Band-aids and bandages are remarkable. A simple invention allows us to cover, treat and protect injuries until they have time to heal. But they come with a big drawback – the only way we can check how well the wound is healing, is by removing them.
This means that sometimes infections are detected only after they take hold, which can lead to increased recovery times and the need for additional medications and care.
Now imagine a technology that enables us to track the healing process without needing to remove the bandage.
This technology is being worked on by a group of CNBP researchers based at RMIT University who presented their research at a Physics in the Pub event held in Hawthorn last week.
The team explained that by using nanodiamonds in a ‘smart dressing’, researchers are able to detect temperature changes within or surrounding a wound – a common indication of infection – without removing the bandage.
This would give doctors and nurses the ability to track the healing progress without having to remove and re-apply the dressing.
Dr Amanda Abraham, who presented alongside Qiang Sun, Daniel Stavrevski and Donbi Bai, explained that the topic was chosen because “almost everyone has experienced the pain of band-aid removal. Using nanodiamonds could save the patient further discomfort, and speed up the healing process by providing treatment only when needed.”
Physics in the Pub is an informal, light-hearted night where physicists, astronomers, theoreticians, engineers and educators share their love of science over a refreshing beverage. The event is supported by the AIP, and ARC Centres of Excellence CNBP, OzGrav, FLEET and Exciton Science.
‘The power of light to measure’ was the phrase commonly expressed by Centre researchers staffing the CNBP stand at this year’s Macquarie University Open Day.
This was in response to potential University students and their family members, who were looking to find out more about nanoscale biophotonics as well as to better understand potential opportunities that might be open to graduates who successfully gain a degree in biology, physics or chemistry.
Many of the visitors left the CNBP stand impressed as to the broad application of biophotonics in the healthcare, food safety and manufacturing sectors. They also learnt more about the current activities of the CNBP, particularly in creating new sensing and imaging technologies to better understand molecular activity taking place within the living body.
The Open Day at Macquarie University saw many thousands of people visit Campus and engage with both staff and current students, in their exploration of courses open for undergraduate study.
Below, CNBP researchers Dr Wei Deng (left) and Dr Lianmei Jiang (right) get ready to talk nanoscale biophotonics as the doors open at the 2017 MQ Uni Open Day.
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.
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!”
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.
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.
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.
Prof Mark Hutchinson has hosted a visit to the University of Adelaide and CNBP Headquarters of His Excellency Mr Pedro Zwahlen, Ambassador of Switzerland to Australia.
The visit from the Ambassador was a part of a four day trip to Adelaide which included visits to the Tonsley Innovation Precinct, the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute, various South Australian Government Departments, as well as meetings with the Honourable Jack Snelling MP and the Honourable Zoe Bettison MP.
As a part of the Ambassador’s visit to the University of Adelaide, Prof Hutchinson discussed CNBP science activity, the power of light to measure in the body, and provided a walk-through tour of the Centre’s laboratories.
Below – Prof Mark Hutchinson left, with His Excellency Mr Pedro Zwahlen.
On a recent trip to China, CNBP Research Fellow A/Prof Guozhen Liu undertook a number of visits and talks, discussing her advanced sensing, nano-particle and bio-imaging work. This included:
5 May-8 May: Attendance at the International Congress on Analytical Sciences 2017 (ICAS2017) at Kaikou, China. Here Guozhen gave an oral presentation with the title “Engineering reduced graphen oxides towards a label-free electrochemical immunosensor for detection of tumor necrosis factor-alpha.”
11 May: Guozhen gave an invited talk titled, “Nanotools for cytokine monitoring in neuroscience” at Prof Zhihong Zhang’s research team at Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan. Prof Zhang is one of CNBP’s Partner Investigators at HUST.
13-14 May: Guozhen provided a keynote speech, titled, “An optical fibre based ex-vivo device for detection of cytokines” at the 2nd International Congress on Biomedical Imaging and Signal Processing (ICBISP 2017) at Wuhan.