There were happy faces recently, when two PhD candidates in the Spinal Injury Project lab at Griffith University found out that they were awarded the prestigious Tony B. Academic Travel Award application by the Society for Laboratory Automation and Screening’s Program Committee to present their research at the SLAS2020 International Conference and Exhibition.
The conference is scheduled to be held from January 25-29, 2020 in beautiful San Diego, California, USA. The award was granted to Ms Lynn Nazareth and Dr Souptik Basu, both mid-way through their PhD degree. The SIP lab has had great success with this award in the past where it was previously awarded to team members Mr Mo Chen, Dr Ramya Mandyam and Dr Marie-Laure Vial.
Lynn will be presenting her research into creating a screening technique using microscopic images of glial cells (a type of supporting cell found in the brain and spinal cord – of which one type is the Olfactory Ensheathing Cell, which the SIP lab is using in the spinal cord injury cellular therapy) to detect bacterial infections in glial cells. Lynn has combined the screening technique with “drug-discovery” to find chemicals that prompt the glial cells to ‘eat-up’ bacteria that can get into the brain and spinal cord. It is believed that the OECs can clean-up bacteria that might be present during the cell therapy transplantation or due to spinal cord injury.
Souptik will be presenting his research that looks at a combined “growth factor” treatment for spinal cord injury. Growth factors are proteins found naturally in the body and Souptik is investigating whether increasing the amount of these proteins will stimulate immune cells (one type is known as a macrophage) to enhance their normal processes, such as ‘cell-eating’ and cleaning up infection and cellular rubbish, after injury.
Congratulations to both Lynn and Souptik, and we hope that their research is well-received at the conference early next year.