Monthly Archives: March 2016

Combining computer analysis with microscopy

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA31 March 2016:

CNBP researchers have successfully combined computer analysis with microscopy, to extract highly detailed cellular information that will help distinguish between healthy and diseased cells, in areas as diverse as cancer, injury and inflammation.

The approach, reported in the journal ‘Scientific Reports’, has shown that subtle biochemical signatures of cells can be captured and then categorized, to an extent that has never been seen before.

Paper Title: Quantitative non-invasive cell characterisation and discrimination based on multispectral autofluorescence features.

Authors: Martin E. Gosnell, Ayad G. Anwer, Saabah B. Mahbub, Sandeep Menon Perinchery, David W. Inglis, Partho P. Adhikary, Jalal A. Jazayeri, Michael A. Cahill, Sonia Saad, Carol A. Pollock, Melanie L. Sutton-McDowall, Jeremy G. Thompson & Ewa M. Goldys.

Abstract: Automated and unbiased methods of non-invasive cell monitoring able to deal with complex biological heterogeneity are fundamentally important for biology and medicine. Label-free cell imaging provides information about endogenous autofluorescent metabolites, enzymes and cofactors in cells. However extracting high content information from autofluorescence imaging has been hitherto impossible. Here, we quantitatively characterise cell populations in different tissue types, live or fixed, by using novel image processing and a simple multispectral upgrade of a wide-field fluorescence microscope. Our optimal discrimination approach enables statistical hypothesis testing and intuitive visualisations where previously undetectable differences become clearly apparent. Label-free classifications are validated by the analysis of Classification Determinant (CD) antigen expression. The versatility of our method is illustrated by detecting genetic mutations in cancer, non-invasive monitoring of CD90 expression, label-free tracking of stem cell differentiation, identifying stem cell subpopulations with varying functional characteristics, tissue diagnostics in diabetes, and assessing the condition of preimplantation embryos.

The research paper is accessible online. A CNBP media release is also available.

 

National Press Club: Women of Science

High Res Edit 008930 March 2016:

CNBP Chief Investigator Prof. Tanya Monro was one of three top tier scientists presenting today, at the Australian National Press Club in Canberra. The topic under discussion, gender inequalities in the scientific workplace and what can be done to best stop the science brain drain that is forcing out some of Australia’s best and most talented minds.

Joining Prof. Tanya Monro in discussion, were Professors Emma Johnston and Nalini Joshi.

You can view the full Press Club address from these three inspiring scientists via this ABC online stream.

 

Tanya Monro at WOMADelaide

High Res Edit 008914 March 2016:

One of Australia’s favourite outdoor festivals –  WOMADelaide -has featured CNBP Advocate and CI Tanya Monro.

Tanya joined internationally celebrated American academic and award winning author, Naomi Oreskes and Australia’s Dr Karl Kruzelnicki, in a panel discussion that examined the theme – ‘Should We Trust Scientists?’

The discussion featured as part of the WOMADelaide Planet Talks 2016 program and can be viewed online in its entirety.

Some of the big questions asked of the panel – Who should we trust and why? When should we accept what scientists say? How is that scientists do not always agree when analyzing the same information? Issues covered – the role of deep empathy, big brains and peer reviewed consideration.

Supporting ‘Scientists and mathematicians in schools’ program

Visit to Lockleys_web10 March 2016:

Dr Sabrina Heng, CNBP researcher has undertaken a further school visit to Lockleys Primary School in Adelaide as a part of her involvement in the Scientists and Mathematicians in Schools (SMiS) outreach program.

SMiS is a national volunteer program bringing real science, mathematics and ICT into the classroom through ongoing flexible partnerships between teachers and scientists, mathematicians and ICT professionals.

Sabrina has been involved with SMiS since 2010 and working with Lockelys Primary School since mid 2014. In her most recent visit to the school, the Year 5/6 science students learned about the concepts of solubility and saturation through a series of simple experiments that Sabrina had designed. Working in groups, the students were taught to ‘think like a scientist’ i.e. ask the question (e.g. how many scoops of NaCl does it take to saturate X amount of water?), perform the experiment and to then come up with a conclusion.

Said Sabrina, “My trips to Lockleys are always rewarding and I look forward to my next visit where we will be performing experiments around the topic of ‘Light’.”

Visiting scholar to Macquarie Uni node

Prof-Chongfeng-Guo_edit8 March 2016:

CNBP welcomes Prof. Chongfeng Guo, a visiting scholar from the Department of Physics of Northwest University in China to its Macquarie University node.

Prof Guo will join Prof. Ewa Goldys’ research team for 12 months – his activity, a focus on the synthesis, mechanism and application of rare earth doped inorganic luminescent materials, including down conversion, up-conversion, photo-catalyst and first principle theory calculation. He hopes to promote application of these luminescent materials to biology through his visit.

Prof Guo obtained his PhD degree from the School of Chemistry of SUN YAT-SEN University, then worked at the University of Hong Kong, Huazhong University of Science and Technology (China), Pukyong National University (Korea) as a Post-doctorate, Associate Professor, and Research Professor from 2004-2010. He then became a full professor in 2010 at Northwest University.

With more than 100 publications as the first or corresponding author and 12 patents, we look forward to working closely with Prof Guo!

 

Invited talk at WCSM-2016

Roman Kostecki4 March 2016:

Roman Kostecki, CNBP researcher, has given an invited talk at the ‘Annual World Congress of Smart Materials’ in Singapore, 4th March 2016 (WCSM-2016).

Talk title: Smart Microstructured Optical Fibers for Chemical and Biological Recognition.

Abstract:

Optical detection of chemical or biological species relies on the interaction between a target species and light. While conventional optical fibers are exceptionally good at carrying light, they have limitations towards sensing applications due to the small fiber tip interaction area. To overcome this problem, microstructured optical fibers (MOFs) provide extended interaction between the light and chemical or biological species, while maintaining the integrity of the device. Thin struts from the surrounding structure suspend the MOF core, the surface of which can be used as a scaffold to add functionality and provide specificity. Guided light that extends outside the core of a MOF provides opportunities for measurements of the composition and concentration of an analyte along the fiber length.

We will review the use of suspended- and exposed- core MOFs for optical sensing, with focus on the different modalities for their deployment in sensing applications using label-based fluorescence and label-free detection techniques. For label-based fluorescence sensing, we discuss the different chemical and physical mechanisms used for surface attachment of suitable marker and photo-switchable molecules, the fiber geometries, and the varied target species that can be detected. For label-free sensing we explore whispering gallery modes, surface plasmon resonance, Bragg grating-based sensing, and Raman spectroscopy using MOFs, highlighting the toolset of sensing mechanisms for MOF-based chemical and biological sensing.

Full details regarding the conference can be found online.

 

CNBP meets the pollies

Hannah-and-CPyne4 March 2016:

CNBP fully embraced the opportunities provided by the just completed ‘Science meets Parliament’ event, organised by Science & Technology Australia, March 1-2, 2016.

The event, attracting 200 of Australia’s top scientists across all disciplines, aimed to help researchers understand how politics, policymaking and the media work, and gave them an opportunity to look at their science from an alternate point of view.

Over 100 federal parliamentarians also took part in the event, taking one-to-one meetings with scientists, attending debates and dinners and having informal discussions.

Attending from the CNBP were Director Prof Mark Hutchinson and researchers Dr Hannah Brown, Dr Alfonso Garcia-Bennett and Dr Melanie McDowall – all were focused on networking, meeting politicians and better understanding ways of improving communication of CNBP science to media, policymakers and parliamentarians.

STA President and CNBP Chief Investigator Professor Jim Piper was also actively involved, undertaking hosting and MC duties throughout the full two-day program, as well as meeting with key politicians and stakeholders.

Highlights included Prof Hutchinson and his involvement on a Q&A style panel, discussing his experiences as a ‘Science meets Parliament’ alumni. Outlined were tips on dealing with politicians including the need for researchers to engage more effectively with stakeholders, to keep it simple, to talk with passion and to stimulate interest through high-quality communication of exciting science.

An undoubted highlight for CNBP’s Hannah Brown and Alfonso Garcia-Bennett was getting the chance to meet with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to discuss their science. Both absolutely enjoyed the experience of meeting Australia’s leader and seeing his enthusiasm for innovative and ground breaking research.

In addition to this, the CNBP team managed to meet a wide number of parliamentarians throughout the two day program (both formally and informally), this including Minister Christopher Pyne, Minister Simon Birmingham, Assistant Minister Karen Andrews, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and MPs Terri Butler, Adam Bandt, Andrew Southcott and Melissa Parke.

CNBP Director Mark Hutchinson summed up the event, “The SmP 2016 experience continued to surprise and inform me of new challenges and opportunities for scientific endeavours in the Australian political arena. It was so refreshing to hear from scientific leaders and policy makers of their driving passion to support our research efforts through quality and workable policy and political engagement.”

A ‘Behind the Scenes’ video taken at Science Meets Parliament by the RiAus also featured CNBP talent, with researchers Mel and Hannah figuring prominently.

CNBP is already looking forward to next year’s event!

PM _Science meets Parliament

Jeremy Thompson gives talk at ESHRE

Jeremy Thompson3 March 2016:

CNBP Chief Investigator, Jeremy Thompson, has given an invited talk at a European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) workshop in Brussels, Belgium (March 3, 2016).

The workshop explored ‘Oocyte maturation: from basics to clinic’ and the title of Jeremy’s talk was ‘Haemoglobin in the antral follicle – an oocyte oxygenation story or not?’

Workshop information can be found online.