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BioForum – Future Direction for mRNA Technology

August 10, 2021 @ 8:00 am - 9:30 am AEST

mRNA technology has long held huge promise. For decades, scientists have been pursuing the diverse therapeutic possibilities of mRNA technology. However, scientific promise became medical reality in 2020 in response to the pandemic with mRNA technology now central to the global COVID-19 vaccine roll out. In response, Victoria has created a dedicated body, mRNA Victoria, to establish the state as a leader in mRNA research and manufacturing. To support this goal, the Victorian Government is investing $50M to grow mRNA capability in Victoria.

We invite you to attend this BioForum about the future of mRNA technology, sponsored by the State Government of Victoria and in collaboration with mRNA Victoria, on Tuesday 10 August. We’ll hear from:

  • The Hon. Jaala Pulford, Minister for Innovation, Medical Research and the Digital Economy on Victoria’s vision for a thriving mRNA ecosystem
  • Professor Colin Pouton, Monash University, who has developed Australia’s first mRNA-based COVID vaccine candidate which is due to commence Phase 1 clinical trials in October
  • Dr Amanda Caples, Victoria’s Lead Scientist and Chair of the mRNA Victoria Scientific Advisory Group, who will discuss the future potential and opportunities for mRNA technology

Event details

  • Tuesday 10 August 2021
  • 8:00am – 9:00am (AEST) presentations
  • 9:00am– 9:30am (AEST) Q&A
  • Registration (virtual): members and non-members – free of charge
  • Register below

The event is sponsored by the State Government of Victoria, DJPR in collaboration with mRNA Victoria

By registering for this event, you consent to have your contact details shared with mRNA Victoria.

The Hon. Jaala Pulford MP

Jaala was appointed Minister for Employment; Minister for Innovation, Medical Research and the Digital Economy; and Minister for Small Business in June 2020.

Jaala is focussed on ensuring that all Victorians have the opportunity to work and to succeed, whether they are an employee or running their own business. She is committed to making sure that Victoria maintains its world class reputation as a leader in Innovation and Medical Research. She has a strong interest in new and emerging technologies and is keen to support the accelerating growth of the Digital Economy.

Throughout Jaala’s career she has led some substantial reforms including the establishment of Victoria’s medicinal cannabis industry, the banning of puppy farms, the introduction of electronic ID of sheep and goats (all 10 million of them), the establishment of Victoria’s first digital agriculture strategy, the creation of Victoria’s Regional Partnerships framework, the transformation of Victoria into a recreational fishing Mecca; and more recently, establishing a modernised, data driven traffic management system for Melbourne.

Her work is now focussed on supporting people whose lives have been profoundly impacted by the coronavirus pandemic across her portfolio areas and electorate.

Jaala has been a Member for Western Victoria since 2006. She lives in Ballarat with her husband, her son and two retired greyhounds named Patch and George.

Dr Amanda Caples BSc Hons PhD GAICD

Dr Amanda Caples is Victoria’s Lead Scientist, responsible for working across the Victorian Government to identify opportunities for economic outcomes by building relationships between business, the research sector and Government. Amanda brings to the role broad experience in technology commercialisation, public policy development and governance of public and private entities.

Amanda joined the Victorian public service in 2002 as the inaugural Director of Biotechnology and subsequently was appointed as the Executive Director, Science and Technology and Deputy Secretary, Sector Development and Programs to drive Victoria’s science agenda. In these roles, Amanda has led the development of industry sector strategy plans, delivered research-led health initiatives, regulatory and legislative scientific reforms and established international business development and research alliances. Amanda has worked with Commonwealth agencies on national science and innovation policies and programs, including the Australian Synchrotron and the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy.

Professor Colin Pouton BPharm PhD

Research interests:
Colin Pouton has research experience in various aspects of drug discovery, drug delivery and development. His current research interests are in nucleic acid therapeutics, oral delivery of peptides, and use of stem cell technology in disease modeling and drug discovery. Since early 2020 he has been using his experience in nucleic acid delivery to design and deliver candidate mRNA COVID-19 vaccines. He and his research group are working towards taking the first Australian mRNA vaccine into a Phase 1 clinical trial later in 2021. The COVID-19 vaccine project is part of a collaboration with a group of colleagues from the Peter Doherty Institute.

Career history:
After a series of academic appointments at the University of Bath (UK), Pouton moved to Monash University in 2001 to take up the Chair and Head of Department of Pharmaceutical Biology. Over the past five years he has been Head of Drug Delivery, Disposition and Dynamics (D4) at the Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, ranked #2 in the world for research in pharmacy and pharmacology. His department is home to over 200 research scientists. Pouton has published >160 full manuscripts including 53 over the past five years. His work has been cited >10000 times, with over 700 citations per annum for the past five years (Scopus data). In 2015, 2016 and 2018 he was identified by Thompson Reuters as a Highly Cited Researcher in the discipline of Pharmacology & Toxicology. Pouton currently supervises a team of 16 PhD students and 4 grant-funded research assistants. He has supervised 67 PhD completions and supervised over 20 postdoctoral research assistants.


August 10, 2021
8:00 am - 9:30 am
Event Category:


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