Monthly Archives: August 2016

Cell colour technology wins Eureka prize

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA31 August 2016:

Ewa Goldys, Deputy Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Nanoscale BioPhotonics (CNBP) and Professor at Macquarie University, together with Dr Martin Gosnell, CNBP research affiliate and Managing Director at Quantitative Pty Ltd have won the ANSTO ‘Innovative Use of Technology’ award at the 2016 Australian Museum Eureka Prizes.

They were recognised for their innovative colour focused research, able to distinguish between healthy and diseased cells, in areas as diverse as embryology, neurodegeneration, cancer and diabetes.

“We are absolutely thrilled to be awarded this prize out of such a high-quality field of researchers and scientists,” said Prof Goldys following the Eureka announcement.

“The hyperspectral imaging technique pioneered by our team lets us successfully extract specific biomolecular information hidden in fluorescent colour signatures of living cells and tissues.”

Goldys explained, that with this research, a new window into the body had been opened.

“Through the approach we are taking, incorporating leading-edge microscopes, ‘big data’ and the high processing speeds of modern computers, we are able to noninvasively and rapidly detect major health conditions, across a wide variety of areas.”

The future of the research, Goldys believes is one of high-impact and significant possibility.

“These colour-based cellular and molecular measurements have the potential to be done in-vivo (in the body), expediting the potential for healthcare decisions based on the health needs of the individual and their unique biological characteristics.”

Concluded Goldys, “The really exciting thing is that while we are probing the very limits of our understanding of life at the molecular level, this technology also yields real world translational outcomes – outcomes that will support clinicians in making improved diagnosis and health decisions for patients.”

The Eureka Prizes are presented by the Australian Museum and reward excellence in research and innovation, science communication and journalism, leadership and school science. Prize winners were announced at an Awards Dinner at Sydney Town Hall.

 

Australian Museum Eureka Prizes 2016

Relevance of methamphetamine’s to psychosis

lindsay_parker-low-rez-web128 August 2016:

CNBP researcher Lindsay Parker (pictured left) and CNBP Associate Investigator Jennifer Cornish have coauthored the following paper, examining the relevance of methamphetamine’s to psychosis.

Journal: Neuropharmacology

Publication title: GABAergic mRNA Expression is Differentially Expressed Across the Prelimbic and Orbitofrontal Cortices of Rats Sensitized to Methamphetamine: Relevance to Psychosis.

Authors: Travis A. Wearne, Lindsay M. Parker, Jane L. Franklin, Ann K. Goodchild, Jennifer L. Cornish.

Abstract: Psychotic disorders, such as schizophrenia, are characterized by prevalent and persistent executive deficits that are believed to be the result of dysfunctional inhibitory gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) processing of the prefrontal cortex (PFC). Methamphetamine (METH) is a commonly used psychostimulant that can induce psychotic and cognitive symptoms that are indistinguishable to schizophrenia, suggesting that METH-induced psychosis may have a similar GABAergic profile of the PFC. As the PFC consists of multiple subregions, the aim of the current study was to investigate changes to GABAergic mRNA expression in the prelimbic (PRL) and orbitofrontal (OFC) cortices of the PFC in rats sensitized to repeated METH administration. Male Sprague Dawley rats underwent daily METH or saline injections for 7 days. Following 14 days of withdrawal, rats were challenged with acute METH administration, RNA was isolated from the PRL and OFC and quantitative PCR was used to compare the relative expression of GABA enzymes, transporters, metabolites and receptor subunits. GAD67, GAD65, GAT1, GAT3, VGAT and GABAT mRNA expression were upregulated in the PRL. Ionotropic GABAA receptor subunits α1, α3, α5 and β2 were specifically upregulated in the OFC. These findings suggest that alterations to GABAergic mRNA expression following sensitization to METH are biologically dissociated between the OFC and PRL, suggesting that GABAergic gene expression is significantly altered following chronic METH exposure in a brain-region and GABA-specific manner. These changes may lead to profound consequences on central inhibitory mechanisms of localized regions of the PFC and may underpin common behavioral phenotypes seen across psychotic disorders.

The paper is available online.

 

Remotely detecting water traces in organic solvents

CNBPlogoSquare26 August 2016

The latest publication involving CNBP researchers reported on an optical fibre sensor for remotely detecting water traces in organic solvents.

Journal: RSC Advances.

Publication title: An optical fibre sensor for remotely detecting water traces in organic solvents.

Authors: Mengke Han, Ming Chen, Heike Ebendorff-Heidepriem, Cheng Fang, Anjun Qin, Hu Zhang, Ben Zhong Tang, Youhong Tangg and Yinlan Ruan.

Abstract: Tetraphenylpyrazine-triphenylamine (TPP-TPA) was used to detect water traces in organic solvents by monitoring the shift of the fluorescence peak wavelength. This wavelength based method avoids the intrinsic problems of fluorescence intensity change based methods. The use of optical fibres for the detection provides a remote and field-deployable sensing ability.

The paper is available online.

 

Education session at Olympus Australia

Andy-Greentree-at-Olympus26 August 2016:

Olympus LIVE hosted a workshop today, involving a group of Quantum Physics researchers and  students from RMIT University and the ARC Centre of Excellence for Nanoscale BioPhotonics (CNBP).

It was the first microscopy workshop of its kind involving Olympus, the University and Centre, giving students valuable exposure and hands-on experience with resident Olympus microscopy experts.

The initial planning for the event was coordinated by CNBP Chief Investigator Prof Andrew Greentree from RMIT University (pictured top left) and CNBP industry partner Mr Jian Shen from Olympus Australia. The day consisted of a training/education session that was part of the ‘Masters in Nanotechnology and Smart Materials’ course, which is in its first year at RMIT University.

The event was hosted by Olympus at their state of the art new facility at Notting Hill, Melbourne and included a theory session, hands on training on microscopes run by Olympus experts, and a tour of some of the facilities.

It is planned that this will become an annual event as part of the ‘Masters in Nanotechnology and Smart Materials’ course at RMIT.

Said Prof Greentree, “This is just another way that the Olympus/CNBP partnership is providing benefits above and beyond that of direct research.”

 

Official IPHT partner launch

IPHT launch_sq25 August 2016:

CNBP and the Leibniz Institute of Photonic Technology (IPHT) in Jena officially acknowledged their long term research and collaboration activity with a formal partnership launch today, taking place at IPHT HQ in Germany.

CNBP Deputy Director Prof Ewa Goldys, CNBP Macquarie University Node Leader Prof Jim Piper and CNBP RMIT University Node Leader A/Prof Brant Gibson were all in attendance at the event which was hosted and led by Partner, Prof Jurgen Popp from IPHT. CNBP’s Associate Investigator, Dr Stephen Warren-Smith who is just concluding his Marie Curie Fellowship with IPHT, and will be returning to the University of Adelaide after securing a Ramsay Fellowship, was also present and attended the program of the 3 day partner launch.

Included as a part of launch activity were presentations from both organisations, tours of IPHT laboratory space, research updates on key projects and engagement with CNBP industry partner Heraeus.

Specific highlights from the visit included the opening of the partner launch at the Scala Tower Restaurant in Jena with CNBP’s Prof Jim Piper presenting a keynote presentation, a tour of the InfectoGnostic Research Campus and a visit to Zeiss, concluding with a lecture from Prof Ewa Goldys.

Pictured top left is IPHT Partner, Prof Jurgen Popp being presented with the CNBP Partner Plaque by CNBP Deputy Director Prof Ewa Goldys.

CNBP’s recognize theme expands

Andrew-Abell-224 August 2016:

There have been a number of updates from CNBP’s Recognise Theme (focused on creating optically-controlled surfaces to recognise molecules in living systems) led by Chief Investigator Prof Andrew Abell (pictured top left) from the University of Adelaide. Updates include –

  • Prof Irene Hudson from the University of Newcastle has been appointed Associative Investigator, as has Dr Abel Santos from the School of Chemical Engineering,  University of Adelaide. Both will work closley with the recognise theme
  • Birgit Gaiser will be joining the recognise theme for 6 months from the University of Copenhagen as an international visitor
  • Kathryn Palasis has joined the recognise theme as an honours student to work on photoswitchable proteasome inhibitors
  • Aniket Kulkarni has joined the recognise theme as a new PhD student to work on hypoxia switchable anti cancer agents
  • Two new postdocs join the recognise theme: Dr Beatriz Blanco Rodriguez has joined to work on hypoxia switchable anti cancer agents (funded from outside the CNBP). Dr Borja Lopez Perez has also joined the recognise theme to work on hypoxia switchable anti cancer agents (and likewise is funded from outside the CNBP)
  • Yuan Qi Yeoh from the recognise theme was awarded first class honours
  • And finally, Pan Yanbo from Hong Kong has been awarded a University of Adelaide international PhD scholarship to join the recognise theme.

Busy and exciting times!

Outreach session at St. Ignatius College

Michelle-Zhang_1_sq23 August 2016

CNBP researchers from the University of Adelaide, Michelle Zhang and Sabrina Heng, have undertaken a school outreach session at St. Ignatius College, Adelaide, August 23, 2016.

The scientists spoke to two groups of children in an early-learning program about the science of light and the use of light in medicine. Several hands-on activities were also then run for the children to demonstrate that science can be fun as well as educational.

This included:

  • the use of UV-sensitive beads for making into a bracelet that was then worn for several outdoor activities
  • sunscreen applied to the beads to teach how sunscreen protects against sun-burn
  • the use of spectroscopes that can diffract room-light into a series of colourful bands at differing wavelengths (the students were asked to draw what they saw)
  • a simple kit that converted youtube videos to holograms
  • and CNBP colouring-in sheets that demonstrate life at the nanoscale

Positive feedback from the teachers at St. Ignatius College and also the parents of the children that attended the session was received over the course of a very fulfilling day!

Founders Lecture awarded to Thompson

Jeremy Thompson21 August 2016:

Congratulations to A/Prof. Jeremy Thompson (CNBP Chief Investigator at the University of Adelaide) who has given the Founders Lecture at the Annual Scientific Meeting of the Endocrine Society of Australia and the Society for Reproductive Biology (SRB), at the Gold Coast Convention Centre, 21st August 2016.

The Founder’s Lecturer is the SRB’s major plenary speaker at the Annual Meeting, with those awarded the Lecture, recognised for their significant contributions to the field of reproduction in Australia.

According to an announcement from the SRB Secretariat, Thompson is a “fantastic asset to the SRB and well deserving of the  Founders lecture award,” having been a proactive member of the SRB for over two decades and a “world renowned expert in embryo development.”

Further information about the Annual Meeting is available online.

 

Open Day at Macquarie University

MQ Open Day_sq20 August 2016:

CNBP researchers at Macquarie University celebrated the formal end of National Science Week by participating in Macquarie University’s Open Day, Sunday August 20th.

With a table and demos set-up to entice intending students and members of the public, CNBP researchers discussed their science and talked about the opportunities that a science education can provide. A key focus was the potential of the biophotonics field which will lead to exciting new diagnostic tools and techniques, which will be hugely beneficial to society.

Demonstrations were also undertaken by CNBP researchers including participation in a 30 minute magic show (showcasing real life science that appears fantastical). CNBP Research Fellow Martin Ploschner entertained and educated young and old with his fluorescing bubbles!

The day was hugely fulfilling and given a big thumbs up by CNBP Research Fellow Lianmei Jiang (pictured below) who led the outreach coordination on the day.

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Inaugural Professorial Lecture by CI Greentree

Andy-Greentree_web19 August 2016:

CNBP Chief Investigator Andrew Greentree presented to a full-house at RMIT University during his Inaugural Professorial Lecture on Friday evening, August 19th, 2016.

Over 150 colleagues, friends, family and members of the public were in attendance to hear about Andy’s innovative research, and to better understand the exciting potential of quantum technology and its many applications.

The inspiring 60 minute talk included live light-based demonstrations and a Q&A session with the audience giving Andy a heartfelt ovation as proceedings concluded. Informal feedback from guests as they departed was that the talk had been inspiring, educational and thoroughly enjoyable in nature!

Below – images from the event.

Andy-Professorial (1)

Andy-Professorial2