2014 NHMRC Menzies Fellow
Scholarship biography (at time of award)
Dr David Riglar was awarded the NHMRC/RG Menzies Fellowship to investigate cell-signalling pathways, particularly focusing on how cells within a population differ in their response to type-1 interferons – a class of cytokine important for protection from viral infections and the prevention of various cancers.
Dr Riglar will utilise new approaches, including synthetic biology, to gain a better understanding of signalling processes and will investigate how we can more effectively design drugs to target only the diseased cells, thus reducing treatment side-effects.
Dr Riglar will undertake the first two years of his Fellowship in the Department of Systems Biology at Harvard Medical School and the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering. On return to Australia David will continue his research at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research in Melbourne.
Studied at: Harvard Medical School; Wyss Insitute for Biologically Inspired Engineering; WEHI
David is investigating new approaches to measure transient events in the mammalian gut. Limitations to non-invasive interrogation of this complex environment make diagnosis and monitoring of gut diseases difficult, slow, and often unreliable. In particular, current techniques are either invasive and costly, such as colonoscopy, or rely on the extremely limited set of indirect biomarkers that are stable enough to be excreted in feces. The same methodological limitations have broader impacts also, with many fundamental questions unanswered on a more basic level. For example, current technology is unable to measure the growth dynamics of individual bacteria. This question, however, is central to understanding colonisation of the gut by pathogens and probiotics alike. To address these issues David and his colleagues are developing engineered bacteria as sensors of the mammalian gut. Using these bacteria as tools he aims to better understand gut function and to better detect, understand and treat gut disorders.
Scholarship Year: 2014
Fields of Interest
Cellular biology, Medicine