10 August 2018:
Over one hundred primary school children saw CNBP and Macquarie University researchers Dr Martin Ploschner (pictured) and Dr Annemarie Nadort present fun-filled light-focused science demonstrations at the Australian Museum as a part of National Science Week and the Sydney Science Festival for 2018.
Dr Martin Ploschner demonstrated how every-day items such as soap, detergent, money, and identity documents will glow or fluoresce when UV light is shone on them. Also demonstrated was the ‘glow affect’ from natural organisms such as scorpions, green leaves and bacteria on pistachios.
Dr Annemarie Nadort showed the children how they could see a network of blood vessels in their own tongue with a special microscope camera, facilitating an understanding of the human body and the tools needed to be able to see within it.
“The kids were amazed by seeing the continuous flow of red blood cells in the vessels. They were described as being like ‘in a rollercoaster’ or ‘like little ants walking on paths’, said Dr Nadort.
“It was great to see the excitement and interest from kids as young as six at our stand. Hopefully we managed to play a small role in promoting an ongoing interest in science in these bright and eager minds,” she said.
Below – Dr Annemarie Nadort and Dr Martin Ploschner demonstrate the wonders of science to children at the Australian Museum.
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.
26 July 2018:
Touching on issues as diverse as space science, natural disasters, pollution and extreme biology, Yr 7- 12 high school students had the opportunity to gain insight into humanity’s big issues at a three day Macquarie University outreach event held in association with the organisation ‘One Giant Leap (Australia)’.
As a part of this event activity, CNBP’s Dr Annemarie Nadort undertook two separate outreach presentations to approximately 50 students, explaining the human body, the biology of blood, the physics of light and the potential of non invasive optical clinical technologies that could potentially be applied to humans in space.
“It was great to talk with such enthused students,” said Annemarie. “There were some great questions about how we can image deep inside the body and the many challenges that we face in being able to do so successfully.”
Below – Students are given a demonstration of a clinical micro-circulation imager by Dr Nadort. Using the device, blood cells and vessels under the tongue are able to be seen on the screen.
17 July 2018:
CNBP’s Georgina Sylvia facilitated and presented a School Holiday Lecture Series for Children’s University Australia (a University of Adelaide Outreach Program), 17 July 2018. Children’s University Adelaide offers educational experiences for children aged 7-14.
20 June 2018:
Approximately 100 patrons at the Belgian Beer Cafe in Melbourne were treated to ten researchers showcasing their science as part of the ‘Fresh Science’ initiative (Victoria), June 20th, 2018.
One of those ten researchers was CNBP student Marco Capelli from RMIT University who was a successful applicant to Fresh Science – a program that trains early career scientists on how to best communicate and present their activity to the media and to the wider general public at large.
Studying the brain using ulta-small diamonds was the scientific narrative practiced and delivered by Marco as part of his public presentation at the Cafe.
“Fresh Science was an amazing experience,” says Marco.
“Over the course of two days, I had the chance to interact with journalists from different media (including television, radio and newspaper) as well as representatives from industry and policymakers. From each of them, I learned how to tailor my scientific exposition to a variety of audiences, how to highlight my research and how to successfully pitch my ideas.”
“I particularly enjoyed testing myself in front of professionals from each field as well as receiving immediate feedback on my presentation skills. Fresh Science is an experience I strongly endorse to any ECR researcher (PhD students included) looking to improve their communication skills.”
Below: CNBP PhD student Marco Capelli talks nano materials at the Belgian Beer Cafe in Melbourne. Image courtesy of Science in Public (Fresh Science).
6 June 2018:
CNBP researcher Dr Annemarie Nadort has participated in ‘Fresh Science’, 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, giving them media training and a public event to present their science to the community. Ten researchers took part in the Fresh Science event for NSW.
Dr Nadort reports on her experience below.
“Fresh Science was an intense, colourful, and informative workshop ranging between fun and hard work. The first day consisted of a Q&A and mock interviews with journalists from television, radio and written news. The participants all had very interesting and new science to pitch and I definitely enhanced my network of Sydney researchers.”
“I also was impressed by the skills of the journalists. They said that society viewed them as the least trusted people, but their professionalism and ability to pick up the most important parts of our complicated science made me think the opposite!”
“The second morning consisted of a Q&A with commercialisation experts, the NSW Chief Scientist and collaboration experts, followed by a 1 minute pitch to stakeholders.”
“The workshop concluded with a final event at the Three Wise Monkeys Hotel: every Fresh Scientist presented their research for as long as their sparkler was still sparkling.”
“I was awarded the ‘highly commended’ distinction for my ‘bright sparks’ presentation which detailed the development of optical methods to improve the detection and therapy of high-grade brain cancer.”
Below – Dr Annemarie Nadort presents her science to an interested and engaged audience at the Three Wise Monkeys Hotel, Sydney.
17 May 2018:
Superstar of STEM and CNBP researcher Dr Sanam Mustafa has taken her outreach skills to Adelaide High School, speaking to approximately 300 Year 9 students (across two sessions) about her scientific activity, her career as a scientist and what it takes to succeed in a University environment.
“My talk was extremely well received by the students and teaching staff,” said Dr Mustafa. “They loved the personal stories and hearing about the light-focused science that we do at the CNBP.”
As part of her outreach activity at the school, Dr Mustafa also ran an interactive workshop for students, aimed at illustrating the importance of developing tests to quantify levels of pain for both human and animal populations.
“The students, in groups of about 10 were asked to discuss painful conditions that they had experienced and to try to find a common experience (maybe a paper cut or sprained ankle for instance). I then asked them to rate their pain from a scale of 1-10 to see how this varied within the group to demonstrate the subjectivity,” says Dr Mustafa.
“I then asked the groups to discuss if and why this subjectivity is a problem – such as inability of small children to describe pain, an inaccurate description of pain resulting in the administration of wrong medication and deliberate manipulation of pain scores for drug seeking behaviour.”
“Finally, I told the students how I hoped to develop a test to quantify pain to help overcome this subjectivity and showed them a slide demonstrating the ‘colour of pain’ from our ongoing hyperspectral work.”
“Feedback from the day was extremely positive,” concluded Dr Mustafa. “And it was fantastic to see so many engaged students actively thinking about science and how it has the potential to have such a beneficial and positive impact on society.”
Below – Adelaide High School visited by CNBP’s Dr Sanam Mustafa.
11 May 2018:
The launch of a ground-breaking and unconventional permanent exhibition at Scienceworks titled ‘Beyond Perception: Seeing the Unseen’ had more than a touch of CNBP involvement with RMIT based researchers A/Prof Brant Gibson and Dr Tony Orth involved in providing information, content and ideas to the exhibition over a 12-18 month planning and implementation period.
The exhibition, reflecting the latest and greatest stories from science and technology, provides interactive, large-scale experiences that reveals the invisible fields and forces that surround us, such as gravitational waves, invisible light, sound and aerodynamics. It also demonstrates current research which is continuing to uncover these amazing and tantalizing worlds.
“The areas where we contributed were around the use of the visible part of the electromagnetic spectrum for optical microscopy applications,” says A/Prof Brant Gibson.
“We looked at the the fact that the diffraction limit of a microscope has now been ‘broken’ with the development of superresolution microscopy such as STED or PALM.”
“It was an absolute pleasure to be involved in this type of activity that takes science out to the broader community,” says A/Prof Gibson.
“The exhibition provides an opportunity for people to immerse themselves and to deeply engage with the exhibition using sound, light and waves in ways which are radically different to other exhibitions I’ve seen.”
Information on the exhibition and how to visit can be found online.
Below – a quote from A/Prof Gibson forms part of an exhibition display.
10 May 2018:
CNBP’s Dr Annemarie Nadort has shone a light on biophotonics, microcirculation, medical device development and a career in science to an audience of 35 Yr 9-10 high school students, at an outreach session at Macquarie University, May 10th, 2018.
The students, attending the University as a part of a ‘career-ready’ day, were given a quick tutorial on blood and light and were then given a hands-on demonstration of a clinical microcirculation imager that was able to provide a real-time view of red blood cells circulating in capillaries under the tongue.
Students were then given a brief history of the imager’s development and then asked how they could potentially improve a mark-two version of the device from a biological, physics, engineering, IT and software perspective. This explained Dr Nadort was the sort of critical thinking required to kick-start a career in medical device design and development; and the skills that could be learnt from undertaking higher education study.
Feedback from the students was extremely positive. Half a dozen students tried the imager under their own tongues. Seeing the body’s cells operate in real-time on a large screen proved insightful and engaging to all in the room.
Below – Dr Annemarie Nadort explains to students how we can use light to see blood using innovative new tools and techniques.
18 April 2018:
Two fantastic sessions of outreach in two days by CNBP researcher 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.