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Australia, the magazine : Australia, the magazine
collaborative science 80 COLLABORATION HAS BECOME THE ORDER OF THE DAY TO SOLVE SOME OF THE WORLD'S MOST INTRACTABLE PROBLEMS. AUSTRALIA IS PLAYING A PART IN A RAFT OF SIGNIFICANT PROJECTS. BY JULIETTA JAMESON hands across the water When Professor Barry Marshall graduated, he had no idea what sort of career lay ahead for him. "When I came out of medical school, we all pre y much thought all the good stu was discovered," he says. Of course, it didn't take long for the endlessly curious Western Australian Nobel Laureate to recognise the in nite possibility that lay ahead. "I realised there's so much we don't understand, especially with the immune system. It's like a black box. You put something in one side of it and something di erent comes out some other part of it and you have no idea what happened in the middle. " e human genome: it's like you've got a car completely disassembled and you've got all these parts. e things we know about the immune system: that too is a box of parts. ere are a lot of opportunities there." It's the recognition of opportunity that has put Marshall in a unique position in Australian, indeed world biotech research. An entrepreneurial spirit combined with his remarkable scienti c audacity sees him as head of Ondek, a Perth-based company researching the extraordinary capabilities of the bacteria, Helicobacter pylori. Today, Marshall's team is on the verge of human trials using Helicobacter pylori to create mass vaccinations against some of the world's most widespread and devastating diseases. But he could not have got to where he is today without key collaborations. e rst was with Robin Warren, a pathologist with an interest in gastric ulcers. e two worked together at the Royal Perth Hospital and showed that bacteria, not stress or lifestyle, caused the majority of gastric ulcers. is led to the realisation that ulcers could be treated with antibiotics. eir work rewrote medical texts and jointly won them the 2005 Nobel Prize for Physiology. From the point of originating their joint research to the winning of the Nobel Prize, Marshall credits a long list of fellow researchers and practitioners with supporting and spurring him along. But one commercial collaboration became pivotal. Mike Manhart, a microbiologist working in the US for There are lots of opportunities. My goal in the next 20 years is to have a significant biotech operation under my belt that funds these kinds of projects. ROBOTS THAT CARE Australian programming has been incorporated into NEC's PaPeRo robots to recognise and respond to human emotions. (See following page.)