Research at CIMR
Although our objective is determining and understanding the molecular mechanisms of disease, CIMR is not a disease-specific institute. Some of our research groups work to understand fundamental biological processes in healthy cells. There are major ongoing strengths in medical genetics, immunology, structural biology applied to medicine, molecular cell biology and developmental/stem cell biology, which are brought to bear on a number of diseases. There are also four major research themes that transcend individual research groups. These are:
Misfolded proteins and disease
Protein misfolding and aggregation underlie many human disorders and are the focus of much research within CIMR. The central theme is to understand the pathways by which misfolded proteins cause 'conformational diseases' in an attempt to develop novel therapeutic strategies.
Intracellular membrane traffic
It has been estimated that up to a third of the human genome repertoire encodes membrane proteins and proteins which are part of the machinery of membrane traffic necessary to direct membrane proteins to the intracellular sites at which they function. CIMR scientists work on both the detailed mechanisms by which proteins are sorted and targeted within cells on the secretory and endocytic pathways as well as abnormalities of protein sorting in disease.
The immune system has evolved to defend us from infection, but defects in the regulation of immunity can give rise to autoimmune disease. Increasingly the work of immunologists in CIMR has focussed on mechanisms which increase susceptibility to, or protection from, autoimmune disease. The Diabetes and Inflammation Laboratory (DIL) provides a well resourced and and focused effort to elucidate the genetics and mechanisms of the common autoimmune disease Type1 Diabetes.
Haematopoietic stem cell biology
Haematopoiesis is the best studied adult stem cell system. CIMR houses a developing consortium of several groups that are focusing on complementary aspects of haematopoetic stem cell biology and are particularly interested in the transcriptional networks controlling differentiation and renewal..