Monthly Archives: May 2016

Minnesota students visit MQ node

Ewa Goldys Low Res Edit 015920 May 2016:

On Friday May 20th 2016, a group of 25 engineering and physics students from the University of Minnesota visited Macquarie University for a very full day of talks, seminars and laboratory tours.

As a part of this visit, CNBP Deputy Director Prof Ewa Goldys provided a 45 minute talk to the students, providing an overview of the Centre and its key research activities.

The future use of nanoparticles, to aid in healthcare and diagnostic capability provoked widespread interest and discussion in the group as they saw the potential benefits of the still evolving technology.

Below: Ewa Goldys explaining the use of nano-rubies and nano-crystals in CNBP related research.



CNBP technology targets chronic pain

cnbplogosquare117 May 2016:

A consortium led by Macquarie University, utilising technology established by the ARC Centre of Excellence for BioPhotonics (CNBP), has been awarded a $340,000 Linkage Grant by the Australian Research Council, to target the debilitating effects of chronic pain.

The grant, bringing together researchers from Macquarie University, the University of Adelaide and the regenerative medicine company Regeneus, will support work that aims to relieve chronic pain in animals and will lay the foundations for future human therapies, using molecular tests, cell technologies and immune/hormonal pain generators.

According to Mark Hutchinson, Professor at the University of Adelaide and CNBP Director, the consortium’s activity will not only seek to target the incapacitating effects of chronic pain but will also aid understanding of how men and women feel pain differently.

To find out more you can view the CNBP media release, accessible online.

Image below: Immune cell responses within the central nervous system in response to chronic pain.

Immune cell responses_2

Sensing Zn2+ ions in biological samples

sabrina213 May 2016:

CNBP researchers have created nanoscale biosensors that are capable of sensing Zn2+ ions in biological samples. Such sensors have potential application in disease diagnosis and study, as well as in environmental sensing. The study was published in the journal ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces, May 13th, 2016.

Publication title: Microstructured Optical Fiber-based Biosensors: Reversible and Nanoliter-Scale Measurement of Zinc Ions.

Authors: Sabrina Heng (pictured), Christopher A. McDevitt, Roman Kostecki, Jacqueline R. Morey, Bart A. Eijkelkamp, Heike Ebendorff-Heidepriem, Tanya M. Monro, and Andrew D. Abell.

Sensing platforms that allow rapid and efficient detection of metal ions would have applications in disease diagnosis and study, as well as environmental sensing. Here, we report the first microstructured optical fiber-based biosensor for the reversible and nanoliter-scale measurement of metal ions. Specifically, a photoswitchable spiropyran Zn2+ sensor is incorporated within the microenvironment of a liposome attached to microstructured optical fibers (exposed-core and suspended-core microstructured optical fibers). Both fiber-based platforms retains high selectivity of ion binding associated with a small molecule sensor, while also allowing nanoliter volume sampling and on/off switching. We have demonstrated that multiple measurements can be made on a single sample without the need to change the sensor. The ability of the new sensing platform to sense Zn2+ in pleural lavage and nasopharynx of mice was compared to that of established ion sensing methodologies such as inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) and a commercially available fluorophore (Fluozin-3), where the optical-fiber-based sensor provides a significant advantage in that it allows the use of nanoliter (nL) sampling when compared to ICP-MS (mL) and FluoZin-3 (μL). This work paves the way to a generic approach for developing surface-based ion sensors using a range of sensor molecules, which can be attached to a surface without the need for its chemical modification and presents an opportunity for the development of new and highly specific ion sensors for real time sensing applications.

The paper is available online.

Mark Hutchinson speaks at AusMedtech 2016

Mark Hutchinson Low Res Edit 016411 May 2016:

Professor Mark Hutchinson (Director, CNBP) has given an invited talk and taken part in a chaired Q&A session at the AusMedtech 2016 Conference held at the Adelaide Convention Centre, Adelaide, on the 11th May 2016.

The talk and session  took place during the Australian National Fabrication Facility sponsored business breakfast, where Prof Hutchinson discussed new advances in nano-biotechnology research with a focus on new CNBP biophotonic sensors.

The breakfast session provided a platform to update the medical device business community about what new medical device technologies are evolving from the research sector.

Conference information is available online.


Electron transfer in peptides

jingxianyu10 May 2016:

CNBP scientists have authored a new paper in the journal Electrochimica Acta. Details follow below.

Publication title:  Turning electron transfer ‘on-off’ in peptides through side-bridge gating.

Authors:  Jingxian Yu, , John R. Horsley and Andrew D. Abell.

Abstract: Electrochemical studies are reported on a series of peptides to determine the influence of different side-chains and backbone rigidity on electron transfer, to progress the field of molecular electronics. Specifically, these peptides share either a common helical or β-strand conformation to cover a range of secondary structures, to fully investigate the influence of backbone rigidity. Two types of side-chain tethers, either triazole-containing or alkene-containing, are also compared to investigate these effects on electron transfer. Our results showed that the observed formal potentials (Eo) and electron transfer rate constants (ket) fall into two distinct groups. The peptides constrained via a side-chain tether exhibited high formal potentials and low electron transfer rate constants, whereas the linear peptides displayed low formal potentials and high electron transfer rate constants. This was found to occur irrespective of the backbone conformation, or the nature of the side-chain constraint. The vast formal potential shifts (as much as 482 mV) and the large disparity in the electron transfer rate constants (as much as 97%) between the constrained and linear peptides, provides two distinct states (i.e. on/off) with a sizeable differential, which is ideal for the design of molecular switches.

The research paper is available online.

Welcome Prof Robert McLaughlin

Robert McLaughlin_update10 May 2016:

We’re extremely happy to welcome Professor Robert McLaughlin to the Centre for Nanoscale BioPhotonics (CNBP).

As the new Chair of BioPhotonics at the University of Adelaide and Investigator for the  CNBP, Robert has a strong and proven track record in imaging research, successful research funding, as well as in team management and leadership.

A world-leader in the development of the ‘microscope-in-a-needle’ technology, Robert’s expertise has been in successfully miniaturising fibre-optic probes encased within a hypodermic needle. These probes have then been able  to be inserted deep into the body to acquire fluorescence and optical coherence tomography images.

Said CNBP Director Prof Mark Hutchinson, “Robert will be exploring novel applications and deployment of fibre sensing and fibre imaging across the three biological challenges of the CNBP. He and his team will bring a wealth of experimental, computational and practical skills that compliment the range of expertise already existing within the Centre. In addition, Robert’s experience in translational productisation and commercialisation will add to the existing momentum of industry and commercial engagement from the CNBP.”

Welcome to the team Robert!
























Science, beauty, and the art of asking questions

High Res Edit 00896 May 2016:

Good science is simply the art of asking really good questions said CNBP Chief Investigator Prof Tanya Monro, in a motivating TEDx talk that took place in Adelaide, May 6th, 2016.

Tanya’s talk, titled “Science, beauty, childhood and the art of asking questions” explained how science and mathematics can help explain everything from the expansion of our universe to the workings of the world’s subatomic particles, to even broadening our understanding of beauty.

View the entire TEDx talk by clicking on the web site here.