Monthly Archives: June 2017

Nanotechnology meets bioengineering

29 June 2017:

The Fudan-UH-MQ Workshop on ‘Nanotechnology meets Bioengineering’ was well supported by CNBP researchers at Macquarie University,  Wed 28th June – Thu 29th June.

A joint workshop, organised within the framework of University wide trilateral collaboration between Fudan, Hamburg and Macquarie, the event aimed to enhance collaborations between all three universities as well as generate potential cotutelle PhD candidates.

CNBP researchers presenting at the workshop included:

Prof. Nicolle H. Packer (CNBP Chief Investigator, pictured)
Cellular glycosylation: opportunities for discovering new molecular targets.

A/Prof. Anwar Sunna (CNBP Associate Investigator)
A platform technology for the self assembly of functional materials.

A/Prof. Guozhen Liu (CNBP Associate Investigator)
Nanotools for in vivo cytokine monitoring in neuroscience.

Dr. Nicole Cordina (CNBP Research Fellow)
Functionalisation of fluorescent nanodiamonds for bio-imaging applications.

Below: Prof. Nicolle Packer presents her talk on glycans.

New PhD candidate Fuyuan Zhang

27 June 2017:

CNBP welcomes its latest PhD candidate Fuyuan Zhang who will study under the supervision of Center ARC Future Fellow A/Prof. Guozhen Liu at Macquarie University.

Fuyuan’s project is to develop assays to detect plant microRNA, diagnostic markers for response to pathogen or virus infection in plants, and subsequently to integrate these assays to an in vivo device for plant disease early diagnosis.

Funded by the Cotutelle PhD program between Macquarie University and Tianjin University of Science and Technology (TUST), China, Fuyuan has expertise in the design of assays for detection of toxins in food samples; the preparation of fluorescent nanomaterials; and the development of computer simulations and modelling .

Welcome to the CNBP team Fuyuan!

Neurophotonics Summer School

21 June 2017:

This years Neurophotonics Summer School held in Quebec, Canada, June 11-21, was attended by three CNBP members – Vicky Staikopoulos (University of Adelaide, pictured), Antony Orth (RMIT University) and Varun Sreenivasan (UNSW).

The school focuses on teaching physics and biology and how they can merge, and runs for 10 days and includes 14 lectures from world class speakers and 10 workshops that teach the latest technology in the bio-imaging of the central nervous system.

For the last 4 days of the summer school, students are given a project to participate in for direct hands-on experience which is then presented on the last day,  with prizes awarded for the top 3 presentations.

This year, equal second prize was given to Vicky Staikopoulos for her work on Digital Holographic Microscopy in red blood cells.

 

Success in wool innovation competition

16 June 2017:

CNBP’s Ben Pullen (pictured) and Vicky Staikopoulos have been awarded a runner up prize as part of the University of Adelaide’s ‘Tech eChallenge Wool Innovation‘ competition.

There were 8 teams competing in the wool stream finals. First prize won $20,000 with 5x $10,000 prizes also on offer.

“We entered the competition to learn about marketing and entrepreneurial thinking and with only two weeks to go before the end of the workshop program we stumbled, by chance onto an idea as to how to help wool growers better manage their flock,” says Ben.

“Vicky Staikopoulos and I were awarded a runner up prize of $10,000 for our efforts. We plan to pursue this project and develop the idea into a working product.”

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.”

 

Outreach fun linked to science

10 June 2017:

Dr Martin Ploschner, CNBP Researcher, has taken his outreach skills to the Czech and Slovak School, Sydney where he performed several hands-on science shows for approximately 100 students, all aged 10 and under.

The show connected fun light-based activities with CNBP science and included the creation of gigantic fluorescent bubbles as well as the use of fluorescent screens that were able to be used as canvas that could be ‘painted on’ with light.

“I had a great time at the school and the activities were very well received,” says Martin.

“The younger kids had fun and the older children asked a lot of questions about the science behind the show. As an added bonus, I was invited back for further school open days as well!”

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.