All posts by Tony Crawshaw

Goldys on ‘Key Thinkers’ panel

8 February 2018:

The ability to develop a holistic and interdisciplinary vision was raised as a key attribute and skill by CNBP Deputy Director Prof Ewa Goldys at today’s ‘Key Thinkers – Key Concepts – Scholarly Gaze’ panel discussion, coordinated by the Faculty of Human Sciences, based at Macquarie University.

The event, consisting of prominent scientific speakers across differing disciplines, looked to better define the process of ‘seeing’ and ‘observation’ within the higher education research environment. Discussed were the use of technologies and techniques to help support advanced scientific theory development as well as best-practice methodology and laboratory experimentation.

Goldys, Professor at UNSW and Adjunct Professor at Macquarie University noted the advantages of having alternate vantage points and expertise from differing disciplines in her imaging, visualisation and cell colour research at the CNBP.

“It is the ability to bring together multiple disciplines and areas  – such as physics, chemistry, biology, medicine and materials science – that allows for the big science and health questions to be explored and then answered,” she said.

Below – Prof Ewa Goldys discussing the way in which she has successfully combined computer analysis with microscopy, to extract highly detailed cellular information that can help distinguish between healthy and diseased cells.

Detonation nanodiamonds to aid bioimaging

6 February 2018:

Tiny 5 nm detonation nanodiamonds glow in different colors and their fluorescence is pH dependent, reports a new paper by CNBP scientists published today in the Nature journal Scientific Reports.

Lead author of the paper Dr Philipp Reineck from RMIT University (Former CNBP Research Fellow and current CNBP Associate Investigator) notes that the research is particulalry exciting as the fluorescence lifetime of the detonation nanodiamonds makes fluorescence lifetime imaging (FLIM) for bioimaging applications feasible.

Journal: Scientific Reports.

Publication title: Visible to near-IR fluorescence from single-digit detonation nanodiamonds: excitation wavelength and pH dependence.

Authors: Philipp Reineck, Desmond W. M. Lau, Emma R. Wilson, Nicholas Nunn, Olga A. Shenderova & Brant C. Gibson.

Abstract: Detonation nanodiamonds are of vital significance to many areas of science and technology. However, their fluorescence properties have rarely been explored for applications and remain poorly understood. We demonstrate significant fluorescence from the visible to near-infrared spectral regions from deaggregated, single-digit detonation nanodiamonds dispersed in water produced via post-synthesis oxidation. The excitation wavelength dependence of this fluorescence is analyzed in the spectral region from 400 nm to 700 nm as well as the particles’ absorption characteristics. We report a strong pH dependence of the fluorescence and compare our results to the pH dependent fluorescence of aromatic hydrocarbons. Our results significantly contribute to the current understanding of the fluorescence of carbon-based nanomaterials in general and detonation nanodiamonds in particular.

Diabetes and early pregnancy

1 February 2018:

CNBP and Robinson Research Institute researcher Dr Hannah Brown, University of Adelaide is lead author on a newly published paper that looks to understand why pregnancy failure and pregnancy loss occurs in women with diabetes. The paper was published in the Nature journal Scientific Reports.

Publication titlePericonception onset diabetes is associated with embryopathy and fetal growth retardation, reproductive tract hyperglycosylation and impaired immune adaptation to pregnancy.

Authors: Hannah M. Brown, Ella S. Green, Tiffany C. Y. Tan, Macarena B. Gonzalez, Alice R. Rumbold, M. Louise Hull, Robert J. Norman, Nicolle H. Packer, Sarah A. Robertson & Jeremy G. Thompson.

Abstract: Diabetes has been linked with impaired fertility but the underlying mechanisms are not well defined. Here we use a streptozotocin-induced diabetes mouse model to investigate the cellular and biochemical changes in conceptus and maternal tissues that accompany hyperglycaemia. We report that streptozotocin treatment before conception induces profound intra-cellular protein β-O-glycosylation (O-GlcNAc) in the oviduct and uterine epithelium, prominent in early pregnancy. Diabetic mice have impaired blastocyst development and reduced embryo implantation rates, and delayed mid-gestation growth and development. Peri-conception changes are accompanied by increased expression of pro-inflammatory cytokine Trail, and a trend towards increased Il1a, Tnf and Ifng in the uterus, and changes in local T-cell dynamics that skew the adaptive immune response to pregnancy, resulting in 60% fewer anti-inflammatory regulatory T-cells within the uterus-draining lymph nodes. Activation of the heat shock chaperones, a mechanism for stress deflection, was evident in the reproductive tract. Additionally, we show that the embryo exhibits elevated hyper-O-GlcNAcylation of both cytoplasmic and nuclear proteins, associated with activation of DNA damage (ɣH2AX) pathways. These results advance understanding of the impact of peri-conception diabetes, and provide a foundation for designing interventions to support healthy conception without propagation of disease legacy to offspring.

New Centre postdoc at Adelaide

31 January 2018:

CNBP welcomes its newest researcher to the team, Dr Thomas Avery who is based at the University of Adelaide.

Thomas was awarded a PhD in chemistry by The University of Adelaide in 2002 and completed post-doctoral positions at The University of Oxford (England) with Dr David Hodgson and The University of Adelaide with Dr Dennis Taylor. During his post-doctoral tenures, he developed a strong publication record in leading organic chemistry journals typically focused on probing the scope, mechanism and application of novel chemical reactions.

Transitioning to industry in 2008, Thomas contributed to new drug development for Adelaide based company Bionomics Ltd, as a Senior Research Scientist in the chemistry division. Bionomics provided him the opportunity to work on a diverse set of projects developing drug candidates in cancer therapeutics and for CNS indications. Most notably, he was chemistry lead for the program that led to the cognition/Alzheimer’s disease collaboration with Merck Sharp and Dohme (MSD) and more recently the pain collaboration, also partnered with MSD.

Thomas has now returned to an academic research role as a CNBP Research Fellow in Professor Andrew Abell’s group.

Building on his medicinal chemistry background he will work on projects to create potential medicaments and biosensors within the Centre. More specifically, his first project is to create Bortezomib-like proteasome inhibitors with improved selectivity and targeted mode of action employing photo-switchable moieties.

A big welcome to the CNBP team Thomas!

Prof Ewa Goldys recognised as SPIE Fellow

30 January 2018:

Today Professor Ewa Goldys, Professor at the Graduate School of Biomedical Engineering at UNSW and Deputy Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Nanoscale BioPhotonics (CNBP), was recognised as a Fellow of SPIE.

Fellows are SPIE Members of distinction who have made significant scientific and technical contributions in the multidisciplinary fields of optics, photonics, and imaging.

Professor Goldys was honoured by the recognition with the Fellowship citation noting her “achievements in optical characterisation of nanomaterials, biochemical and medical sensing.”

“I see this award as a mark of acknowledgement of the Australian standing in the international biophotonics community. I am very proud of my new role in SPIE. As a Society, SPIE plays such a pivotal role in the development of biophotonics and its translation to industry,” she said.

SPIE is an international society advancing an interdisciplinary approach to the science and application of light.

Founded in 1955 this professional organisation promotes information exchange though conferences and publications, supports continuing education, career development, and engages in advocacy.

Below – Prof Ewa Goldys at the Fellows reception.

Magnetically sensitive optical fibre demonstrated

19 January 2018:

A new paper featuring CNBP researchers demonstrates magnetically sensitive nanodiamond-doped tellurite glass fibres. This work is a first step towards magneto-sensitive fibre devices which could be used in medical magneto-endoscopy and remote mineral exploration sensing. First author of the paper is CNBP AI, Dr Yinlan Ruan from the University of Adelaide.

Journal: Scientific Reports.

Publication titleMagnetically sensitive nanodiamond-doped tellurite glass fibers.

Authors: Yinlan Ruan, David A. Simpson, Jan Jeske, Heike Ebendorff-Heidepriem, Desmond W. M. Lau, Hong Ji, Brett C. Johnson, Takeshi Ohshima, Shahraam Afshar V., Lloyd Hollenberg, Andrew D. Greentree, Tanya M. Monro & Brant C. Gibson.

Abstract: Traditional optical fibers are insensitive to magnetic fields, however many applications would benefit from fiber-based magnetometry devices. In this work, we demonstrate a magnetically sensitive optical fiber by doping nanodiamonds containing nitrogen vacancy centers into tellurite glass fibers. The fabrication process provides a robust and isolated sensing platform as the magnetic sensors are fixed in the tellurite glass matrix. Using optically detected magnetic resonance from the doped nanodiamonds, we demonstrate detection of local magnetic fields via side excitation and longitudinal collection. This is a first step towards intrinsically magneto-sensitive fiber devices with future applications in medical magneto-endoscopy and remote mineral exploration sensing.

New CNBP student at Macquarie

11 January 2018:

CNBP is happy to announce its newest student – Mina Ghanimi Fard. Mina is undertaking a Master of Research in Molecular Sciences at Macquarie University and is based in the Department of Chemistry and Biomolecular Sciences.

Supervised by CNBP’s Dr Lindsay Parker, her project title is ‘Targeting Sugar Receptors with Bio-conjugated Nanodiamonds in a 3D Model of Human Brain Cancer.’

Mina has a Bachelor Degree  of General Biology from Azad University in Iran and a Master of Managerial Psychology from HELP University in Malaysia.

Areas of interest include biotechnology in general and also cancer related research; fluorescent nanodiamonds and microscope imaging; CRISPER and synthetic biology or anything related to gene modification.

Welcome to the CNBP team Mina!

New aptasensor able to detect intracellular IFN-γ

8 January 2018:

A new research paper, resulting from a partnership between CNBP and Jilin University has been published, reporting on the development of a new aptasensor which is able to detect ultrasmall concentrations of intracellular IFN-γ. This simple and highly sensitive sensor is able to be used for real-time bio-imaging, providing  a universal sensing platform for monitoring a spectrum of molecules secreted by cells.

Journal: ACS Sensors.

Publication title: “Turn-on” Fluorescent Aptasensor Based on AIEgen Labeling for the Localization of IFN-γ in Live Cells.

Author: Ke Ma, Fengli Zhang, Nima Sayyadi, Wenjie Chen, Ayad G. Anwer, Andrew Care, Bin Xu , Wenjing Tian, Ewa M. Goldys and Guozhen Liu.

Abstract: We report an aggregation-induced emission fluorogen (AIEgen)-based turn-on fluorescent aptasensor able to detect the ultrasmall concentration of intracellular IFN-γ. The aptasensor consists of an IFN-γ aptamer labeled with a fluorogen with a typical aggregation-induced emission (AIE) characteristic, which shows strong red emission only in the presence of IFN-γ. The aptasensor is able to effectively monitor intracellular IFN-γ secretion with the lowest detection limit of 2 pg mL-1, and it is capable of localizing IFN-γ in live cells during secretion, with excellent cellular permeability and biocompatibility as well as low cytotoxicity. This probe is able to localize the intracellular IFN-γ at a low concentration <10 pg mL-1, and it is successfully used for real-time bioimaging. This simple and highly sensitive sensor may enable the exploration of cytokine pathways and their dynamic secretion process in the cellular environment. It provides a universal sensing platform for monitoring a spectrum of molecules secreted by cells.

Multi-LED light source for hyperspectral imaging

15 December 2017:

A multi-LED light source has been investigated by CNBP researchers for use in hyperspectral imaging. The research featured in the journal ‘Optics Express’  with the lead author on the paper, PhD student Kashif Islam, based at Macquarie University.

Journal: Optics Express.

Publication titleMulti-LED light source for hyperspectral imaging.

Author: Kashif Islam, Martin Ploschner, and Ewa M. Goldys.

Abstract: We investigate a novel light source design for efficient collection of UV light from multiple LEDs. The design is based on a truncated cone with a large circular lid incorporating LEDs on one side, and a small circular exit aperture (diameter of 9 mm) on the other side. The exit aperture size allows a simple coupling with secondary optics of a microscope for hyperspectral imaging that requires a wide spectrum of frequencies of illuminating light. The light collection efficiency was optimized with respect to cone length and diameter of the LED lid. In all simulations, we use a highly UV-reflecting aluminum coating on the inner surfaces of the cone. The influence of the LED positions on the cone efficiency is determined by varying the LED distance from the central axis as well as the interLED distance. We found the maximum efficiency of the cone is realized for LEDs positioned at the center, and the shorter is the inter-LED distance, the better is the performance of the light source.

Nanoscale biophotonics for the ‘other’ brain

12 December 2017:

CNBP Director Prof Mark Hutchinson, The University of Adelaide has published a new review and commentary on the future of sensor development in the exciting new world of neuroimmunoscience!

Journal: Microelectronic Engineering.

Publication titleThe importance of knowing you are sick: Nanoscale biophotonics for the ‘other’ brain.

Author: Mark R. Hutchinson.

Abstract: A great new frontier in biomedical science has recently been discovered that requires the attention of technologists from diverse backgrounds to equip scientists with the tools needed to explore this great uncharted area. This new expanding domain is the exploration of the neuroimmune cells of the central nervous system, and their real-time function and contributions to the health and disease of the brain and spinal cord. Glia, once thought of as mere structural supports for the brain, are now appreciated to actively contribute to brain function. However, the true complexity of this system is still hidden from close examination, owing to a range of technological and methodological limitations. Here, some of these opportunities and challenges are outlined to expose the micro and nanoengineering community to this dynamic area of research, and to encourage innovation and technology application in the research of the “other brain”.