[ASC-media] Bio-imaging expert to join EMBL Australia

Rachel Taylor rachel.taylor at armi.monash.edu.au
Thu Oct 7 02:23:41 CEST 2010

7 October 2010**
* *
*Media Release***
* *

EMBL Australia Head of Science, Prof Nadia Rosenthal, today announced 
the second Group Leader appointed to the EMBL Australia Partner 
Laboratory Network.

"Dr Nicolas Plachta is an outstanding young researcher doing advanced 
research in developmental biology", said Prof Rosenthal.

"His appointment as Group Leader brings expertise in fundamental 
biological processes that will advance Australian stem cell and 
regenerative medicine research", said Prof Rosenthal.

Dr Plachta has developed specialised imaging tools to study the dynamics 
of proteins in live mouse embryos. Through these tools he investigates 
the role of specific proteins during the first stages of embryonic 

His research provides insights into how cells and molecules interact 
during the early stages of life and may provide knowledge key to 
understanding, preventing and treating a range of diseases.

"Through the EMBL Australia initiative, we seek to attract and nurture 
the world's future science leaders and boost Australia research 
quality", said Prof Rosenthal.

Dr Plachta is originally from Argentina. He undertook his degree in 
Israel, his doctorate in Switzerland and is currently a post-doctoral 
fellow at the California Institute of Technology.

He will be based at the Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute 
(ARMI) at Monash University, Melbourne. ARMI is the headquarters of EMBL 

EMBL Australia is an unincorporated joint venture between the CSIRO, 
Monash University, The University of Queensland, The University of 
Sydney and The University of Western Australia. It is supported by the 
Australian Government.

*Media contact*
Rachel Taylor
Ph: 0411 288 672
rachel.taylor at emblaustralia.org <mailto:rachel.taylor at emblaustralia.org>

*About Nicolas Plachta*
*Born: * Buenos Aires, Argentina**

    * University of Buenos Aires, Argentina (Undergraduate assistant)
    * University of Tel Aviv, Israel (BSc)
    * University of Basel, Switzerland (PhD)
    * California Institute of Technology, USA (Post-doctoral fellow)

Research interests:* Cell and developmental biology, biological imaging, 
mammalian development, stem cells, neurobiology

*Recent publications*

    * Nikoletopoulou V, Plachta N, Allen ND, Haubst N, Götz M, Barde Y-A
      (2007). Neurotrophin receptor-mediated death of misspecified
      neurons generated from embryonic stem cells lacking Pax6. *Cell
      Stem Cell *(1) 529-540
    * Plachta N, Annaheim C, Bissiere S, Hoving S, Voshol V, Bibel M,
      Barde Y-A (2007). Identification of a lectin causing the
      degeneration of neuronal processes using engineered embryonic stem
      cells. *Nature Neuroscience* (6) 712-9
    * Plachta N, Bibel M, Tucker KL, Barde Y-A* *(2004). Developmental
      potential of defined neural progenitors derived from mouse
      embryonic stem cells. *Developmen**t*/ /(21) 5449-56

*Research description*
Revealing the dynamic cellular and molecular mechanisms that pattern a 
mammalian embryo is key to understanding human biology and disease, yet 
few experimental systems permit to study dynamic physical aspects of 
cells and regulatory molecules in live mammalian embryos.
Dr Plachta's research combines intravital single-cell imaging, genetics 
and quantitative methods to discover how the kinetics of key regulatory 
proteins control the establishment of early cell lineages in intact 
mouse embryos and pluripotent cells in culture. We also use live imaging 
tools to understand the main cellular mechanisms governing the formation 
of the first embryonic structures in the embryo, with a particular focus 
on cell movements and formation of the nervous system.
Fig. 1.jpg 		Fig. 2.jpg
Real-time live imaging of a mouse embryo undergoing its first mitotic 
division (0.5 days post fertilisation). Separating chromosomes are 
labeled green and the cell membrane red.
		Real-time live imaging of a mouse embryo after completion of 
gastrulation, surrounded by extra-embryonic membranes (8 days post 
fertilisation). The closing head folds and future umbilical cord are 

Rachel Taylor
Communications and Development Officer---EMBL Australia
Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute
Monash University
Ph: +61 3 9902 9607
Fax: +61 3 9902 9729
rachel.taylor at emblaustralia.org
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