News / 31 July 2020

EMBL Australia group leaders Prof Barry Thompson and Dr Harald Janovjak have been collectively awarded close to $2 million in funding for their innovative projects under the Australian Research Council’s Future Fellowships scheme.

Prof Barry Thompson (based at the Australian National University) was awarded more than $1 million for his four-year project that aims to understand how the animal body grows.

Dr Harald Janovjak (based at Monash University) was awarded more than $800,000 for his four-year project on the spatio-temporal activation of genes in cells and mice.

Read more about their projects below:

Genetic control of tissue growth in animals (Prof Barry Thompson)

This project aims to understand how the animal body grows. This project expects to generate new knowledge and understanding of the genetic programs that govern the size and shape of animal tissues, through use of cutting-edge genome editing approaches in laboratory animals. Expected outcomes of this project include the production of genetically engineered animals with altered tissue growth, development of new theories for how tissue growth is normally controlled and how it can be manipulated industrially. This should provide significant benefits, impacting stem cell biology (improving stem cell production), tissue engineering (improving growth of artificial tissues), veterinary science and agriculture (improving productivity).

Spatio-temporal activation of genes in cells and mice (Dr Harald Janovjak)

This project aims to develop novel genetic methods and instrumentation for the local, rapid and reversible activation of genes in cells and mice. This project expects to generate highly innovative light- and sound-based technologies that will permit to study living systems on the gene-level with unprecedented precision. Expected outcomes include new research and technology capacity to broadly address fundamental biological questions and to create new applied processes. This project intends to provide significant benefits, such as enhanced knowledge generation, multidisciplinary training opportunities and patentable technologies.

Dr Janovjak and Prof Thompson were two of the 100 recipients of an ARC Future Fellowship this year in a highly competitive environment, with a 15 per cent success rate.

The ARC Future Fellowships, announced this week by the Minister for Education Dan Tehan, are targeted at mid-career researchers to grow knowledge and innovation for the benefit of the Australian community by undertaking high quality research.

The successful researchers will receive $90.5 million in funding for the next four years to undertake their innovative research in Australia.

Congratulations, Barry and Harald!

See full outcome data here.