La Trobe Future Fellows awarded $1.5m

A new print archive depicting Indigenous Australians from the colonial era and studies into the mechanisms of cell death to help treat disease have been supported by two Government Future Fellowships announced today.

The Australian Research Council (ARC) Fellowships, worth a total of $1,518,207, went to archaeologist and historian Dr Liz Conor and biochemist Dr Erinna Lee.  

The Future Fellowship scheme provides four-year fellowships to support outstanding Australian mid-career researchers.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), Professor Keith Nugent, said the scheme is exceptionally competitive. Only fifty fellowships are awarded across the entire sector.

'To secure two of these prestigious fellowships is strong endorsement of the high quality of La Trobe University's research community,' Professor Nugent said.

'It places us equal ninth in Australia for the numbers awarded and tenth in terms of dollars.

'This aligns with the La Trobe's recent Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) outcome of being one of Victoria's top three research universities – and in the top ten in Australia,' he said.
 
Project details

Dr Liz Conor, Graphic Encounters: Colonial Prints and the Inscription of Aboriginality, awarded $800,015.

This project plans to collate the archive of prints depicting Indigenous Australians, from national and international collections, to ask how people's place in this newly encroached territory was inscribed by colonial prints.

Before the 1890s, prints (engravings, etchings and lithographs) were the principal means of reproducing images. Prints disseminated imagery of Indigenous people and determined how they were 'put in the picture' of settlement.

Our colonial era cultural heritage includes many prints of Aborigines, yet they have been overlooked and the story of their production, dissemination and consumption is untold.

This project aims to collate and trace this visual archive of Indigenous Australians and present its imagery to all Australians, including descendants, in an exhibition and conference, catalogue, monograph and online database.
 
Dr Erinna Lee, Crosstalk between cell survival and cell death pathways, awarded $718,192.

This project aims to determine the precise molecular mechanisms underlying cell fate decisions. The dynamics between cell survival (autophagy) and cell death (apoptosis) are complex, involving significant crosstalk between these pathways.

This is fundamentally important to cellular processes. Aberrant control of autophagy and apoptosis affects the function of all organisms as well as the development and treatment of diseases ranging from cancer to heart disease.

This project endeavours to advance our understanding of the proteins that interconnect autophagy and apoptosis. The results are expected to explain how cells determine their fate and inform future development of strategies to treat disease.

Image: iStock

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