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School tour of Braggs building

27 July 2018:

Year 12 chemistry/biology students from Temple Christian College were given a tour around the Braggs building and CNBP laboratories at the University of Adelaide by Centre PhD student Kathryn Palasis.

As a part of the tour students were shown the chemistry and laser laboratories and were also shown the glass and fibre fabrication facilities to aid understanding of the type of research that is undertaken by CNBP and others in the research space.

Seminar and lab visit at Zhejiang University

7 June 2018:

CNBP’s Dr Jiawen Li has given a science talk at the College of Optical Science and Engineering, Zhejiang University, China, 7th June, 2018. The talk’s title was ‘Miniaturized multimodal fibre-optic probes for biomedical applications’.

While at the college, Dr Li also visited laboratories specialising in super resolution microscopy, holography and optical coherence tomograpy (OCT). She also shared with undergraduate and master students, her experiences of studying in both the United States and Australia, and provided her perspective on potential career paths for post-doctorate researchers.

Understanding the role that sugars play

30 March 2018:

CNBP scientists Chris Ashwood (pictured) and Prof Nicki Packer at Macquarie University have shown that sugars with exactly the same chemical composition but slightly different structure break apart differently in their latest publication in the area of mass spectrometry. This work is their first step in automating sugar analysis, to understand the role sugars play in human disease.

Journal: Journal of The American Society for Mass Spectrometry.

Publication title: Discrimination of Isomers of Released N- and O-Glycans Using Diagnostic Product Ions in Negative Ion PGC-LC-ESI-MS/MS.

Authors: Christopher Ashwood, Chi-Hung Lin, Morten Thaysen-Andersen, Nicolle H. Packer.

Profiling cellular protein glycosylation is challenging due to the presence of highly similar glycan structures that play diverse roles in cellular physiology. As the anomericity and the exact linkage type of a single glycosidic bond can influence glycan function, there is a demand for improved and automated methods to confirm detailed structural features and to discriminate between structurally similar isomers, overcoming a significant bottleneck in the analysis of data generated by glycomics experiments. We used porous graphitized carbon-LC-ESI-MS/MS to separate and detect released N- and O-glycan isomers from mammalian model glycoproteins using negative mode resonance activation CID-MS/MS. By interrogating similar fragment spectra from closely related glycan isomers that differ only in arm position and sialyl linkage, product fragment ions for discrimination between these features were discovered. Using the Skyline software, at least two diagnostic fragment ions of high specificity were validated for automated discrimination of sialylation and arm position in N-glycan structures, and sialylation in O-glycan structures, complementing existing structural diagnostic ions. These diagnostic ions were shown to be useful for isomer discrimination using both linear and 3D ion trap mass spectrometers when analyzing complex glycan mixtures from cell lysates. Skyline was found to serve as a useful tool for automated assessment of glycan isomer discrimination. This platform-independent workflow can potentially be extended to automate the characterization and quantitation of other challenging glycan isomers.

Sameera Iqbal awarded poster prize

2 February 2018:

Sameera Iqbal, CNBP PhD student at Macquarie University has been awarded a certificate and cash prize for her poster presentation at the Australasian Glycoscience Symposium at the Lorne Proteomics Conference, 2 Feb, 2018.

Her poster detailed the following work –

‘PolySialic Acid (PolySia) is an α2-8-linked sialic acid chain present on cell surfaces in embryonic brains. Changes in polysialylation pattern are reported to be associated with immune defense and inflammation in the CNS. Opioids such as Morphine-3-Glucuronide (M3G) (metabolite of morphine) activates neuroinflammation in a manner parallel to Lipopolysaccharide (LPS), compromising opioid-induced analgesia. In this study, morphine (Morphine-3-glucuronide) was hypothesized to affect the polySia expression in neurons and astrocyte cell lines. It was observed that PolySia expression was significantly increased in neurons following LPS and M3G stimulation.’

Well done Sameera!

Outreach at Fresh Science

8 November 2017:

The world’s smallest fibre-optic probe that can simultaneously see and sense deeply inside the body (Dr Jiawen Li) and an anti-cancer drug that can be switched ‘on’ and ‘off’ inside the body to help reduce chemotherapy side effects (PhD student Kathryn Palasis). These were the research narratives developed by the two CNBP scientists who attended the ‘Fresh Science’ outreach training program on the 7th-8th November in Adelaide, South Australia.

“I had a great time participating in Fresh Science,” said Kathryn Palasis.

“We had a full day of media training which included practise interviews with journalists from TV, radio and print, who taught us how to best explain our science to the general public. We then had the opportunity to present our work to some very eager and inquisitive school students, and later had to summarise our research to a crowd at the pub in the time it took for a sparkler to burn out! It was a great learning experience and a lot of fun – plus I got to meet some really cool local researchers who are all doing exciting work.”

Dr Jiawen Li also enjoyed the experience. “What I got from the program was the ability to promote my science to the media, knowledge on how to be noticed by journalists and the experience of being interviewed, as well as broader presentation skills aimed at communicating complicated science concepts to a general audience. The two days were extremely rewarding!”

Fresh Science (run by Science in Public) is a national competition helping early-career researchers find, and then share, their stories of discovery. The program takes up-and-coming researchers with no media experience and turns them into spokespeople for science, with a day of media training and a public outreach event in their home state.

Below – Fresh Science participants. Kathryn Palasis fourth from left. Dr Jiawen Li fourth from right. Photo credit: Fresh Science/Science in Public.


Ecolinc STEM program

16 October 2017:

Centre Associate Investigator, Dr Kate Fox from RMIT University has participated in the Ecolinc STEM for Women program in Melbourne, Oct 16th, 2017.

Ninety students (Years 9 and 10) attended the event where they  got to learn of the experiences from a range of women who work in a variety of STEM related areas. They also heard from education providers about potential career pathways in STEM and listened to the career journeys of successful women in science.

The students were from Upper Yarra, St Albans, Dandenong, Southern Cross Grammar, Bacchus Marsh, Overnewton College, Highview College, Bellarine and Whittlesea.


Student poster award

14 October 2017:

Aimee Horsfall, CNBP PhD student at the University of Adelaide has been awarded a student Poster Award (of four), with cash prize, for her poster titled “Introduction of a new fluorescent constraint on-resin” at the 6th Modern Solid-Phase Peptide Synthesis Symposium, held at Fraser Island from the 12-14th of October. The symposium is a satellite conference of the 12th Australian Peptide Conference which was held in Noosa from the 15-20th October which Aimee also attended.

Nano ‘terminator style’ antennae

12 October 2017:

The liquid metal, shape-shifting T-1000 Terminator cyborg, featuring in a 1991 science-fiction film Terminator 2, was made possible due to breakthroughs in computer-generated imagery.

Some 25 years later, using breakthroughs in physics and chemistry CNBP scientists Dr Ivan Maksymov and Prof Andy Greentree at RMIT University have shown reconfigurable liquid-metal optical nanoantennae.

“An optical nanoantenna operates similarly to a conventional radio-frequency antenna, but its size is millions of times smaller” explains Dr Ivan Maksymov, “so it can receive and emit light similar to how a mobile phone antenna receives and emits radio waves.”

“The shape and length of the metal components that form a radio-frequency antenna determine its major properties such as operating frequency and radiation pattern,” explains Prof Andy Greentree, “so a liquid metal that can change its shape by applying voltage allows for changing antenna properties, which otherwise is difficult to achieve with fixed metal parts.”

“However, reconfigurability of optical nanoantennae is even more difficult to achieve than in radio-frequency antennae, because of their small size and lack of technologies enabling us to apply voltage to nanoscale sized objects. Therefore, we proposed a new solution – reconfiguration of liquid-metal nanoparticles using ultrasound.”

Continued Dr Maksymov, “A liquid-metal nanoparticle can change its shape due to capillary oscillations, which can be seen by everybody when observing water drops falling from a leaking kitchen tap. Drops change their shape when they detach from the tap and fall into the sink. In our work, we use ultrasound to change the shape of liquid-metal nanodroplets, which changes the nanoantenna’s operating frequency.”

“But fundamental physics remains the same as in the case of water drops.”

The paper ‘Dynamically reconfigurable plasmon resonances enabled by capillary oscillations of liquid-metal nanodroplets’ is accessible online.