[ASC-media] explorer completes map for body's blueprint

Ruth Hardman rhardman at cmri.usyd.edu.au
Thu Sep 20 06:07:50 CEST 2007

Media release
Embargo: 25 September 2007



Explorer completes the map ... for the body's blueprint


An Australian researcher has completed some pioneering work which is the
cellular equivalent of the human genome project.  


Professor Patrick Tam's 27-year exploration has mapped the movement of
cells and tissues in developing mammalian embryos.  It reveals how cells
direct themselves to form specific parts of the body.  


He was (today) awarded recognition at a national conference attended by
leading biologists.  


Professor Tam, of the Children's Medical Research Institute, was awarded
the Presidents' Medal of the Australia and New Zealand Society for Cell
and Developmental Biology at the Combio '07 conference in Darling
Harbour, Sydney. 


He told the delegates how his team's studies on mice embryos, showing
the movement of cells in the early stages of embryonic development, has
been exciting at every new discovery point.  


'This work shows the precursors of different body parts and organs -
where they are in the embryo and how they assemble into the final body
plan.  This 'fate map' will be used as a reference tool by scientists
around the world to investigate developmental problems such as
neurological defects or head, face and eye malformations,' Professor Tam


Just how and when cells and tissue 'know' where they are to go at
critical stages - one goes that way to become the spine, another this
way to become the nose - is recognised as a major step in cell and
developmental biology. 


In receiving his medal, Professor Tam joins earlier recipients including
Professors Don Metcalf, John Kerr, Adrienne Clark, Peter Koopman and
David Vaux. 


'Patrick Tam richly embodies the traditions of this award,' said the
Society's president, Associate Professor Alpha Yap. 'From the elegance
and insight of his outstanding research, to his tireless efforts in peer
review work and mentorship in our scientific community, he has been a
model to us all.' 


Professor Tam's research on how tissues follow a pattern in the early
embryo provide fundamental insights into tissue organisation  - for both
good health and disease.  



Interviews:     to speak to Professor Patrick Tam, please call Feehan

                        on 02 9267 2711


Images:           cells at the very earliest stages of mammal
development showing how they

                        direct themselves to form specific parts of the
body.  http://www.cmri.com.au/cmri.php?page=1022



Ruth Hardman
Science Communication Officer
Children's Medical Research Institute
http://www.cmri.com.au <http://www.cmri.com.au/> 
214 Hawkesbury Rd Westmead
Locked Bag 23 Wentworthville 2145 NSW
Tel. 02 8865 2815
Fax. 02 9687 2120
Jeans for Genes is a major fundraiser for the Children's Medical
Research Institute
Genie Me, Genie You, Genie-us! - Jeans for Genes Day - Friday August 3
2007 - www.jeans4genes.com.au <http://www.jeans4genes.com.au/>  
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