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On a wintery Melbourne evening, EMBL Director General Professor Iain Mattaj shared how his institution’s unique model of giving the most talented, ambitious and curious young scientists the freedom to research what they are passionate about has led to ground-breaking scientific discoveries.

The public event at Deakin Edge, Federation Square on 13 June was followed by a candid Q&A.

The Australian National University has joined our Partner Laboratory Network as our first host institute in the ACT.

Chief Scientist Dr Alan Finkel, EMBL Director General Prof Iain Mattaj and EMBL Australia Scientific Head Prof James Whisstock were some of the esteemed speakers to present at the node launch event on 14 June, which was compered by ANU Vice-Chancellor and Nobel Laureate Professor Brian Schmidt.

Research led by EMBL Australia Group Leader David Lynn has shown that, in preclinical animal models, antibiotic exposure in infants impairs their immune responses to five important, routine vaccinations that are administered worldwide - including vaccines against meningitis, pneumonia, tuberculosis and whooping cough. The research was published Cell Host & Microbe.

An international collaboration jointly led by EMBL Australia Group Leader Dr Maté Biro (hosted at the University of New South Wales Node in Single Molecule Science) and EMBL Australia's first alumnus, Dr Nicolas Plachta of A*STAR in Singapore, has resulted in the discovery of a process during mammalian embryonic development that is critical for early embryos to develop into healthy blastocysts. The research was published in the journal Cell in March 2018.

EMBL Australia Node Head Scientia Professor Katharina Gaus has received the Khwarizmi International Award for her achievements in single-molecule imaging at an award ceremony in Tehran.

Prof Gaus – who leads the Single Molecule Science Node at the University of New South Wales – was one of five foreign laureates named by the Iranian Research Organization for Science and Technology at a ceremony attended by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani last week.

More than 200 delegates gathered to learn about the cutting edge of bioinformatics and computational biology research from a variety of top international and local speakers at the Australian Bioinformatics & Computational Biology Society (ABACBS) national conference and the Combine Student Symposium, held at SAHMRI in Adelaide in late 2017 and chaired by EMBL Australia Group Leader, David Lynn.