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Most recently, mRNA therapeutics have received considerable acclaim for their potential to rapidly transition into clinical practice, particularly in areas such as vaccine development, infectious diseases, cancer and rare genetic diseases. However, cardiometabolic diseases have not yet been a focus.

To address this, we are pioneering mRNA-based therapeutic strategies for addressing unmet therapeutic needs in cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. We have launched a Centre for Cardiometabolic mRNA Therapy, compounding our unique scientific capabilities with our Melbourne location, already home to some of the global industry and scientific leaders in mRNA technology.

Our focus

The Centre brings together researchers from several fields, with complementary skills and technological capabilities, to harness the transformative power of mRNA-based therapies to address the global burden of cardiometabolic diseases. Our Centre aims to optimise and test mRNA constructs and carrier designs for enhanced stability, transfection efficacy, and therapeutic potential.

Expanding on our expertise in nanoparticles, we intend to explore innovative designs of different nanoparticle platforms, tailoring them to specific diseases and ensuring precise targeting without off-target accumulation. Given the chronic and progressive nature of cardiometabolic diseases, the sustained effects of mRNA therapy hold significant promise.

Our capabilities

We have extensive expertise in nanobiotechnology, the design and formulation of various nanoparticles, including polymer- and lipid-nanoparticles. We have established a suite of capabilities that allow molecular, structural and size characterisation of nanoparticles. Within the Baker Institute, we have an array of nanoparticle analysers, flow cytometry and multiphoton microscopy. We have access to high-end electron microscopes for the visualisation of nanoparticles via collaborations with Melbourne and Monash University.

Our advanced analyses of the structural characterisation and composition of nanoparticles are performed in collaboration with ANSTO using state-of-the-art X-ray and neutron scattering beamlines. We have already used various nanoparticles for the packaging of anti-inflammatory mRNA. Our researchers have expertise in nanobiotechnologies, including bioengineering of recombinant antibodies, and a variety of conjugation techniques to design and generate targeted nanoparticles, for disease-specific mRNA delivery. Furthermore, we have developed molecular imaging capabilities that are uniquely suited to assess and optimise the in vivo biodistribution of therapeutic nanoparticles. Finally, we have developed unique mouse models of cardiometabolic diseases such as unstable atherosclerosis, myocardial infarction, hypertension, heart failure, fatty liver and diabetes, to test novel mRNA therapies.

We also have strong external collaborators ranging in expertise from polymer and lipid chemistry to generation of novel nanoparticles (University of Melbourne and Monash University), design and clinical-grade large-scale production of mRNA (University of Tübingen and University of Queensland BASE mRNA facility), imaging specialists to visualised nanoparticles, cellular uptake via super-resolution microscopy and in vivo MRI/optical/ultrasound imaging (Monash University and Heinrich Heine Universität), as well as physics specialists determining the composition and structural properties of our novel particles via Neutron scattering (ANSTO).

Centre leads

Our researchers

Work with us

We’d love to hear from you if you are:

  • an established researcher in industry or academia, looking for a collaboration opportunity
  • an early-career researcher seeking a research role
  • a student looking to pursue a postgraduate research degree in this field.

Contact us

E: mRNA@baker.edu.au

Support us

With the rising number of Australians affected by diabetes, heart disease and stroke, the need for research is more critical than ever.

Find out more