Monash welcomes veski international fellows

24 July 2015

The secrets to the human brain and chronic inflammatory diseases could be uncovered with the arrival of two international researchers to Monash University.

Sydney Dental School
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Associate Professor Roger Pocock from Denmark and Professor Colby Zaph from Canada, are two of the three Victorian veski innovation fellows named this week (July 19–25).
Since 2004, veski innovation fellowships have brought outstanding international scientists and researchers, typically in the top five per cent of their respective fields, to Victoria.
Along with their innovative research programs and strong industry contacts, the fellows bring outstanding young researchers from their previous laboratories to continue their research in their new labs.
Studying the brains of tiny worms at Monash University using an injection of a fluorescent jelly fish protein, Associate Professor Pocock is focused on better understanding degenerative brain diseases.
He is in the trenches building a foundation, which he hopes will one day hold the answer to treating diseases such as schizophrenia.
“We’re at the ground level trying to find out how various genes in the brain are working and we’re going to use that information with industry links in the future to hopefully identify drug targets,” Associate Professor Pocock said.
Also at Monash, Professor Colby Zaph is helping Victoria focus on claiming its share of the $70 billion global pharmaceutical market for the treatment of inflammatory diseases and immune deficiencies, including irritable bowel syndrome and asthma.
His lab is working on defining the cellular and molecular mechanisms that control immunity and inflammation, ready for translation to industry.
“Our research program is focussed on working with industrial partners to develop novel therapeutics that will transform the treatment of chronic inflammatory diseases such as IBD,” Professor Zaph said.
What is veski?
veski was officially launched on May 10, 2004 and continues to receive annual funding from the State Government of Victoria, which it builds upon through strategic partnerships and collaborations with business, academic and philanthropic organisations.
veski’s vision is to foster an innovation economy. Their mission is to identify globally competitive individuals and leading researchers and bring them to Victoria for the benefit of the Australian economy.
Each year, veski delivers a dynamic program of fellowships, awards and international networks including the veski innovation fellowships. This established and prestigious program brings Australian expatriates and leading researchers, with outstanding skills in science and innovative technology, typically in the top five percent of their respective fields, to Victoria.

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