Tenant Profiles

Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research http://www.perkins.org.au/
At the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research we are dedicated to improving the health of the community we serve - across the State, nation and globe.

Our research aims to uncover the genetic and environmental causes of a range of diseases. The ultimate goal is to prevent disease developing and to create improved treatments if these conditions do emerge. The Perkins Institute team has identified numerous genes associated with diseases such as leukaemia, diabetes, cancer (especially breast, ovarian and prostate), as well as those contributing to a number of nerve, muscle and mental health disorders. These breakthroughs have already positively impacted the lives of many people and inspire us to pursue these vital research initiatives. By understanding the genetic causes of disease and how the environment affects our genetic makeup, we believe better approaches can be developed to prevent and treat disease.

The Perkins Institute is Western Australia's premier adult medical research institute, investigating the genetic and environmental causes of a range of diseases.

Formed in 1998 with a vision of fostering a high-level of collaboration between the State's medical researchers, our team has made, and continues to make, a number of internationally-important discoveries with the potential to deliver better health to the global community.
Currently, Perkins Institute is situated at two locations - The Queen Elizabeth II Medical Centre 6 Verdun Street, Nedlands WA 6009 and the Fiona Stanley Hospital 5 Robin Warren Drive, Murdoch WA 6150.
 
Cancer Gene Regulation
Cancer cells use a host of different mechanisms to bypass the normal checks and balances that stop cells dividing uncontrollably. An important part of this is the ability of the cancer cell to turn on and/or off important genes. The lab focuses on the role of nuclear organisation in these 'gene expression' decisions made by cancers.

Cancer Epigenetics

The Cancer Epigenetics Laboratory is a multidisciplinary group that focuses on the development of novel approaches to target cancers that are currently refractory to treatment and associated to poor outcome, such as triple negative breast cancers and serious ovarian cancers. At present, there are no targeted approaches to combat these tumors, with chemotherapy and radiation the only treatment options. The laboratory generates novel functionalised molecules able to specifically target these tumors with minimal toxicity to normal cells. Our emphasis is in advanced stage metastatic tumors, which quasi invariably develop resistance. Ultimately we wish to revert the behavior of metastatic cells by sensitising these treatment resistant tumors to chemotherapy regimes.


Cell Signalling
Both receptor and non-receptor protein tyrosine kinases are essential enzymes in cellular signalling processes regulating cell growth, differentiation, migration and metabolism. Considerable evidence implicates tyrosine kinases in the development of many types of cancer and leukaemia via their involvement in numerous growth factor signalling cascades. Members of the Src family of tyrosine kinases are signalling intermediates that can control aspects of these processes.

Centre for Cell Therapy and Regenerative Medicine http://www.medpharm.uwa.edu.au/research/cctrm

The Centre for Cell Therapy and Regenerative Medicine (CCTRM) facilitates collaborative research in the area of stem cell therapy and regenerative medicine, through local, national and international collaborative research networks.


Centre for Diabetes Research
Diabetes research undertaken at the Perkins operates under the business name The Centre for Diabetes Research. Our research is aimed at understanding and preventing diabetes and its complications. Diabetes is recognized as a major public health problem and is Australia's fifth "national health priority area". It is characterized by increased blood sugar levels, and has two major forms: type 1 diabetes, which results from the body's own immune system destroying the insulin-producing cells; and type 2 diabetes, which results from the person's growing inability to respond normally to insulin. Both forms of diabetes are caused by complex interactions between many genes and environmental factors. Our particular focus is on the genetics of type 1 diabetes.

Islet Cell Development Program
The Islet Cell Development Program focuses mainly on proliferation, differentiation, self-renewal and regeneration of pancreatic insulin-secreting ß cells, including the molecular mechanisms of these biological processes. The ultimate aim is to generate unlimited number of ß cells in vitro or stimulate patient's own progenitor/stem cells to become ß cells in vivo to cure this disease. Our research goal is to identify a cure for type 1 diabetes and some forms of type2 diabetes

Laboratory for Cancer Medicine  
The Laboratory for cancer medicine team works in the area of hormone-dependent cancers, particularly breast and prostate carcinomas. Breast and prostate cancers are two of the major killers in western society and their incidence is increasing.
The group is focussed primarily on determining the mechanisms that control how hormones act in these tumours.

Leukaemia  
Each year, around 1000 Australians are diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) and almost 800 Australians die annually from the disease. This aggressive cancer usually occurs in adults, but can also be diagnosed in children and teenagers. AML is a heterogeneous disease characterised by arrested maturation of immature progenitor cells in blood and bone marrow. Treatment for AML has remained largely unchanged for 40 years, with a continuing poor prognosis for many patients. In part, the failure to develop new successful therapies is due to the complex molecular changes that trigger the disease. The Leukaemia Research Group studies genes and molecular pathways that regulate haemopoiesis or blood cell production.


Linear Clnical Research https://www.linear.org.au

Linear Clinical Research is a purpose built state-of-the-art, clinical trials facility bringing world-first clinical trials to Western Australia and making innovative therapies available to the community. At Linear the focus is on its phase I facility to support first in human through to phase II clinical trials, including oncology studies. Linear have extensive experience in conducting both healthy volunteer and patient phase I trials, including adaptive healthy volunteer and patient protocol designs.



Metabolic Dysfunction  
It is generally acknowledged that current therapeutic strategies to arrest Type 2 diabetes have failed. It is of prime importance to develop new human therapeutics to alleviate Type 2 diabetes. Our team currently study the enzymes ADAM19 and ADAM28 and the growth factor, TNFSF14. We ultimately aim to identify novel molecular and cellular mechanisms which regulate obesity and Type 2 diabetes. Our mechanistic work utilises both cellular and in vivo approaches in both mice and humans. Successful completion of our experimental work will provide further evidence to support the development of therapeutics to treat human obesity and type 2 diabetes.

Mitochondrial Medicine and Biology
Mitochondria are microscopic, energy producing machines that are found in all human cells. Mitochondria are essential for the normal function and survival of all eukaryotic cells. Mitochondria contain a small set of genes that must work properly to make the energy our bodies require for health. Given their central role in providing energy for cells it is not surprising that mitochondrial dysfunction is involved in neurodegenerative disorders, diabetes, and cancer. Despite their importance the regulation of gene expression in mammalian mitochondria remains poorly understood. Defects in the expression of mitochondrial genes cause debilitating diseases for which there are no cures currently.We investigate RNA-binding proteins that regulate the stability, expression and translation of mitochondrial genes. We investigate the genetic causes of diseases caused by mitochondrial dysfunction and analyse the molecular mechanisms that cause pathology in the diseases. As well as unravelling the mysteries of mitochondrial genetics and biology we are interested in the development of gene therapy approaches and therapeutics to combat mitochondrial dysfunction in disease.

Molecular Endocrinology - Cell Regulation
Steroid receptor regulation by Hsp90 and immunophilin cochaperones
Our major goal is to understand how steroid hormones regulate cancer cell growth, particularly estrogens and androgens, since they are important in cancers of the breast and prostate. The action of these hormones in the cell is mediated by estrogen (ERa) and androgen (AR) receptors. In the absence of ligand steroid receptors undergo stepwise assembly with Hsp90 molecular chaperone machinery to a hormone-binding competent form in which the functionally mature receptor complex is stabilized by the cochaperone, p23 and consists of an Hsp90 dimer, together with one of the immunophilin cochaperones, CyP40, FKBP51 or FKBP52.
These immunophilins compete dynamically for a common binding site on Hsp90 and their assembly into mature receptor complexes is determined by their relative cellular expression and by unique receptor preferences for specific cochaperones, potentially allowing selected immunophilins to differentially modulate receptor activity. Our lab has shown that CyP40 is the preferred cochaperone for ERa, with induced overexpression and siRNA depletion of CyP40 in breast cancer MCF-7 cells resulting in increased and decreased ERa activity, respectively. On the other hand, FKBP51 and FKBP52 specifically regulate AR and glucocorticoid and progesterone receptors in cell and whole animal models.
 
Evidence from our own lab and from others has confirmed that all three Hsp90 cochaperones - FKBP51, FKBP52 and CyP40 - are positive regulators of AR-mediated prostate cancer growth. Thus, the targeting of individual chaperones by selective inhibitors presents potential treatment avenues for hormone-based diseases, including prostate cancer.

Molecular Endocrinology and Pharmacology
Endocrinology and Pharmacology are the study of how hormones and pharmaceuticals act in the body respectively. At the molecular and cellular level, the focus is upon the receptors in the cell membranes that bind the hormones and pharmaceuticals, transmitting or blocking specific signals into our cells. The laboratory's work is currently focused primarily on developing better treatments for kidney disease, cardiovascular disease and cancer.

Monoclonal Antibody Facility  
The Perkins Monoclonal Antibody Facility produces pure antibodies needed for medical or research purposes. Researchers and biotechnology companies have access to the custom-made antibodies necessary to develop new products such as diagnostic tools. Monoclonal antibodies have been used to successfully treat breast cancer, lymphoma, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, leukaemia and in transplants to minimise the chances of organ rejection.

Neurogenetic Diseases
The Laing Laboratory is one of the world's foremost laboratories in the investigation of the genetic causes of muscle diseases in newborn children.

The Laboratory was the first in the world to identify a gene for one sub-group of these disorders and later showed that many of the children affected with these diseases have mutations in one of the two most important proteins in muscle contraction. These results have helped families all round the world know the cause of their children's muscle problems.

We are now researching possible treatments for diseases where we have identified the genes, while at the same time continuing work to find other genes for muscle diseases. The Laboratory's reputation means that we receive samples for analysis from all round the world. The Laboratory is thus playing a leading role in a consortium of groups working towards defeating these diseases.

Translational Renal Research www.perkins.org.au/our-research/cardiovascular-diabetes-and-metabolism/translational-renal-research
One in six Australians has impaired kidney function, with one in three at risk of developing kidney disease. In most cases kidney disease is asymptomatic until almost all function is lost, making early diagnosis challenging. For people who progress to end stage (more than 2,000 people every year), outcomes are worse than for many cancers and the cost of providing renal replacement therapies is high; estimated at >$12b over the coming decade.

The Translational Renal Research group in focussed on improving outcomes for patients with renal diseases, by translating advances in basic science from the bench to the bedside.

Research is focused on the immune system and how it is affected by immunosuppression, particular in the setting of transplantation.

Targeted Drug Delivery, Imaging and Therapy www.perkins.org.au/our-research/cancer/targeted-drug-delivery-imaging-and-therapy
Our team focuses on developing strategies to specifically target diseases such as cancer and atherosclerosis for diagnostic imaging and local therapeutic interventions.

Vascular Biology and Stromal Targeting www.perkins.org.au/our-research/cancer/vascular-biology-and-stromal-targeting/
Changes in the tissue microenvironment, which is also called stroma, play a crucial role in disease progression. Our research program aims to understand how stromal cells are remodelled, and the extent to which stroma regulates inflammatory diseases such as cancer and atherosclerosis. We specifically target abnormal stromal features for early disease detection and monitoring of progressive disease.In addition, we have pioneered the field by demonstrating that stromal remodelling rather than destruction enhances drug and immune cell uptake into pathological lesions. Our novel therapeutic strategies involve disruption and re-programming of signalling networks between multiple stromal components to break the vicious cycle of disease progression and relapse.

Australian Genome Research Facility www.agrf.org.au
The Australian Genome Research Facility (AGRF) was established in 1997 as part of the Commonwealth Government's Major National Research Facility (MNRF) Program and operates out of five nodes.

In 2006, the Australian Government initiated a 5 year programme called the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS). AGRF receives funding through the NCRIS programme (see more) which is managed through BioPlatforms Australia Ltd (BPA).
In 2009, the Australian Government extended their infrastructure funding until 2013 through the Education Investment Fund (EIF) Super Science Initiative. AGRF is a recipient of EIF funds, managed again through BPA.

The AGRF supports genome research and genetic discovery across the entire biological spectrum, from viruses, bacteria, protozoa and fungi, to plants, animals and humans.
 
AGRF Perth will initially offer routine Sanger sequencing services, and will also act as an information gateway to AGRF national network of services incorporating state-of-the-art facilities, technology and expertise.

Busselton Population Medical Research Institute www.busseltonhealthstudy.com
"Busselton Health Study", one of the longest running epidemiological research programs in the world.
 
The residents of the town of Busselton, a coastal community in the south-west of Western Australia, have been involved in a series of health surveys since 1966. To date over 20,000 men, women & children of all ages have taken part in the surveys and have helped contribute to our understanding of many common diseases and health conditions.
 
The collection of population health data in Busselton was initiated by local GP Dr Kevin Cullen. His vision was to establish and conduct population health research in a community setting that would not only provide important information into the prevalence and causes of common diseases but also to empower participants to take an active role in their health and well-being. We believe the original aims of the Busselton Health Study as stated in 1966 in understanding disease and improving the health of the population continues today.
 
These aims are:

The Busselton Jetty
  1. To study the prevalence of common diseases in an Australian community
  2. To assess the range and variation of a large number of clinical and laboratory variables in a natural population
  3. To provide a community service in the detection, treatment and prevention of disease and in the education of the population
  4. To conduct longitudinal surveys for the study of risk factors related to health and disease
  5. To study mortality from specific diseases in an Australian population and to define the usefulness of risk factors in predicting such mortality

Centre for Nursing Research nursingaustralia.net/medical-division/
CNR is a vibrant and productive unit consisting of hospital staff and academic joint appointments. The purpose of CNR is to conduct high quality funded research that is clinically driven and internationally recognised. The focus of the Centre is to inform and advance nursing practice, influence policy development, and improve outcomes for patients and their families across all clinical areas of Charlies.

Heart and Vascular Research Institute  www.connectclinical.com.au/site/k5/The-Heart-Research-Institute-Sir-Charles-Gairdner-Hospital
Over the past 20 years, the Heart and Vascular Research Institute (HVRI) under the supervision of Professor Peter Thompson has grown from a small clinical trials unit attached to the Coronary Care Unit at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital to one of the largest Cardiovascular Clinical Trials units in the country. Over the years, it has conducted over 130 clinical trials on acute coronary syndromes, atrial fibrillation, new lipid lowering agents, new antithrombotic agents and new treatments and devices for cardiac failure. It is currently conducting about 15 clinical trials, as well as supervising registry studies in acute coronary syndromes, atrial fibrillation and coronary angioplasty. A dedicated staff with uniquely high standards, ably led by Louise Ferguson RN, has developed advanced skills in the conduct of cardiovascular clinical trials and the HRI is routinely one of the first centres in Australia to be approached for participation in international cardiovascular trials. 

In addition to its cardiovascular clinical trials activities, the HRI conducts studies on vascular biology, cardiovascular genomics, cardiovascular epidemiology and indigenous heart disease in collaboration with scientists in the Perkins Institute, Pathwest, UWA School of Population Health and national and with international collaborators at University of Sydney, Monash University, Harvard University, Duke University and McMaster University. There has been a steady stream of Masters and PhD students who have received their research training at the HRI.

In recent year, the HVRI has been the recipient of many large industry grants, NHMRC Projects grants and a NHMRC Practitioner Fellowship, based on its strong research programme and the highly productive output of publications in the top ranks of international medical journals. 
Lions Eye Institute www.lei.org.au
The Lions Eye Institute was established in 1983 and rapidly became a global centre for ophthalmological care and first-class scientific research into the prevention of blindness.
 
Our activities are underpinned by a continuous improvement program and worldwide collaborative research as we strive to achieve our mission – excellence in scientific research and clinical practice to prevent blindness.
 
Our Clinical Services are internationally recognized for providing high-quality care, a dedicated, passionate and professional team, continued investment in the latest equipment and technology, ongoing ISO 9001 accreditation and strong patient satisfaction ratings.
 
Our scientists work in close association with our clinicians to bring laboratory generated ideas and techniques to the level where they can be of benefit to people suffering blinding eye conditions. Our patients benefit by receiving the most advanced treatments available anywhere in the world.

Institute for Respiratory Health www.resphealth.org.au
Institute for Respiratory Health (IFRH) is a leading research organisation dedicated to fighting diseases such as asthma, chronic bronchitis & emphysema (COPD), bronchiectasis, lung cancer and pneumonia.

IFRH's internationally recognised scientists and clinicians conduct research to better understand and treat lung disease.

For the six million Australians who struggle to take a breath, IFRH offers support and hope for a healthier future.

Proteomics International www.proteomics.com.au
 It's about proteins and discovery!
 
Proteomics International is both a drug discovery company and contract service provider, focused on sophisticated analysis for the biological research market.
 
High quality ISO/IEC 17025 accredited, quick and affordable protein identification, analytical and characterisation services are routinely provided. Proteomics International combines the most advanced high throughput mass spectrometry instrumentation (MALDI TOF-TOF, LC/MS/MS and Qtrap) and a strong team of qualified scientists with proven expertise and extensive experience in protein and peptide chemistry.
 
The company has two focal research activities; analysis of venoms and the discovery and use of biomarkers from human, animal and plant tissue. Skills developed from these research programs are incorporated into the sophisticated suite of specialist contract research techniques provided to clients. Proteomics International, incorporated in 2001, is based in Perth, Western Australia and has established itself as an industry leader in the delivery of contract research and lead molecule discovery services in the Asia Pacific region. The company boasts and impressive array of clients from the pharmaceutical industry and the company has established strategic partnerships with key research stakeholders in Singapore, Australia and India for discovery purposes

UWA School of Medicine and Pharmacology www.medpharm.uwa.edu.au
Our School has a renowned research program, carried out in laboratories, hospitals and in the community at a patient level. The research spans the breadth of medical research. We offer courses in clinical medicine, pharmacology and pharmacy to medical, science and dental students. Acknowledged leaders in medical education supervise our clinical teaching program.

Diabetes research undertaken at the Perkins operates under the business name The Centre for Diabetes Research. Our research is aimed at understanding and preventing diabetes and its complications. Diabetes is recognized as a major public health problem and is Australia's fifth "national health priority area". It is characterized by increased blood sugar levels, and has two major forms: type 1 diabetes, which results from the body's own immune system destroying the insulin-producing cells; and type 2 diabetes, which results from the person's growing inability to respond normally to insulin. Both forms of diabetes are caused by complex interactions between many genes and environmental factors. Our particular focus is on the genetics of type 1 diabetes.

UWA CMCA www.cmca.uwa.edu.au/

Ph: (08)6488 2770
We enable research excellence by providing world class microscopy and microanalysis facilities and expertise to publicly funded researchers and industry.

Western Australian Melanoma Advisory Service https://perkins.org.au/kirkbride/
Cancer cells use a host of different mechanisms to bypass the normal checks and balances that stop cells dividing uncontrollably. An important part of this is the ability of the cancer cell to turn on and/or off important genes. The lab focuses on the role of nuclear organisation in these 'gene expression' decisions made by cancers.
 
 
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