Recognition for top cell death research

Researchers from La Trobe University and the University of Melbourne are among a team of Walter and Eliza Hall Institute scientists who have been recognised for their outstanding contributions to international cell death research.

The eleven-member team was today awarded the 2015 Thomson Reuters Citation Award in Molecular Biology and Genetics.

For the past seven years, research published by these scientists has been the most frequently cited of any Australian scholars in these fields.

Their work has shown that defects in the molecules that control cell death are linked to diseases including cancer and inflammatory conditions such as Crohn's disease.

It has also underpinned the development and clinical trials of agents that promote the death of diseased cells.

Associate Professor John Silke, who holds a joint appointment at La Trobe University and Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, accepted the award on behalf of the group.

First leukaemia clinical trials

He said: 'One exciting outcome of this research has been that Australians with leukaemia were amongst the first in the world to participate in clinical trials of new potential anti-cancer agents.'

Australian research has made many important contributions to the global understanding of cell death, he added.

'The award recognises the expertise our team has developed over several decades.

'As well as understanding how cells die, we have always focused on using this knowledge to improve health, through developing agents that interact with the cell death machinery.'

Full list of researchers

The full list of researchers is: Associate Professor John Silke, Holly Anderton, Professor Peter Colman, Dr Doug Fairlie, Professor David Huang, Dr Seong Lin Khaw, Dr Erinna Lee, Professor Andrew Roberts, Professor David Vaux, Professor Andreas Strasser and Dr James Vince.

Dr Silke holds a joint appointment at La Trobe University while Professor Vaux and Dr Vince conducted some of the research at La Trobe. Professors Colman, Huang, Roberts, Strasser and Vaux hold appointments at the University of Melbourne.

Contacts: Ernest  Raetz, Media and Communications, 0412 261 919.

The photo shows Dr Silke, left, Dr Vince and Professor Vaux, right, at their La Trobe Laboratory.