Australia’s Chief Scientist, Dr Alan Finkel AO, visited the Illawarra on Friday 9 November to open IHMRI’s electrophysiology laboratory.
The new electrophysiology facility houses the state-of-the-art Nanion SynchroPatch 384PE robot.
“This technology supports investigation of the most challenging diseases, those that affect the brain and nervous system. I am glad to be a part of the launch of IHMRI’s new facility, which will significantly improve the rate of drug discovery for conditions such as chronic pain, epilepsy, dementia and irregular heart beat,” said Dr Alan Finkel, Australia’s Chief Scientist.
Electrophysiology is the branch of neuroscience that explores the electrical activity of living neurons and investigates the molecular and cellular processes that govern their signalling.
“This project aims to establish the first high-throughput automated patch-clamp facility in Australia, one of only a few in the world, to enable research at the forefront of cell phenotyping and drug discovery,” said Professor David J. Adams, Executive Director and CEO of IHMRI.
The SyncroPatch 384PE is the most powerful tool available to functionally characterise cells and study the function of ion channels.
Ion channels are membrane proteins that underlie cell function and are therefore important drug targets.
The new robot will significantly reduce laboratory time for researchers by allowing them to measure electrical activity in up to 384 single living cells at a time and test their responses to different drugs.
Professor David Adams and a team of researchers from UOW, the University of Sydney, the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute and the University of New South Wales were awarded $443, 311 under the Linkage, Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities (LIEF) scheme.
The LIEF scheme provides funding for research infrastructure, equipment and facilities, which can be shared with other higher education organisations and industry collaborations.
This project expects to enhance capacity to automate and standardise the quality of recordings, substantially increase the rate of data production, and enable greater access to patch clamp technology.
Watch video of SyncroPatch 384PE
The Illawarra Mecury
9 November 2018: First-of-its kind machine unveiled at Wollongong research facility
Nine News Illawarra
Dr Rocio Finol-Urdaneta, Research Fellow
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Pictured: Dr Alan Finkel AO and Professor David J.Adams
Photo: James Grabowski