vivo and in vivo methods for predicting release in the lung. The second, in Molecular Pharmaceutics (IF 4.57), showed the influence of inhaled hypotonic mannitol on the uptake of common antibiotics across lung epithelia.
We made significant achievements in this short 6 month period and are looking forward to the exciting opportunities that await us in the next half of 2013.