New leadership appointments to Stem Cells Australia initiative

February 17 / 190

Professor Melissa Little from the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Melbourne and the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute has been named the new head of the Stem Cells Australia initiative by the University of Melbourne.

Professor Christine Wells, Director of the University of Melbourne’s Centre for Stem Cell Systems will be joining Professor Little as Deputy Program Leader of Stem Cells Australia.

Stem Cells Australia (SCA) was established in 2011 with the support of the Australian Government through the Australian Research Council’s Special Research Initiatives scheme, to develop innovative ways to harness the potential of stem cells.

The consortium links over 120 experts in bioengineering, nanotechnology, stem cell biology, advanced molecular analysis and clinical research across Australian universities and research institutes.

Making the announcement recently on behalf of the Governance Committee of Stem Cells Australia, the University of Melbourne’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor James McCluskey commented that Professor Little will bring a wealth of experience to the role, and a strong vision to further advance Australian science in this important area of medical research.

“Professor Little has a long and impressive history in medical research and in driving biomedical science policy and translation in Australia. She is ideally placed to facilitate excellence in Australian stem cell science and convert these discoveries into genuine clinical outcomes.

“As an internationally recognised leader in stem cell science across more than 25 years for her work in developmental biology, Professor Little is an excellent choice to help build on the achievements of Australian scientists in this area and facilitate research to enable the next phase of stem cell medicine.”

Professor Little’s research has sought to understand kidney development and what happens in disease. Most recently her team pioneered a new way to make kidney tissue from stem cells. This discovery provides an opportunity to develop innovative approaches to treating kidney disease and was recognised by numerous awards including the 2016 Eureka Prize for Scientific Research.

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