Mr Sam Lane has been awarded a NSW Health PhD Partnerships Program stipend.

This program, funded by NSW Health, aims to create linkages between academia and industry to facilitate drug discovery. The PhD scholarship enables building of collaborations between Michael Kassiou’s Drug Discovery laboratory and Inventia Life Sciences, a biotech company commercialising 3D bioprinting technology. This partnership will help accelerate the Kassiou Drug Discovery lab’s work developing screening platforms that increase translatability of drug discovery for neurodegenerative diseases. The first step in drug screening is usually performed in cell cultures that only contain one brain cell type grown on a flat surface in 2-dimensions. Many drugs screened in these models showed signs of success, but went on to fail in clinical trials. One reason for this may have been that these initial models were too simplistic as the brain contains many cell types that grow in 3-dimensions. The work conducted as part of the NSW Health PhD Partnerships Program will enable development of multicellular 3D central nervous system cultures that better resemble the brain to test new drugs on.

Mr Sam Lane was also recently awarded funding from the Margaret Ethel Jew Fund for this work. In addition, the Kassiou Drug Discovery Lab was awarded funds from The University of Sydney’s Commercial Development and Industry Partnerships division for PhD student Michael Sullivan to work with Inventia Biosciences to optimise the ‘ink’ required for printing these 3D models and commence initial exploration of these models. This work will be facilitated by the recent purchase of Inventia Life Science’s 3D printer, the Rastrum, funded by the University of Sydney’s Drug Discovery.