Category Archives: RMIT

Super-resolution volumetric imaging

11 December 2018:

The Australian Research Council (ARC) has announced funding for a super-resolution imaging facility that will be the first of its kind in Australia.

The facility brings together a consortium of multidisciplinary researchers from leading Australian Universities, Institutes and Research Centres (including CNBP) to develop new capacities for materials science, photonics devices, engineering, and neuroscience, microbial and cardiovascular research.

At its core the A$3.0m ARC LIEF project will enable scientists to study the inner workings of cells in their native environment. This represents a step change from currently imaging isolated 2D cells cultured in a petri dish to future research that will reveal subcellular structures and cell-to-cell communications in 3D tissue in real time.

The National Volumetric Imaging Platform, as it is known, will be installed, maintained and operated by the Institute for Biomedical Materials and Devices (IBMD) at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) and the ARC Centre of Excellence for Nanoscale BioPhotonics (CNBP) at RMIT University in Melbourne. This project is scheduled to be completed in late 2019.

UTS Professor Dayong Jin, Lead Chief Investigator of the project, said that the facility will give scientists a “new way to decode the complexities of life science machinery.”

“High-resolution imaging of the large volume of single cells and functional navigation of their interactions will allow researchers to drop into a ‘street view’ and observe the details of intercellular ‘live traffic’,” he said.

Prof Brant Gibson, Co-Deputy Director and RMIT node director of CNBP said, “I am very excited to lead the RMIT University node of the National Volumetric Imaging Facility and to work in collaboration with Jin Dayong, the UTS node and all of our collaborative institutional partners. This facility will enable us to image deeper within biological samples than we ever been able to before, with nanoscale resolution and extraordinary bandwidth stretching from the near-UV (400nm) well into the infrared (1650nm) spectrum.”

Prof Mark Hutchison, Professor at the Adelaide Medical School and Director of the CNBP at the University of Adelaide said, “This is an exciting development of advanced imaging infrastructure capacity that will allow a convergence of scientists from across the country to gain an unprecedented level of molecular insights into the complex systems and arrangement of cells in biologically relevant complex 3 dimensional environments.”

Participating Organisations include: Universities: University of Technology Sydney, RMIT University, University of Wollongong, University of Sydney, The University of Queensland, The University of New South Wales, Macquarie University, The University of Adelaide.

Institutes and Centres: Institute for Biomedical and Materials Devices, ARC Research Hub for Integrated Device for End-user Analysis at Low-levels, Institute for Molecular Horizons, the Heart Research Institute, ithree Institute, Centre for Translational Neuroscience, Australian Centre for Ecogenomics, ARC Centre of Excellence for Nanoscale BioPhotonics.


QST partner launch

15 October 2018:

The ‘National Institutes for Quantum and Radiological Science and Technology (QST)’ has been announced as a partner organisation of the CNBP at an official launch event held in Japan, October 15th, 2018.

The QST, a merger of the National Institute of Radiological Sciences (NIRS) with operations that were previously undertaken by the Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA), undertakes research and development into quantum science and technology, the effect of radiation on humans, radiation emergency medicine, and the medical use of radiation.

“The QST / CNBP partner launch was a huge success,” said CNBP Deputy Director A/Prof Brant Gibson, RMIT University.

“Our partner launch activities occurred over two site locations  of the QST – Takasaki and Chiba, Japan.”

“At the Takasaki ‘materials’ site I presented the CNBP partner plaque to Hisayoshi Itoh (pictured top left), Director General of the Takasaki site (Takasaki Advanced Radiation Research Institute).”

“Our delegation then moved to the Chiba ‘medical’ site of QST (National Institute of Radiological Sciences). There they have a medical high energy carbon irradiation facility – of which there are only two existent globally – the other is in Heidelberg in Germany. We had the opportunity to meet with Yoshiya Shimada, Executive Director of the entire QST at the Chiba site where I presented the CNBP plaque a second time,” he said.

The CNBP / QST partnership launch coincided with the launch of a 3 year International Research Initiative (entitled Quantum biosensors in wide bandgap semiconductors) between QST and researchers from RMIT, CNBP, The University of Melbourne, CQC2T and the Fraunhofer IAF.

“This initiative will focus on fostering strategic collaboration between Japan, Australia and Germany through short to long term visits from researchers focused in the area of quantum biology,” said A/Prof Gibson.

Below – A/Prof Brant Gibson with Yoshiya Shimada, Executive Director of the QST.

Below – QST and CNBP delegates pose for a partner launch photo at the QST Chiba site.

Strong microwave photon-magnon coupling in multiresonant dielectric antennas

9 October 2018:

A new perspectives paper by CNBP researcher Dr Ivan Maksymov, RMIT University discusses dielectric resonant systems and demonstrates their ability to operate as multiresonant antennas for light, microwaves, magnons, sound, vibrations and heat.

Journal: Journal of Applied Physics.

Publication title: Perspective: Strong microwave photon-magnon coupling in multiresonant dielectric antennas.

Author: Ivan S. Maksymov.

Abstract: Achieving quantum-level control over electromagnetic waves, magnetisation dynamics, vibrations, and heat is invaluable for many practical applications and possible by exploiting the strong radiation-matter coupling. Most of the modern strong microwave photon-magnon coupling developments rely on the integration of metal-based microwave resonators with a magnetic material. However, it has recently been realised that all-dielectric resonators made of or containing magneto-insulating materials can operate as a standalone strongly coupled system characterised by low dissipation losses and strong local microwave field enhancement. Here, after a brief overview of recent developments in the field, I discuss examples of such dielectric resonant systems and demonstrate their ability to operate as multiresonant antennas for light, microwaves, magnons, sound, vibrations, and heat. This multiphysics behavior opens up novel opportunities for the realisation of multiresonant coupling such as, for example, photon-magnon-phonon coupling. I also propose several novel systems in which strong photon-magnon coupling in dielectric antennas and similar structures is expected to extend the capability of existing devices or may provide an entirely new functionality. Examples of such systems include novel magnetofluidic devices, high-power microwave power generators, and hybrid devices exploiting the unique properties of electrical solitons.

Lighting up AstroLight 2018

8 September, 2018:

It was a fantastic evening of outreach by the CNBP-RMIT team at the annual AstroLight Festival, at Scienceworks in Melbourne, 8th September, 2018.

A wide range of demonstrations, talks and hands-on activities from volunteers from Observatories, Universities and Research Centres brought science to life to over 600 members of the public at this annual astronomy and optics event.

CNBP highlights included public talks from Center Chief Investigator Prof Andrew Greentree (The wonders and delights of bees and how they see colour) and Centre Associate Investigator Dr Kate Fox (Fluorescent Implants: 3D printing for the future).

Also  popular was the CNBP interactive stall where there was a number of light based giveaways as well as a room of CNBP light experiments showcasing the properties of lasers, fluorescence, imaging and more.

“Taking science to the public is always extremely satisfying,” said CNBP Node Leader at RMIT University, A/Prof Brant Gibson.

“It’s great to be able to excite and enthuse people about what we do and to explain the relevance that science has in our community more generally.”

“The team came together with a huge amount of energy and positivity which helped make the evening a great success!”

Below – Big smiles from the CNBP-RMIT team at AstroLight 2018!

New CNBP researcher at RMIT

16 August 2018:

CNBP welcomes its newest recruit at RMIT University, Dr Amanda Abraham.

She will work with A/Prof Brant Gibson, CNBP Deputy Director and his team, where she will utilise her expertise to explore the biological applications of fluorescent nanomaterials including nanodiamonds, as well as collaborate across the wider CNBP community.

Amanda completed her PhD at RMIT University where she studied the long-term effects of phytochemical coated silver nanoparticles on mammalian cells. She was awarded the Prof CNR Rao Postgraduate Research Excellence Award for her PhD research. This award is given to an RMIT Graduate Sstudent for outstanding contributions in the application of Nanotechnology.

She has also worked as a post-doctoral researcher with Prof. Vipul Bansal, Director of the Sir Ian Potter NanoBioSensing Facility at RMIT University, where she investigated the wound healing capabilities of silver nanoparticle coated fabrics for use as wound dressings.

Her expertise includes mammalian cell culture, confocal microscopy, flow cytometry, protein quantification, assessing gene expression and nanoparticle characterisation.

Welcome to the CNBP team Amanda!

Future Fellowship success for CNBP researchers

13 August 2018:

In exciting grant funding news, ARC Future Fellowships were recently awarded to the following CNBP researchers:

Prof Mark Hutchinson (CNBP Director, pictured) – University of Adelaide. Measuring pain in livestock: mechanisms, objective biomarkers and treatments.

Dr Ivan Maksymov (CNBP Researcher Fellow) – RMIT University. Nonlinear optical effects with low-power non-laser light.

Dr Steven Wiederman (CNBP Associate Investigator) – University of Adelaide. From insects to robots: how brains make predictions and ignore distractions.

The Future Fellowships scheme supports research in areas of critical national importance by giving outstanding researchers incentives to conduct their research in Australia. Each Future Fellow recipient will receive salary and on-cost support for four years, and up to $50,000 in additional funding per year for other essential costs directly related to their project.

Congratulations to all Fellowship recipients who will now be able to further develop and advance their innovative areas of research! Further information on Fellowship projects are available from the ARC web site.

CNBP shines at RMIT Open Day

12 August 2018:

250 members of the public including families and potential students visited CNBP laboratories at RMIT University, Sunday 12th August, 2018, as a part of the institution’s Open Day activity.

Learning about the science of light, as well as sensing and imaging at the nanoscale, attendees were able to tour the biophotonics and cryogenic confocal laboratories, as well as experience first hand, demonstrations which included fluorescence microscopy.

“At times, the labs were packed with interested and engaged prospective students and their friends and families, said CNBP Deputy Director and RMIT node leader A/Prof Brant Gibson.

“It was amazing to hear the passion for science by some of the prospective students – some really knew what they wanted to study and some didn’t.”

“There was also excellent feedback from public regarding the the passion from my team when discussing CNBP research and why it is having such an impact for society, he says.”

Below – Emma Wilson demonstrating fluorescence microscopy! Bottom photo – Dr Philipp Reineck demonstrating fluorescence with UV light in the lab.

Research translation is focus of CNBP workshop

11 July 2018:

The take-home message from CNBP’s two day ‘Research Translation’ workshop, held in Adelaide, the 5th and 6th of July, was that high quality science can change people’s lives and that the research that CNBP undertakes is truly transformative with huge translation potential.

Over 75 CNBP researchers, students, partners and invited guests attended the workshop which was based at the University of Adelaide on Day One and which then moved to the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institution (SAHMRI) on Day Two.

During the workshop CNBP researchers worked in small groups with senior clinicians to learn about clinical problems and discuss how their research could be translated. They also heard from several leading clinicians about what it’s like to be part of a clinical translation project.

Additional talks described clinical translation from ‘the other side’ – with technical researchers explaining the steps involved in translating a new technology, and drawing on their real-world experiences and outlining key learnings that had been made. Dr Anne Collins then brought insight from a commercial perspective, providing a detailed case study of one of Trajan Scientific and Medical’s most recent market products.

A number of CNBP researchers, from all nodes across the Centre, then presented brief updates on clinically-related projects that are currently underway. This culminated in a master-class led and coordinated by CNBP CI Nicki Packer on seeing nanoparticles at super resolution in cells.

CNBP Director Prof Mark Hutchinson wrapped-up workshop proceedings noting that he had been highly impressed with the science and information presented and encouraged the CNBP team to keep ‘commercialisation impact’ top of mind as this was one of the Centre’s core values.

Prof Rob McLaughlin, Founder of Miniprobes and Senior CNBP Investigator, who helped host the event noted, “We’d like express our gratitude to all of the clinicians who made the workshop such a success: Jillian Clark, Rob Fitridge, Adam Wells, Phan Nguyen, Nam Nguyen, Tarik Sammour, Hidde Kroon, Sam Parvar and Nagendra Dudi-Venkata. Our thanks also to Anne Collins from Trajan Scientific and Medical, and Andrew Abell.”

Informal feedback from attendees at the event was that they had experienced a highly informative and rewarding two days of translational workshop activity.

Note – a brief visual video of the event has been produced by Dr Johan Verjans here.

Below – Dr Johan Verjans CNBP AI at SAHMRI discusses the need to work closely with clinicians to successfully translate research into the clinical environment.

Fresh Science with a nano-diamond twist

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).