Australia’s animals have evolved in relative isolation for millions of years. As such, they have valuable lessons to teach the world about the possibilities and limits of life: Australian species often do things differently. Researchers at the University of Melbourne are deeply engaged in unearthing and understanding Australia’s fascinating fauna. From the behaviour of fairy wrens and insects, to the genetic underpinnings of foetal development, or assembling the genome of the Thylacine, our researchers are at the forefront of fundamental biological research. As well as its own intrinsic value, the breadth of capacity at University of Melbourne means that such research often leads to new applications.
Fundamental work on the genomics of marsupial development, for example, led to the identification of novel milk proteins and anti-microbial peptides with clear promise as unique therapeutics in human health. Indeed it is this core of fundamental biological research that underpins much of the innovation in the School of BioSciences. Fundamental biological research is, however, difficult to fund. While our researchers are incredibly successful at securing funding that is available, a dedicated research fund to support fundamental biological research would secure this innovation base, and support the training of many students in fundamental, curiosity-driven science.