News / 15 November 2020

EMBL Australia group leaders Professor Eduardo Eyras and Associate Professor Max Cryle have been awarded Discovery Project grants by the Australian Research Council to further expand their respective research into genetics and antimicrobial resistance.

Associate Professor Max Cryle, who is based at the Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute and leads the Victorian node of the ARC Centre for Excellence for Innovations in Peptide and Protein Science, will receive $360,000 towards understanding peptide bond formation in non-ribosomal peptide biosynthesis.

According to the project summary, it aims to uncover the origins of selectivity exhibited by the biosynthetic machinery that produces non-ribosomal peptides through advancing our understanding of how the central peptide synthesis domain functions.

“This project intends to generate new knowledge about peptide biosynthesis using a highly interdisciplinary approach and essential tools that have been developed,” the summary reads.

“The anticipated outcomes of this project will be an enhanced understanding of the structural basis for substrate selection exhibited during peptide synthesis, revealing the specificity code of these key domains.

“This knowledge is vital for future efforts to reengineer such biosynthetic peptide assembly lines to produce new bioactive peptides.”

Professor Eduardo Eyras was jointly awarded a Discovery Project grant with his colleagues at ANU’s John Curtin School of Medical Research, Professor Thomas Preiss and Dr Rippei Hayashi.

With the $746,000 grant, they will investigate how and why cells decorate their genetic messages.

The project summary reads: “This project aims to investigate a new layer of genomic control mediated not by DNA but instead by chemical modifications found on the cell's working copies of genetic information called messenger RNA. The investigations will use cutting-edge RNA sequencing technology and the fruit fly model organism to uncover the scope and mechanisms by which such modifications enact their roles at the molecular level and within the body plan of an animal. Expected outcomes include novel molecular tools and models that will assist in understanding and manipulating the function of genomes. Such knowledge should provide benefits in developing innovative biotechnology applications of use in human health, agriculture and managing the environment.”

The Discovery Projects scheme aims to grow knowledge and research capacity in Australia, supporting research that will provide economic, commercial, environmental and social benefits. Grant outcomes were announced on 13 November 2020.

Congratulations, Max and Eduardo!