Heredity – it’s not all in your DNA

Posted on March 5, 2013

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The new LIMS lecturer theatre

The new LIMS lecturer theatre

It was straight down to business after the launch of the La Trobe Institute for Molecular Science (LIMS) in February.

Top international scientists and leading La Trobe researchers followed the official event by taking part in an inaugural scientific symposium to help celebrate the opening of the iconic $100 million building.

Discussion ranged from advances in protein chemistry to a fascinating field of research called ‘epigenetics’. This deals with heritable changes in gene expression that does not involving changes to the underlying DNA.

LIMS Director Professor Emma Whitelaw, one of the key Australian researchers at the symposium, is a specialist in this research. Her work focuses on understanding the complex genetic and environment interactions that cause diseases such as obesity, heart disease, diabetes and foetal alcohol syndrome.

High level of interest

Professor Nick Hoogenraad, who is Executive Director of LIMS, said the symposium resulted from a high level of interest in La Trobe’s new LIMS complex from within Australia’s scientific community.

Professor Whitelaw at the symposium

Professor Whitelaw at the symposium

Professor Ulrich Hartl from Germany’s Max Planck Institute for Biochemistry and Professor So Iwata from Imperial College, London, gave the keynote addresses at the symposium.

Professor Hartl won the highly respected Lasker Prize in 2011. Both researchers were in Australia as speakers at the prestigious annual Lorne Conference on Protein Structure and Function.

Professor Hoogenraad said the symposium was a ‘wonderful opportunity for the scientific community to not only hear from world-renowned scientists, but also to see the splendid new LIMS complex’. – Suzi Macbeth

More article on the La Trobe Institute for Molecular Science

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