Agreement gives UTS scientists new tools for pioneering solutions

Professor Greg Skilbeck, Rod Minett and Professor Philip Doble

Professor Greg Skilbeck, Rod Minett and Professor Philip Doble

In summary: 
  • UTS has signed an agreement with premier biotechnology product development company, Thermo Fisher Scientific
  • The collaboration includes the establishment of a proof of concepts lab equipped with cutting-edge instrumentation to deliver innovative solutions in life sciences and healthcare

The University of Technology Sydney (UTS) has signed a three-year agreement with Thermo Fisher Scientific whereby the world leader in serving science will provide instruments and expertise to support the new UTS proof of concepts facility for applications in science and health.

"This is a very exciting partnership with the potential to have a huge impact in pioneering solutions and technologies," says Assistant Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Greg Skilbeck.

"UTS has a long history of successful innovation and engagement with industry. With the announcement of the National Innovation and Science Agenda in November, those core UTS strengths have also become national priorities."

Housed in the Faculty of Science, the proof of concepts laboratory will be used to test novel approaches to using new instrumentation. Under the collaborative agreement, UTS will supply the facilities and researcher expertise, and Thermo Fisher will provide cutting-edge equipment. The company will also actively collaborate with UTS researchers on innovative research related to the environment, food and beverage, industrial processes, pharma and biopharma and medical diagnostics.

UTS Professor of Analytical Chemistry Philip Doble says having access to such an impressive array of instrumentation will "dramatically increase our research capacity". He cites the Thermo Scientific Neptune Plus high resolution multicollector ICP-MS system – an instrument that measures the masses and relative concentrations of atoms and molecules in a sample with unprecedented sensitivity – as an example.

"The Neptune offers the possibility of increasing imaging acquisition speeds by up to 100 times. This will allow you to do three dimensional brain reconstructions of elements within a day as opposed to a week.

"So it becomes more practical, and that means that you can start applying this to mouse models for various diseases including Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease. Previously that wasn't practicable because of the large instrument time and cost."

Thermo Fisher will also provide instruments for proteomic research (the large-scale study of proteins) for applications such as biomarker discovery and infectious disease analysis as well as uses in forensic analysis.

Thermo Fisher Scientific Australia's Director of Analytical Instruments, Rod Minett says the benefits of the proof of concepts lab are reciprocal. "Not only will it contribute to Thermo Fisher's broader vision of corporate citizenship by making the technology accessible to the scientific community, it has potential to generate innovations."

More broadly, the partnership aims to deliver life science and healthcare solutions, collaborative research, development of shared training programs and development of new technologies. The agreement also includes scope for practical training for students as well as collaboration on industry-relevant teaching programs, industry placements and internships.

"As part of its commitment to serving science, Thermo Fisher believes in nurturing tomorrow's scientists," says Minett. "Participating in this innovative initiative will enable us to do just that."

Health and Science