All posts by Tony Crawshaw

Outreach at Concordia College

16 August 2017:

Students from Concordia College got the low-down on STEM careers—as well as learnt more about lasers, laboratories and the life of a scientist at a school outreach event organised and run by CNBP researchers from the University of Adelaide.

The event, celebrating National Science Week, saw a team of CNBP scientists and researchers visit Concordia College and present a variety of talks, DIY laboratory videos and science demonstrations, to over 150 Year 9 students with an interest in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).

CNBP’s Dr Hannah Brown, present on the day, sees outreach as a key responsibility for the science community.

“Getting high school students interested and engaged in STEM subjects is critical—not only to inspire future generations of young scientists but also in supporting the Australian economy more generally. What we hope to do with our outreach efforts is to show that science and technology can be fun and exciting, and potentially rewarding as a future career choice as well.”

Following the event, feedback from both students and teachers present was hugely positive with the CNBP team also gaining a great deal of satisfaction from their interactions and demonstration efforts.

Below: CNBP researchers Hannah Brown, Georgios Tsiminis, Patrick Capon and Aimee Horsfall with students, at the conclusion of a successful session of science outreach at Concordia College.

Launch of CNBP and CU partnership

15 August 2017:

The University of Colorado Boulder (CU) and the Centre for Nanoscale BioPhotonics (CNBP) have officially announced their research partnership status at a launch event that took place at CU today.

The collaboration between the CNBP, an Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence, and the University of Colorado Boulder, will explore the use of novel CNBP biophotonics tools and techniques to examine in real-time, neuroinflammatory processes that govern behavior.

The novel immune sensing technologies developed at CNBP will allow circuit-specific measurement of immune molecule release during stress-related paradigms in rodents performed at the University of Colorado Boulder.

The overarching goal of the collaboration is to better inform intervention efforts
focused on stress- and ageing-related diseases.

Partner Investigators at CU are Professor Steven Maier and Professor Linda Watkins with CU’s Dr Michael Baratta (the successful recipient of the CNBP-American Australian Association Fellowship in 2016), also working closely with this partnership.

Below: CNBP Director Prof Mark Hutchinson (left) presents a partner plaque to Partner Investigators – Professor Steven Maier and Professor Linda Watkins.

 

CNBP attracts the crowds at RMIT Open Day

13 August 2017:

Over 400 interested members of the public, including prospective students,  dropped by the CNBP laboratories as a part of RMIT University’s annual Open Day event, Sunday 13th August, 2017.

The Centre had two optics laboratories open and both were fully staffed by researchers eager to share their knowledge and enthusiasm for science.

In the first laboratory, an Olympus wide field microscope was on display with a live-cell incubation chamber and a daphnia (water flea), with brightfield and fluorescence videos.

In the other, a cryogenic confocal microscope was on show, which is able to look at the optical properties of nanomaterials, down to temperatures of 4K (which is -269 deg C).

According to CNBP node leader at RMIT, A/Prof Brant Gibson, the day was a great success.

“We saw a large, interested and engaged crowd who really wanted to find out more about our research and activity, and were curious as to how nanoscale biophotonics was going to impact society over coming years.”

There was also a large number of prospective students who visited and talked with CNBP team members. They had a wonderfully diverse range of interests ranging across the physics, chemistry, biology, IT and engineering disciplines.”

“It was fantastic to see the next generation of excited young scientist!”

Cambridge visit furthers research

10 August 2017:

After successfully receiving an ANN Overseas Travel Fellowship, CNBP researcher Dr Peipei Jia has arrived back at the University of Adelaide after a two month visit to the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology (LMB) in Cambridge, UK.

While there, Peipei had the opportunity to test both techniques and potential application for his work on the fabrication of large-area freestanding gold nanomembranes.

More specifically, tests undertaken while at Cambridge showed that the gold membrane had the size, quality and robustness  for the critical application of resolving molecular structures in Cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM).

Work continues but the nanophotonics structure is expected to have significant impact on both structural biology and electron microscopy.

CNBP at ‘Science meets Policymakers’

8 August 2017:

CNBP was well represented at the STA ‘Science meets Policymakers’ event held in Canberra, August 8, 2017.

Researchers A/Prof Guozhen Liu, Dr Alf Garcia-Bennett, Dr Sanam Mustafa and Dr Hannah Brown all attended and heard a number of talks on topics ranging from ‘A Whole Government approach to Science Policy’, to ‘A Crash-course in STEM and Policy Making’ through to discussion on ‘Positive and Meaningful Contributions to Policy.’

A/Prof Guozhen Liu particularly enjoyed the ‘Working Round Table’ discussion. “We discussed the 2030 Strategic Plan for the Australian Innovation, Science and Research System, which will help shape future science activity in Australia. It was emphasized that Australia encourages both fundamental and applied research, and that research excellence is key.”

A/Prof Liu also noted the importance of effective communication between stakeholders. “Methods and approaches to drive effective and engaged connections between Universities, Government and Industry were topics that were explored and discussed in depth throughout the day.”

The ‘Science meets Policymakers’ event brought together researchers and practitioners from a range of science and technology disciplines, with policymakers from across government departments and agencies. Objectives included to make connections and to examine the intersection between the evidence base and actual policy development.

Immobilization of enzymes onto solid supports

4 August 2017:

The study on “Solid-binding peptides for immobilization of thermostable enzymes to hydrolyze biomass polysaccharides” by CNBP Researcher Dr Andrew  Care and led by CNBP Associate Investigator  A/Prof Anwar Sunna has been featured on Renewable Energy Global Innovations as a key scientific paper.

The work was originally published in the scientific journal Biotechnology for Biofuels (February, 2017).

 

Welcome to a new CNBP researcher

27 July 2017:

CNBP welcomes its newest researcher to the team, Shi Xian (Edward) Moh who is based at Macquarie University.

Edward has previously been a part of Prof Nicki Packer’s glycomics group, successfully undertaking both his Honours and PhD study under her supervision. His study included detailed analysis of glycans, glycopeptides and glycoproteins and more specifically, research into using the glycosylation on the antibody immunoglobulin M (IgM) for specific labelling.

At CNBP, Edward will be initially examining functionalisation of the IgM antibody and other proteins, via chemo-enzymatic engineering of the glycans, for reproducible, multi-purpose labelling suitable for targeting specific cellular molecular receptors.

Edward’s experience includes detailed characterisation of proteins and their glycosylation by mass spectrometry; molecular biology of protein expression and purification, synthetic biology techniques, separation technologies; and coaching and advising undergraduate students in the world’s largest international synthetic biology competition, iGEM.

Welcome to the CNBP team Edward!

 

CNBP researcher at ICMAT and in China

5 July 2017:

CNBP Researcher, Dr Yu, from the University of Adelaide, presented recent findings on “Gating Electron Transfer in Peptides Towards Molecular Switches” at the International Conference on Materials for Advanced Technologies, commonly known as ICMAT 2017, held in Singapore, 18-24 June. It attracted more than 2,500 delegates from all over the world.

Following the ICMAT 2017, Dr Yu made a trip to Chongqing University, one of 985 project Universities in China. An invited lecture was given to the School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering and he met with Professors Xiaohua Chen, Yi Xu, and Lingjie Li.

While in Chongqing, he also made a visit to the microfabrication facilities, including the MEMS, Wafer Lithography and clean room at the Centre of MicroFabrication and MicroSystems, Chongqing University. Networking provided a number of possible future collaborations.

Below – Dr Yu presenting CNBP science at Chongqing University.

Want a better camera? Just copy bees!

4 July 2017:

Check out the latest buzz about bees and their extra light-sensing eyes! CNBP CI Prof Andy Greentree is coauthor on a new paper in PNAS, which identifies how the eyes and brains of honeybees work together, to process colour information.

“If we can design technology to mimic the way bees do this, we’ll be able to create better cameras and image-processing systems for drones and robots,” say the researchers in an article on the science news channel ‘The Conversation‘.

 

Superstars of STEM

3 July 2017:

Congratulations to CNBP’s Dr Hannah Brown and Dr Sanam Mustafa, both from the University of Adelaide and both selected to participate in the inaugural 2017 Superstars of STEM program.

The program, implemented by ‘Science and Technology Australia’, supports 30 women employed in science, technology, engineering and mathematics to become highly visible public role models.

All participants will be trained in public speaking, media, and communicating with influence, with the objective of inspiring and encouraging young women in their STEM related education and study.

Opportunities provided by the program will include mainstream media interviews, speaker slots at public, corporate and Government events as well as support for local high school visits.

“This program will directly encourage young women and girls to study and stay in STEM – by speaking with them in their schools and workplaces, and by providing prominent public role models for them to aspire to,” STA CEO Kylie Walker said.

The program was launched today by Professor Emma Johnston (STA President-Elect) and Senator the Hon Arthur Sindodinos, Minister for Industry, Innovation & Science.