LIMS: research centre to benefit Bendigo

Vice-Chancellor Professor John Dewar and Ms Sharon Bird MP, Parliamentary Secretary for Higher Education and Skills, today officially launched the La Trobe Institute for Molecular Science (LIMS), a centre that will continue to grow the University’s world-class research in molecular science, biotechnology and nanotechnology.

LIMSThe $100 million complex includes the iconic LIMS building, a stunning six-storey, molecular sciences research hub with 34 research and support laboratories nestled in the heart of the Melbourne campus. The project is the outcome of generous support from the Commonwealth Government, and La Trobe University funds.

Chemistry and pharmacy students at La Trobe University’s Bendigo Campus will have improved access to internationally renowned researchers through LIMS and the Institute’s new facilities.

‘LIMS is committed to making a significant contribution to training Australian scientists by stimulating an interest in science amongst secondary students through outreach programs,’ said Dr Katherine Legge, Associate Dean (Regional), Faculty of Science Technology and Engineering (FSTE).

The Faculty of Science, Technology and Engineering currently runs an outreach program for high school students, funded through a Higher Education Participation and Partnerships Program grant. Access to LIMS experts and facilities will enhance their learning experience.

‘These programs are about bringing students to La Trobe to demonstrate the career prospects in the sciences.’

Researchers at the Bendigo Campus recently attended an information session and workshop on how to best utilise the facilities for their postgraduate projects.

‘La Trobe is one of Australia’s top research universities in the fields of cell biology and biochemistry, and the brilliant labs and facilities our researchers can access at LIMS will help bolster our lead in these important disciplines,’ Professor Dewar said.

‘La Trobe is committed to research that helps to solve global problems and improve the welfare of human societies, and the work we are doing at LIMS is a great example of how we are putting this into action,’ added Professor Dewar.

Parliamentary Secretary for Higher Education and Skills, Ms Bird said the Excellence in Research Australia (ERA) 2012 report reveals that four of La Trobe’s research areas are well above world standards – analytical chemistry, biochemistry and cell biology, microbiology and veterinary sciences.

‘This is an achievement La Trobe can rightfully be proud of and demonstrates the great value of the new LIMS building,’ Ms Bird said.

‘There are enormous challenges facing humankind in addressing major questions relating to human health and food security,’ says Professor Brian McGaw, Executive Dean FSTE.

‘These challenges come at a time where we face new diseases, antibiotic resistance, climate change and a growing population.’

‘LIMS already has an international reputation for its research into the basis of human, plant and animal disease, and in driving technological approaches to combating disease,’ says Professor McGaw. ‘The LIMS complex, with its capacity for multi-disciplinary research, is crucial to our ability to meet future research challenges, as well as attracting the best students to study with us.

‘LIMS aims to train the next generation of scientists in these areas, to translate findings into commercial products, and to develop outreach programs to engage school students. This isn't just important for the research activities here at La Trobe, but also for sustaining the knowledge economy and the prosperity of Victoria and Australia into the future.’

Professor Nick Hoogenraad, Head of the School of Molecular Sciences, says that the new LIMS complex will allow academics and researchers from chemistry, biochemistry and genetics to work together to achieve results that would not be possible in traditional academic settings.

‘The LIMS building has been designed to change work habits and to allow interaction between different groups. Integrating the research activities of the various departments allows more collaboration between researchers,’ he says.

The building has been innovatively designed by Lyons Architects. The eye-catching exterior is matched by creative teaching and work spaces that are designed to promote collaboration, interaction, and efficient use of space.


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