Sensors for calcium ion

15 June 2017:

Researchers from CNBP (lead author Dr Sabrina Heng pictured), have just had a paper published, reporting on three new spiropyran-based reversible sensors for calcium ion.

Journal: Sensors and Actuators B: Chemical.

Publication title: Photoswitchable calcium sensor: ‘On’–‘Off’ sensing in cells or with microstructured optical fibers.

Authors: Sabrina Heng, Adrian M. Mak, Roman Kostecki, Xiaozhou Zhang, Jinxin Peia, Daniel B. Stubing, Heike Ebendorff-Heidepriema, Andrew D. Abell.

Abstract: Calcium is a ubiquitous intracellular signaling ion that plays a critical role in the modulation of fundamental cellular processes. A detailed study of these processes requires selective and reversible sensing of Ca2+ and an ability to quantify and monitor concentration changes in a biological setting. Three new, rationally designed, synthesized and photoswitchable spiropyran-based reversible sensors for Ca2+ are reported. Sensor 1a is highly selective for Ca2+ with an improved profile relative to the other two analogues, 1b and 1c. Formation of the merocyanine–Ca2+ complex is proportional to an increase in Ca2+ released from HEK293 cells on stimulation with ionomycin. The photophysical processes surrounding the binding of Ca2+ to compound 1a were further explored using computational methods based on density functional theory (DFT). The ability of sensor 1a to bind Ca2+ and photoswitch reversibly was also characterized using silica suspended-core microstructured optical fiber (SCF). These SCF experiments (with 100 nM Ca2+) represent a first step toward developing photoswitchable, minimally invasive and highly sensitive Ca2+ sensing platforms for use in a biological setting.

The paper is accessible online.

School science conference impresses

15 June 2017:

Dr Nima Sayyadi, CNBP researcher, has undertaken guest judging duties at the 2017 Sydney Girls High School Science Conference.

Each year students at Sydney Girls High School complete a research project as part of the NSW Science Curriculum. This project provides Year 9 students with an opportunity to design and perform an investigation into an area of their choice. The annual Science Conference then gives the students a forum where they can present their research to an expert panel.

The panel not only provides students with feedback relating to their investigation, but also determines the projects worthy of further recognition. The determination considers both experimental design and the ability of the student to communicate their ideas.

According to Nima, the standard of work on display was of an incredibly high standard.

“The way that the young students designed their research projects – the hypotheses and preparation and understanding of data limitations was generally quite remarkable.”

Projects being showcased included DNA extraction from fruits with limited facilities through to the analysis of the plastic waste found in water on different beaches in Sydney.

“It was a great experience for me to meet the students, teachers, and other judges from different universities at this event,” concluded Nima.

“Hopefully the passion that these students show for science continues through High School and into tertiary education and beyond.”

Women’s research excellence award

13 June 2017:

Congratulations to Dr Jiawen Li, CNBP researcher at the University of Adelaide, who recently won a Women’s Research Excellence award.

Jiawen’s work is focused on the development of highly novel dual-modality ultrasound/optical coherence tomography imaging probes for diagnosis of disease and for use in surgical applications.

She will be using the award to assist with travel to RMIT and Hong Kong Polytechnic University, where she hopes to build on existing collaborations.

Centre represented at Glycoinformatics Symposium

13 June 2017:

CNBP Chief Investigator Prof Nicki Packer has attended the Beilstein Glycoinformatics Symposium, Berlin, Germany, 13-15th June 2017.

Prof Packer was an invited speaker, session chair and sat on a discussion panel, with her attendance fully funded by the conference organisers.

Prof Packer’s talk was titled, “Technology Shapes Glycoinformatics.”

 

CNBP participates in LEA outreach event

7 June 2017:

With a focus on STEM learning and the need for innovative outreach approaches, Learning Environments Australia (SA chapter) have coordinated a forum at the University of Adelaide, 7 June 2017, which saw significant support from the CNBP.

Prof Mark Hutchinson (CNBP Director), Tony Crawshaw (CNBP Communications and Outreach Coordinator) and Dr Sabrina Heng (CNBP Researcher, pictured) all participated in the LEA forum, providing talks and answering questions as to the Centre’s successful approach to engaging with schools and students and inspiring the next generation of young scientist.

Joanne Rogers, Head of Science, Concordia College who has been closely involved with CNBP outreach activity, talked about the real life changes experienced by her students, resulting from engagement with CNBP scientists. Students she said, had picked up additional science subjects on the back of CNBP school and laboratory visits.

Other University of Adelaide presenters at the event included Kiri Hagenus, Director, Children’s University; Dr Claudia Szabo, Associate Dean, Faculty of ECMS – MOOC in digital literacy for teachers; and Science’s Prof Bob Hill, who discussed successful Faculty outreach initiatives.

Rethinking food and nutrition science

1 June 2017:

CNBP Research Fellow Dr Philipp Reineck has been selected as a delegate for the ‘Theo Murphy High Flyers Think Tank’, a national group established by The Australian Academy of Science.

The Think Tank will bring together early and mid-career researchers exploring nutrition science in an interdisciplinary fashion.

Findings will contribute to the development of a long term strategic planning process for nutrition research in Australia.

Further information on the Think Tank is available online.

 

New Diamond and Nano Carbons conference

1 June 2017:

CNBP was well represented at the 11th International Conference on New Diamond and Nano Carbons, held in Cairns, Australia, 28th May – June 1, 2017.

CNBP Chief Investigator A/Prof Brant Gibson was Co-chair of the conference (pictured) with CNBP researcher Dr Philipp Reineck a contributing speaker, presenting on ‘Bright and photostable nitrogen‐vacancy fluorescence from unprocessed detonation nanodiamonds’.

Also providing a contributing talk was CNBP’s Dr Lindsay Parker, ‘Applications of fluorescent nanodiamonds in cellular molecular tracing.’

Additionally,  CNBP’s Andrew Greentree, Ivan Maksymov, Daniel Drumm, Ashleigh Heffernan, Marco Capelli, Nicole Cordina and Emma Wilson gave poster presentations and Brooke Bacon and Desmond Lau provided administrative and technical support respectively.

The conference spanned research topics from fundamental physical and chemical concepts to applied technologically driven applications with carbon based materials. This including single crystal diamond, nanodiamonds, carbon nanotubes, graphene and other carbon nanostructures.

Director at SASMA Conference

28 May 2017:

CNBP Director Prof. Mark Hutchinson has given the ‘Henry Kneebone Keynote Presentation’ at this year’s South Australian Sports Medicine Association conference.

The event took place at the Adelaide Oval, Sunday 28 May 2017 with Prof. Hutchinson’s talk titled, “The toll of knowing you are sick: Implications for pain and how we treat it.”

Further conference information can be found online.

 

 

Ambassador visits CNBP laboratories

24 May 2017:

Prof Mark Hutchinson has hosted a visit to the University of Adelaide and CNBP Headquarters of His Excellency Mr Pedro Zwahlen, Ambassador of Switzerland to Australia.

The visit from the Ambassador was a part of a four day trip to Adelaide which included visits to the Tonsley Innovation Precinct, the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute, various South Australian Government Departments, as well as meetings with the Honourable Jack Snelling MP and the Honourable Zoe Bettison MP.

As a part of the Ambassador’s visit to the University of Adelaide, Prof Hutchinson discussed CNBP science activity, the power of light to measure in the body, and provided a walk-through tour of the Centre’s laboratories.

Below – Prof Mark Hutchinson left, with His Excellency Mr Pedro Zwahlen.

Pilot project grant success

18 May 2017:

An ‘Institute for Photonics and Advanced Sensing’ (IPAS) pilot grant worth $6,000 has been awarded to CNBP researchers Dr Jingxian Yu (project lead – pictured left) and Dr Peipei Jia.

The grant will allow investigation into “double remote electrochemical addressing and optical readout of electrochemiluminescence at the nanopatterned tip of an optical fiber for the detection of biological species.”

The project has great potential to provide a versatile sensing platform for chemical sensing and medical diagnostics.

The proposed work will also bring chemists and physicists together to work in this trans-disciplinary area, with the possibility of promoting further collaborations between biological and medical scientists within IPAS and the CNBP.