Category Archives: Lab News

NEWS: Paper on optogenetic rescue of Parkinson’s in an animal model – congrats, Álvaro!

Our former post-doc Álvaro was leading the project on investigating the potential of a light-activated RTK, Opto-Ret, as an intervention option for the neurodegenerative disorder Parkinson’s.

The study, published in PLoS Genetics [LINK], shows how Opto-Ret successfully alleviates disease hallmarks in a Drosophila model of the disease.

To our best knowledge this is the first demonstration of optogenetic delivery of pro-survival signals in any in vivo scenario of tissue degeneration.

This work was a fantastic collaboration with the groups of Konstanze Winklhofer at RUB Bochum, Peter Soba at ZMNH Hamburg and Daria Siekhaus at IST Austria.

Congratulations to everyone involved, and especially Álvaro, as well as Nikolas and Sam!

You can read more about the story here:

NEWS: Collaborative paper on GPCR dimerization!

Our newest paper from our collaboration with Leo Lee’s lab at the University of Macau is out now!

This study demonstrates how one receptor in a GPCR heterodimer inhibits its binding partner through an intracellular retention mechanism, a novel and striking consequence of GPCR dimerization!

You can access the article here!

Congratulations to our friends in Macau!

NEWS: The 2nd Optogenetics Australia Virtual Workshop was a full success!

That’s a wrap! February 16-19, 2021, saw the second edition of the Optogenetics Australia Workshop, this time virtually, and it was a great success! Some impressions can be found HERE.

Spanning over 4 days, the workshop included talks and workshops by experts from all over the world, as well as fantastic presentations by ECRs showcasing their research. You can have a look at the program HERE.

Not just the line-up was international: more than 120 participants registered for the workshop and “zoomed-in” from Asia, North America, Europe and Australia.

We are looking forward to seeing many of you again at next year’s workshop, you can follow us on Twitter to receive the latest updates. If you are interested in joining next year’s organising committee, please contact as by e-mail.

A huge thank you again to everyone who was involved and made the 2nd Optogenetics Australia Workshop so successful!

NEWS: Welcome, Wang Lok!

Wang Lok is joining us as the lab’s first student completing a Master’s by Research.

Wang Lok previously finished his Bachelor and Honours at the UNSW, and has now made the move to Monash and ARMI.

Welcome and all the best for your time here!

NEWS: Harald is awarded an ARC Future Fellowship!

Congratulations, Harald!

Harald and the group were awarded the Australian Research Council (ARC) Future Fellowship to develop methods and instrumentation for the spatio-temporal activation of genes in cells and mice.

ARC Future Fellowships target researchers that grow knowledge and innovation for the benefit of the Australian community.

The fellowship is highly competitive, with a success rate of <15% this year.

Well done, Harald! We are all truly proud of you.

News coverage can be found here:

NEWS: Not just one but two new Methods papers published Methods in Molecular Biology!

Two of our newest papers have been published as part of the Photoswitching Proteins series and are available to read now!

The first paper, with our recent PhD graduate Steffi as first author, describes the design and application of light-regulated receptor tyrosine kinases and how the reengineering of these receptors can be used to generate signals with high spatial and temporal precision.

The paper can be accessed here.

The second paper, in collaboration with Viviana Agus from Axxam, presents prototypical cell-based drug screening assays using Channelrhodopsin2 (ChR2) to induce changes in membrane potential and test for voltage-gated ion channel blockade.

This article can be accessed here.

Congratulations to Steffi, Viviana and Harald – great work!

NEWS: Farewell, Zoe!

Zoe joined our lab in the middle of last year as part of the Undergrad Research Opportunities Program (UROP).

You will be greatly missed!

It has been a pleasure to have you in the lab and we wish you all the best for your future endeavours!

NEWS: Congratulations, Christina!

Christina was awarded the JDRF PhD Top-Up Scholarship by the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) Australia for her research in Type 1 diabetes (T1D)

JDRF has played a massive role in driving innovation and encouraging Australia’s most promising scientists to pursue a career in T1D.

Great work, Christina! We are all very proud of you!