University of Melbourne

Overview

At the University of Melbourne (UM), research fellows took responsibility for the molecular and cell biology activities of the centre. Two additional research biochemists were appointed to perform carbohydrate biochemistry, including methylation analyses, enzymic characterisation of wall polysaccharides, and HPLC, GLCMS/MS and NMR analyses.

A membrane biochemist wa appointed to collaborate with PI Bulone on the isolation and characterisation of membrane rafts, which will also took advantage of the availability of EM tomography at the Bio21 Institute. Highly skilled microscopists performed fluorescence, immunoEM and EM tomography to reveal the location of wall polysaccharides and membrane-bound polysaccharide synthases.

Expertise in Comprehensive Microarray Polymer Profiling (CoMPP) analyses was also available, while a bioinformatician was responsible for the management and biological interpretation of large datasets to be generated through these analyses.

The research fellows were supported by four research assistants, who perform routine sample preparation, high throughput carbohydrate analyses/microscopy (including CoMPP), routine maintenance of equipment, plant and tissue culture maintenance, and other routine laboratory-based analyses. In addition, work was on-going with a commercial partner in the development of whole cell wall models and the prediction of changes in wall characteristics, both in a biological and commercial context, that might accompany changes in wall composition.

Accommodation and Facilities

The University of Melbourne undertook a $500,000 glasshouse refurbishment for the Victorian Node and the facilities were extensively used by Centre staff and students. The UM node also had an extensive suite of state-of-the-art analytical equipment, including HPLC, GLC-MS/MS and NMR, as outlined above, together with an advanced microscopy suite, which supported the activities of the Centre as a whole.