​Associate Director's (Platform Infrastructure) Blog - 8 September 2017

While the Director is taking some well deserved leave, there have been lots of activity around the institute, particularly around the new Stage 2B building and the platforms. 

Last week, key people from the mass spectrometry facilities, the Store, External Relations and myself, were given a tour, replete with hard hat and high vis vest of the Stage2B building site by the Cockram’s team.

It was exciting to see how much progress has been made as the shell for levels is nearly complete and work is beginning on internal walls around the offices and labs in the lower floors. Seeing the space was also very useful as detailed planning for the move is well advanced and it was helpful to visualize when instruments and offices will be. It will be a fantastic new (and much needed) space and architecturally very striking when it is finished.

Also, the past couple of weeks have seen the (logistically challenging) installation of two new cryo electron microscopes into the Advanced Microscopy facility:

The Talos Arctica is a 200kV cryoTEM with automated sample loading and the latest detection hardware with the Gatan K2 summit camera located behind an energy filter.

Its ‘little sister’ the Talos L120C is a 120kV microscope of the latest generation that will be used for sample screening, negative staining and standard biological TEM.

The Arctica is the second of its kind in Australia (the first one was installed in Wollongong last month) while the L120C is the first of its kind and one of the first worldwide. They were both acquired as part of a collaborative ARC LIEF grant led by Michael Parker last year together with very strong support by the University. The academic partners of the grant are UoM, Monash, RMIT, WEHI, MCRI, the Peter Mac, the St Vincent, UNSW, Latrobe, Auckland, the Victor Chang in collaboration with our major industry partner CSL who was a major contributor to the purchase. The Bio21 instruments will be complemented by a third EM (another Talos) to be installed at Monash University in September, which collectively will create world leading capacity in cryo-EM protein structural biology. 

Read Eric’s intranet blog post for more information.

Also, in terms of our Metabolomics Facility, I am very glad to report that the Federal Government National Collaborative Research Infrastructure (NCRIS) funding has been secured for another year through Bioplatforms Australia, a project that provides services and scientific infrastructure in the specialist fields of genomics, proteomics, metabolomics and bioinformatics. I have also been appointed the new convenor for Metabolomics Australia, which will involve me overseeing not only the Bio21 ‘node’ of Metabolomics Australia, but all the nodes across the nation. We are in a wonderful positon to house a node here at Bio21. This will be consolidated into one facility with MS and Proteomics in the new Stage2B building.

I look forward to the challenges and opportunities this will bring to Bio21 and in advancing biosciences and biomedical research in the precinct.

Professor Malcolm McConville
Associate Director (Platform Infrastructure)