From little grants big labs grow In August this year, the Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences (MIPS) officially opened its new laboratory — an analytical hub that is intended to bring together researchers from across Victoria. It was the culmination of a series of events that began way back in 2006, explained associate professor and lab director Michelle McIntosh.
Fast-forward to a meeting between Associate
“When I first started at Monash, in about
Professor McIntosh and her colleagues, where
October 2006, one of the first things that I did
they were looking to come up with a suitable
was sit down and go through the websites of all
Master’s project for a student with an interest in
the different philanthropic funding organisations
analytical chemistry and bioequivalence. Their
that fund biomedical research,” Associate
idea was to formulate oxytocin — a hormone
Professor McIntosh said. “I’d written a research
which is typically injected into new mothers to
proposal asking for funding for equipment to
treat postpartum haemorrhage — to be absorbed
help me establish a lab that would allow me to
via the lungs.
look at drug delivery via the lungs. That grant A few months later, Associate Professor
bleeding are very rare,” Associate Professor
McIntosh received a grant for $50,000 from the
McIntosh said. “Yet women in developing
Helen Macpherson Smith Trust (HMSTrust),
countries don’t have access to this life-saving
which funds projects that seek to benefit the people
drug because it requires refrigeration and trained
of Victoria. This enabled her, through MIPS, to
staff to administer it.” Associate Professor McIntosh sought to
purchase an analytical separation system.
52 | LAB+LIFE SCIENTIST - September 2015
“In developed countries, oxytocin is the gold standard therapy, so deaths from postpartum
was submitted early in 2007.”
“It was kind of the first piece of equipment
develop an aerosol delivery system for oxytocin
that allowed me to set up my own lab,” Associate
that can be inhaled by patients from a simple,
Professor McIntosh said.
disposable device immediately after childbirth.
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