18 April 2018:
Two fantastic sessions of outreach in two days by CNBP Associate Investigator Dr Annemarie Nadort saw 100 Year 11 and Year 12 students learn about biophotonics, blood cells and the skills required to create medical devices that benefit society.
The sessions took place at Macquarie University and were part of a highly successful initiative aimed at encouraging students to undertake higher education learning and potentially develop a career in science.
During the outreach sessions, Dr Annemarie Nadort provided the students with a brief overview of light-based imaging and how it could be best applied to examine blood inside the body. Students were then presented with a real-life case-study on the development of a clinical microcirculation imager. A hands-on demonstration of the device then took place, followed by an interactive group discussion on how the device could be potentially improved with future development. Students were then left with the message that there were many opportunities open to them across the scientific and technology disciplines, and that they should study in those areas that they were most enthusiastic about.
“I was extremely impressed as to how engaged these students were,” said Dr Annemarie Nadort. “They provided some great answers during the group discussion stage of the session and had really thought through issues and potential solutions. I could see the keenness for science and technology in the room and hopefully my sessions added to that keenness and passion for science. I’d love to see some of these students become the researchers of the future, developing their own fantastic new medical devices over the years and decades to come.”
Below: Dr Annemarie Nadort communicating the wonders of science to high school students and explaining what it takes to become a successful academic research scientist.
28 February 2018:
CNBP welcomes Dr Melanie Bagg, Director of Communications and Outreach, Australian Academy of Science as the new Chair of its Education and Outreach Advisory Committee.
The Committee provides guidance to the CNBP in marketing, public relations, communications and outreach with Melanie a PhD qualified medical research scientist and professional science communicator.
In this role, Melanie will bring her extensive knowledge of science communications and engagement strategies to the Centre. This includes prior experience gained as Manager of Business Development, Australian Science Media Centre (AusSMC) as well as various senior marketing and outreach roles at the University of Adelaide.
As Chair of the CNBP Education and Outreach Committee, Melanie will also be welcomed as a member of the CNBP Advisory Board. This high level Advisory group advises on the strategic directions for the Centre and monitors delivery of organisational outcomes.
“I’m extremely excited to be able to help CNBP continue its great work in communicating its scientific outcomes to a wide range of stakeholders including school students, the general public and media,” she said.
“The research coming out of the Centre is simply fantastic and I look forward to being involved in such an exciting and interdisciplinary scientific space.”
Below – Melanie Bagg joins Team CNBP. L to R – Kathy Nicholson (CNBP Chief Operating Officer), Melanie Bagg (Outreach Committee Chair), Prof Mark Hutchinson (CNBP Director) and Catriona Jackson (Advisory Board Chair).
11 December 2017:
Science met art as researchers from CNBP and the Institute for Photonics and Advanced Sensing (IPAS) visited the ‘Quantum Colour: Capturing The Movement Of Light’ exhibition at Adelaide’s JamFactory and got a back-stage tour with artist and Creative Director of JamFactory Glass Studio, Karen Cunningham.
The exhibition, melding science with traditional glass blowing techniques features Cunningham’s works and sees her explore nanoparticles as a primary constituent of how light may be subverted or augmented in hand-made glass art. Her glass works were inspired by meetings and interactions with CNBP and IPAS researchers over the course of the year.
CNBP Director, Prof Hutchinson believes that scientists and artists are more alike than different and that the two have a lot that they are able to share. “When science and art collide it means scientists and artists can share their inspirations, get creative and produce fantastic and innovative outcomes.”
Further information on the exhibition, Karen Cunningham and her engagement with CNBP science can be read online in an article in the Adelaide Review.
Below – one of the glass works being exhibited at JamFactory.
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.
6 November 2017:
Thirty-one Year 11 students from Concordia College visited CNBP headquarters at the University of Adelaide, 6th November 2017, further strengthening outreach engagement and linkages between the school and Centre researchers.
The students, part of the International Baccalaureate Science program, enjoyed presentations from CNBP researchers, participated in a Q&A regarding CNBP science, and undertook lab tours with Dr Jiawen Li who did a show and tell with Miniprobes technology. Students were then able to get hands-on with the mini-probe, experimenting with its capabilities on pieces of fruit which mimicked potential use on the human body.
As part of the outreach session – CNBP’s Dr Kyle Dunning talked about her research and its focus on reproductive health, Patrick Capon and Aimee Horsfall presented chemistry and its use in CNBP sensing technology and Dr Georgios Tsiminis talked about his own physics journey and the sensing work that he is now working on in the meat and dairy space.
Feedback from Joanne Rogers, Head of Science at Concordia College, noted that she thought this outreach session was, “The best yet with CNBP.”
Below – photos from the visit.
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.
23 September 2017:
CNBP scientists joined forces with astronauts, astronomers, scientists, stargazers and artists to present a night starring astronomy and light at the annual AstroLight Festival, held at Scienceworks in Melbourne, Saturday 23 September, 2017.
The public event, which attracted more than 1,500 attendees, saw eleven CNBP team members involved – giving talks, undertaking light-focused science demonstrations and hosting an interactive stall.
Specific talks included:
- Science Fiction Science Fact – Laser Combat in Movies from A/Prof Brant Gibson, CNBP node leader at RMIT
- The Spark of Life – Dr Hannah Brown, CNBP Fellow from the University of Adelaide
- Fluorescent Proteins – From Nature to the Lab from CNBP PhD student Emma Wilson
Event feedback from A/Prof Gibson was extremely positive. “There was plenty of interest in our light-based CNBP science and some great questions from the public both young and old. The team really pulled together to make our participation such a success – both on the night and in the lead up activity, and with the development of the displays and demonstrations.”
Below – The CNBP team ready to do outreach!
17 September 2017:
Georgina Sylvia, CNBP researcher, was recently involved in two outreach events organised as part of the Children’s University Regional Lecture Series, which aims to stimulate interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM subjects) for school children in Years 6-9.
At the first event at Renmark, she presented exciting chemistry demonstrations to year 7 and 8 students from the local community at the McCormick Centre for the Environment. The students were engaged in groups of 25 and encouraged to participate in the experiments and to ask and discuss science related queries.
The best quote of the day heard by Georgina – “Chemistry is awesome!”
The second outreach event was held at ‘Riverland Field Days’, 15-16th September, 2017. This community event is held annually “showcasing horticultural, agricultural and general farming products and services along with many general exhibitors.”
Children’s University, as a part of the Regional Lecture Series, set up a stall where Georgina and other researchers demonstrated and engaged kids in activities such as Engineering (building catapults from popsicle sticks), Chemistry (Slime making) and Biology (an aroma-sensory panel activity).
Feedback from Georgina – “The best part of this event was encouraging parents and caregivers to get involved in the activities with their kids, and to learn things together. Another great experience for me was encouraging a little girl to get involved in the catapult-making engineering activity, and seeing her so excited to participate!”
Below – Georgina (second right) at the Field Days event.
14 September 2017:
Eighty Concordia College students with an interest in STEM undertook a series of educational tours at CNBP laboratories at the University of Adelaide—forty students visiting Wednesday 6th September and a further forty students visiting Wednesday 13th September, 2017.
The students were hosted by a number of CNBP researchers, undertaking laboratory tours in both the Braggs and Health and Medical Sciences buildings.
As well as getting an introduction to CNBP and biophotonic related science, the students were shown a range of CNBP activity and work-spaces. This included demonstrations of advanced needle probes and optical imaging systems, hands-on demonstrations of near-infrared light scanners, use of a 3D metal printer and tours of the Centre’s glass and optical fibre fabrication facilities, as well as tours of the embryology laboratory where embryo culture and cryopreservation techniques were also able to be shown.
Emily Johnson, Middle Years Programme Coordinator from Concordia College noted, “All of the students (and teachers) really enjoyed the sessions. They came back quite buzzing and extremely interested in what they saw.”
Feedback from the CNBP researchers was also extremely positive with many noting the excellent questions posed by the students during the lab tour demonstrations and activity.
12 September 2017:
CNBP researchers Dr Denitza Denkova and Dr Martin Ploschner took their luminescence and fluorescence science expertise to the general public, at a special after-hours event known as ‘Science at the Calyx’ at the Royal Botanic Garden in Sydney.
Presenting to an audience of approximately sixty people, the CNBP scientists focused on giving members of the public information about the origins of luminescence and examples of it being used – from everyday life to medical applications, and the amazing natural phenomenon of bioluminescence which can be found in plants, animals and fungi.
Following the hour long talk, there were demonstrations including the use of fluorescent bubbles, a ‘magical’ fluorescent screen, the showing of several fluorescent specimens and an examination of fluorescence in money and documents for security purposes. There was also as ample time for attendees to talk to the researchers about their work with fluorescent molecules and nanoparticles.
According to Dr Denkova, the event was highly rewarding.
“There was plenty of opportunity for personal interaction which was embraced by attendees. Many had an interest in the medical applications related to fluorescence, but there were also great questions on practical everyday activities – such as how to paint bikes with fluorescent paint to help improve road safety. Following the talk, people had the chance to walk around the beautiful garden with a UV torch in their hand to discover for themselves which plants are fluorescent. Both Martin and myself enjoyed communicating our science to a wider public!”