Prof Dawson - Australia-First Winner of Global Haematology Award

3 February

Peter Mac’s Prof Mark Dawson has been named the 2020 recipient of the McCulloch & Till Award from the International Society for Experimental Haematology – the first time an Australian has received the honour.

Established in 2004 in honour of Prof Ernest McCulloch and Prof James Till, two pioneers in the field of haematology – the study of blood and its components - this award recognises exceptional mid-career scientists from around the world.

Marking ISEH’s 70th year as the world’s peak body for experimental haematology, Prof Dawson was awarded the McCullogh & Till Award for his significant contributions to advancing knowledge in the areas of basic haematology, immunology, stem cell research, cell and gene therapy.

Prof Dawson is a clinician-scientist at Peter Mac, working both as a Consultant Haematologist as well as Group Leader for a team of researchers aimed at deciphering the role that epigenetics plays in the initiation, maintenance and progression of aggressive blood cancers such as acute myeloid leukaemia.

His scientific discoveries have led to the development and characterisation of new approaches to cancer treatment targeting the epigenetic machinery. As an active clinician he has led several clinical trials and coordinated large international translational research studies to help understand what determines response and resistance to epigenetic therapies in haematological cancers.

“It is truly an honour to have received this award, and for my contributions to the haematology field to be recognised by ISEH,” says Prof Dawson.

“Most importantly, this is a wonderful acknowledgement of the hard work and commitment of the incredible team of researchers that come together every day to tackle some of the biggest challenges facing people with blood cancer.”

As part of his award, Prof Dawson will deliver a scientific lecture to international leaders in haematology research at the ISEH Annual Meeting in New York in August.

 “It is humbling to join what is an amazing list of previous awardees, including some of the biggest names in haematology research over the past 17 years,” says Prof Dawson.

As the first Australian scientist to receive this honour, Prof Dawson says this is proof that Australians can match it with the best researchers in the world.

“I hope that our emerging researchers see that Melbourne, and in particular Peter Mac, is an incredible place to do research. The work we do here can make a real impact for people with cancer across the globe.”


Source: Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre

#1 most read paper of 2019 - Prof Marsland's Nature MucosalImmunology publication

2 January

Microbes, metabolites, and the gut–lung axis by Anh Thu Dang & Professor Benjamin Marsland 


Click here to access the paper.


The microbiota plays an essential role in the education, development, and function of the immune system, both locally and systemically. Emerging experimental and epidemiological evidence highlights a crucial cross-talk between the intestinal microbiota and the lungs, termed the ‘gut–lung axis’. Changes in the constituents of the gut microbiome, through either diet, disease or medical interventions (such as antibiotics) is linked with altered immune responses and homeostasis in the airways. The importance of the gut–lung axis has become more evident following the identification of several gut microbe-derived components and metabolites, such as short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), as key mediators for setting the tone of the immune system. Recent studies have supported a role for SCFAs in influencing hematopoietic precursors in the bone marrow—a major site of innate and adaptive immune cell development. Here, we review the current understanding of host–microbe cross-talk along the gut–lung axis. We highlight the importance of SCFAs in shaping and promoting bone marrow hematopoiesis to resolve airway inflammation and to support a healthy homeostasis.

veski innovation fellow Richard Sandberg awarded an INCITE project

20 November

Principal Investigator and veski innovation fellow Professor Richard Sandberg and Co-Investigator Yaomin Zhao have been awarded an INCITE project through the US Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science, who provide a portfolio of national high-performance computing facilities housing some of the world’s most advanced supercomputers. These leadership computing facilities enable world-class research for significant advances in science. Along with three additional co-investigators from General Electric Aviation, they were awarded 525,000 node hours on IBM AC922 (Summit) at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

The award of 525,000 node hours on the fastest supercomputer in the world is equivalent to more than the entire merit allocation in Australia (for all researchers in all fields) and worth approximately $14 million if it was on Australian machines, with Summit having a peak performance of 200,000 trillion calculations per second.

Gas turbines are—and will continue to be—the backbone of aircraft propulsion, power generation, and mechanical drive due to their power density (i.e., thrust per unit engine weight), efficiency, and ability to adjust to rapidly varying loads. In the US alone, the natural gas and oil burn summed up to 27 × 1012 cubic feet and 6.3 × 109 barrels of oil equivalent respectively in 2015. Therefore, even at the current fuel price, a small engine performance improvement does have a fuel-spend advantage of the billion-dollar order, together with a significant CO2 emission benefit.

The Melbourne/GE team is exploiting the capability of the very efficient computational fluid dynamics code, the High-Performance Solver for Turbulence and Aeroacoustic Research (HiPSTAR) developed by Sandberg’s research group, to perform the first-of-a-kind direct numerical simulation of high-pressure turbine stages with realistic geometry and at engine-relevant conditions.

The generated data will shed light on the detailed fundamental flow physics—in particular the behavior of transitional and turbulent boundary layers affected by large-scale violent freestream turbulence—under strong pressure gradient and curvature. It will also help evaluate and develop lower-order models readily applicable to gas turbine designs. With the results, it will be possible to identify opportunities to increase turbine aerothermal efficiency by 2–4 percent and extend hot-gas-path durability. This would translate into combined cycle efficiency gains of 0.4–0.8 percent and thus have a significant economic and environmental impact.

Courtesy of the University of Melbourne & Oakridge National Laboratory US. 


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