RNA is at the core of our biology – the software of life – translating our DNA into the very products and processes that make us human.
The UNSW RNA Institute was established to perform a similar function: to translate the potential of NSW bioscience into the products that will improve our health and the quality of our lives. These products are the vaccines and treatments for emerging diseases such as COVID-19, but also therapeutics for the yet more complex challenges of cancers, infectious, rare genetic and neurodegenerative diseases – all areas to be pioneered by the UNSW RNA Institute.
For all the tantalising potential of RNA science, the progress has been stymied by a bottleneck of scale and, formerly, cohesion. The wealth of RNA expertise in NSW – represented by its talent and facilities – has been kept separate by the physical boundaries of research institutions and the more abstract boundaries of research discipline. And this is where we find the UNSW RNA institute
The mission of the UNSW RNA Institute is bold. A new ‘RNA ecosystem’ is emerging in NSW, made from a robust network of collaborating research institutions, such as those 14 universities that constitute the NSW RNA Bioscience Alliance and the dozen research organisations within the NSW RNA Production Research Network.
The UNSW RNA Institute will form a key connective hub of this ecosystem, uniting researchers from previously disparate disciplines – biology, chemistry, medicine – and connecting them with the facilities they need to translate their research.
This interdisciplinary approach to research challenges will have a major impact on delivering RNA technologies and therapeutics for human welfare.