A Flinders finalist for the Telstra women’s awards, graduate flies high on a medicine degree foundation, and Flinders researchers share kudos for a research breakthrough in autoimmune diseases.
Women’s business nomination for digital development
Kerrie Campbell, Flinders’ Chief Information Officer of Information and Digital Services, has been named one of the state finalists of the Telstra Business Women’s awards for the government/academic sector.
“I’m delighted to be in contention among such a strong and distinguished field,” says Ms Campbell. “Whatever the outcome, recognition of the digital transformation being made at Flinders is the best prize of all, because that is a great development in which everyone shares.”
She will attend the Telstra Business Women’s Awards dinner at Adelaide Oval on April 2 2020, where state finalists in four categories will be announced and eligible to compete in the national awards later this year.
Flying high with a Flinders education
Flinders graduate Dr Brendan Nelson is among the ranks of the University’s highest achieving alumni, and was recently announced as head of Boeing Australia, NZ and South Pacific.
His latest promotion comes off the back of a stellar career that has included roles of Federal Government ministers, leader of Australia’s Liberal Party, and Ambassador to Belgium, Luxembourg, the European Union and NATO.
“I didn’t realise how privileged and fortunate I was to have the education I had received at Flinders University until I had left. In hindsight, I was so lucky; I got the right lottery ticket,” he says.
Dr Nelson studied medicine at Flinders and commenced his career as a medical practitioner. Read more
Breakthrough in autoimmune diseases
Flinders researchers including Head of Immunology Professor Tom Gordon, Dr Jing Wang (lead researcher), Dr Tim Chataway (head of proteomics) and Dr Alex Collela (bioinformatics expert) are among a team that has for the first time pinpointed individual cells that cause autoimmune diseases.
The major study, published in Cell journal last week, was led by the Garvan Institute of Medical Research as part of the visionary Hope Research program.
There are more than 100 autoimmune diseases. What unites them is their development from an individual’s own cells – rare and mysterious immune cells that target the body’s own healthy organs and tissues.
Because ‘rogue’ immune cells are so rare in a blood sample – less than one in 400 cells – studying them has been a challenge.
The Flinders team was a key partner to recruit patients and identify the cells. Professor Gordon says rheumatoid factor autoantibody peptide ‘barcodes’ from patients with Sjögren’s syndrome, a systemic autoimmune disease that affects the entire body, were sequenced directly from patient sera by mass spectrometry in the state-of-the-art Flinders Proteomics Facility.
“They were then integrated with the paired single cell autoantibody transcriptomic data. In this way the ‘rogue cell clones’ could be identified and their progression mapped to pathogenic (disease causing) autoantibody clones.”
The study also uncovered how these cells ‘go rogue’ by evading checkpoints that normally stop immune cells from targeting the body’s own tissues.
The findings could have significant implications for the diagnosis and treatment of autoimmune disease, which affects one in eight individuals in Australia.