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Corporate entry Biochemistry and Biophysics Unit (1965 - 1982)

The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research

Victoria, Australia
Parkville, Victoria, Australia
Medical Research


The Biochemistry and Biophysics Unit was established in 1965 when (Sir) Gustav Nossal took over the Directorship of the Hall Institute. In 1971 the Unit was expanded and a Molecular Biology Laboratory established. Major restructuring in 1982 saw the Biochemistry and Biophysics Unit split into the Molecular Biology Unit and the Lymphocyte Differentiation Unit.


Research in the Unit initially focused on the nature of antigenicity and the role of antigen in inducing antibody. This work involved studies on the biochemistry of antibody-producing B-lymphocytes, the anatomy of flagellin antigens - an antigen used in studies of lymphocyte-antigen interactions, and the development of equilibrium centrifugation procedures for separating different cell types, particularly lymphocytes. During the 1970s the Unit's focus extended to cell interaction and differentiation, new cell separation techniques like adherence columns and cell electrophoresis, and the then new field of T-lymphocytes. The Unit now had an Isotope Laboratory providing radioisotope labelling services for the Institute, a Molecular Biology Laboratory working to isolate RNA molecules involved in antibody formation, and the other laboratories involved in cellular immunological studies such as lymphocyte development. Throughout the late 1970s, the major areas of interest remained lymphocyte differentiation pathways for T- and B-lymphocytes, using new cell separation techniques based on physical properties of the cells, and molecular events in antibody-synthesising cells, particularly gene expression, in the Molecular Biology Laboratory.

Published resources


Emily Geraghty & Annette Alafaci