Mr Michael Hammond


Research skills

Gene cloning

Whole mount in situ hybridisations

Protein Immunolocaisation

Recombinant Protein Production

Protein isolation and analysis

Research aims

To isolate the secretory protein machinery used by sponges to process peptides and proteins used for cell communication

To characterise the initial role of the now widespread Ependymin protein, seen in a plethora of animals with a wide variety of putative functions

Research rationale

The transition from single cells to multicellular organisms represents one of the major developments in evolutionary history. The mechanisms in which the multicellular branch of organisms referred to as animalia, maintain themselves is still not completely understood. The recent sequencing of the sponge genome Amphimedon queenslandica, the oldest living relative to the universal animal ancestor from which all animals are descended from has revealed a remarkably conserved repertoire of genes encoding for messenger molecules seen in even the most complex animals such as humans. For the first time, the universal rules for cell communication in regards to maintaining a multicellular body are able to be deciphered, which represents the goal of this research. The main goals of this research are:

• To determine the universal communication molecules and apparatus in animalia needed for the maintenance of a multicellular organism.

• To characterize select peptides and proteins in Amphimedon Queenslandica, that are relevant to a variety of other animals.