La Trobe boost from ARC Discovery Project funding

The Australian Research Council (ARC) announced funding as part of the Discovery Projects scheme, with five La Trobe projects receiving a combined total of $3.15 million in funding.

On Monday (30 October 2023), the Australian Research Council (ARC) announced funding as part of the ARC Discovery Projects scheme.

Professor Susan Dodds, Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Industry Engagement) said the announcement is testament to the excellent work undertaken by La Trobe researchers.

The five projects received a combined $3.15 million in funding across fields of research including Biological Sciences, Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Engineering, Indigenous Studies, and Information and Computing Sciences.

The ARC Chief Executive Officer, Ms Judi Zielke PSM said research funded such as those under the Discovery Projects Scheme deliver excellent outcomes, with every $1 of research funds generating $3.32 in economic output back into the Australian community.

“It’s great to see that the La Trobe projects funded under the Discovery Projects scheme will strengthen our knowledge base and research capability, while also supporting the Australian community,” said Professor Dodds.

“It is particularly rewarding to see support for research that will help expand Indigenous knowledges and methods using archival materials,” said Professor Dodds.

Congratulations to the 2024 awardees:

A/Prof Yuning Hong – Chief Investigator


  • A/Prof Walter (Doug) Fairlie – La Trobe University – Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute (ONJCRI)
  • Em/Prof Brian Smith – La Trobe University
  • Prof Ian Ganley – Partner Investigator (PI) – University of Dundee University

Next Generation Fluorescent Tools for Measuring Autophagy Dynamics in Cells

This project aims to create new molecular tools for detecting a crucial cell survival process called autophagy. Specifically, this project will develop small molecule fluorescent probes that are specific to autophagy, for the first time, by interacting with the key autophagy marker proteins or cargos. This will allow researchers to visualise and quantify autophagy activity in living cells without disrupting the system, which is not currently possible. This project represents a major technical and knowledge advance that will improve our understanding of autophagy in fundamental biology and ultimately contribute to the development of new intervention strategies for diseases like neurodegeneration and cancers.

A/Prof Katherine Ellinghaus – Chief Investigator


  • Dr Ashlen Francisco – University of Melbourne
  • A/Prof Jennifer Jones – La Trobe University
  • Dr Lucinda Aberdeen – University of Melbourne (Adjunct at LTU Shepparton)

Aboriginal Exemption: Truth-telling, History, and Healing

This project aims to develop accessible, Indigenous-led knowledge about little known twentieth-century Australian policies that caused pain and dislocation in Indigenous communities. Expected outcomes will include an anthology of family stories, school curriculum materials, symposia, and methodological articles. Benefits include empowering descendants to access archival information about exemption in culturally safe ways, disseminating culturally appropriate histories, financial support for Elders acknowledging their time and expertise, and a model of collaboration in which Elders lead Indigenous and non-Indigenous historians to undertake urgent history-making.

Prof Shaun Collin – Chief Investigator


  • Prof Coral Warr – La Trobe University
  • Dr Aleicia Holland – La Trobe University
  • A/Prof Ewen Silvester – La Trobe University
  • Dr Wayne Davies – Partner Investigator (PI) – Umea University
  • A/Prof Kara Yopak – Partner Investigator (PI) – The University of North Carolina, Wilmington
  • Dr Jenny Stauber – Partner Investigator (PI) – La Trobe University (adjunct)

Chemoreception in fishes: Anthropogenic impacts on brain and behaviour

Chemoreception in fishes: Anthropogenic impacts on brain and behaviour. This project aims to assess the impacts on fishes of increasing numbers of chemical pollutants entering Australia’s waterways. Critical contaminants effect the chemosensory capabilities of endemic fishes that are commonly found in Australia and play an important role in fisheries and coastal biodiversity. Using a multidisciplinary approach, the study will interrogate the fundamental impacts of chemical pollutants on the detection, perception and behavioural reactions to a herbicide, a pesticide and a metal, and their impacts on finding food, avoiding predation and finding mates. Significant benefits include the timely intervention and implementation of improved environmental management strategies and policies.

Lisa Mielke (ONJCRI) – Chief Investigator


  • Dr Bhupinder Pal – La Trobe University ONJCRI

Intraepithelial lymphocyte development and function in the intestine

Intraepithelial lymphocyte development and function in the intestine. This study aims to better understand the homeostatic maintenance and essential repair processes in the intestine. This project will generate new knowledge of how immune cells of the intestine, known as intraepithelial lymphocytes (IELs), engage with intestinal epithelial cells, neurons and commensal microbes to promote homeostasis and repair. Expected outcomes of this project will be identification of new molecules for future drug and vaccine development to improve gut health and vaccination in mammals. This should provide significant benefits to the Australian population and livestock industry through improved protection against cancer, intestinal infections and increased productivity.

Wei Xiang – Chief Investigator


  • Prof Yi-Ping Phoebe Chen – La Trobe University
  • Dr Kang Han – La Trobe University

Fast Reconstruction and Real-time Rendering of Immersive Light Field Video

This project aims to develop new learning-based methods for reconstructing and rendering 3D immersive videos from multi-view 2D videos. The project expects to generate new knowledge in the areas of data mining, multimedia, pattern recognition and deep learning. Expected outcomes of this project include new deep neural networks to represent 3D videos, neural methods for high-fidelity video rendering and efficient 3D video reconstruction and rendering algorithms. This should provide significant benefits to a diverse range of practical applications, such as autonomous driving, virtual reality, healthcare, advanced manufacturing, and many other 3D applications.

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