Category Archives: UA

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!

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”.

Science meets art

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.

ARC CEO visits CNBP laboratories

10 December 2017:

Professor Sue Thomas, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Australian Research Council (ARC) has visited CNBP laboratories at the University of Adelaide and gained  first-hand experience of the exciting biophotonics science taking place there.

Shown around a number of laboratory spaces by CNBP Director Prof Mark Hutchinson, Prof Thomas spent time examining the glass fabrication facilities used by the Centre as well as exploring more fully, the exciting ‘smart needle brain probe’ work headed-up by Prof Robert McLaughlin.

Other CNBP related activity included discussion with Centre researchers of industry relevant translational work currently being undertaken in the food and wine quality assessment area.

Prof Mark Hutchinson said of the visit , “It was fantastic to share with Prof Thomas how the breadth of our ARC funded CNBP fundamental science program is translating to industry projects and how this is leading to new leveraged funding and employment opportunities for our talented CNBP scientists.”

Below – ARC CEO Prof Sue Thomas is given a hands-on demonstration of a ‘smart needle’ probe for the brain by CNBP’s Prof Robert McLaughlin.

A spiropyran with enhanced fluorescence

10 November 2017:

A new rationally designed, photostable, red-emitting calcium sensor with enhanced fluorescence intensity has been presented by CNBP researchers in a paper published in the journal ‘Tetrahedron’. Lead author on the paper is CNBP’s Georgina Sylvia (pictured – University of Adelaide).

Journal: Tetrahedron.

Publication titleA spiropyran with enhanced fluorescence: A bright, photostable and red-emitting calcium sensor.

Authors: Georgina M. Sylvia, Sabrina Heng, Akash Bachhuka, Heike Ebendorff-Heidepriem,
Andrew D. Abell.

Abstract:
A rationally designed, pyrene-spiropyran hybrid Ca2+ sensor (Py-1) with enhanced fluorescence intensity compared to a standalone spiropyran analogue is presented. Importantly, Py-1 retains the characteristic red emission profile of the spiropyran, while fibre-based photostability studies show the sensor is stable after multiple cycles of photoswitching, without any sign of photodegradation. Such properties are of real advantage for cell-based sensing applications. An interesting observation is that, Py-1 presents with two excitation options; direct green excitation (532 nm) of the photoswitch for a red emission, and UV excitation (344 nm) of the component pyrene, which gives rise to distinct blue and red emissions. This proof-of-concept hybrid sensing system presents as a more general approach to brighter spiropyran-based sensors.

Outreach at Fresh Science

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.

 

Concordia College students visit CNBP

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.

 

Student poster award

14 October 2017:

Aimee Horsfall, CNBP PhD student at the University of Adelaide has been awarded a student Poster Award (of four), with cash prize, for her poster titled “Introduction of a new fluorescent constraint on-resin” at the 6th Modern Solid-Phase Peptide Synthesis Symposium, held at Fraser Island from the 12-14th of October. The symposium is a satellite conference of the 12th Australian Peptide Conference which was held in Noosa from the 15-20th October which Aimee also attended.

Lung tissue aspiration

11 October 2017:

A new publication from CNBP researchers explores the integration of an optical coherence tomography (OCT) probe into a flexible needle for lung tissue aspiration. The paper (lead author Jiawen Li pictured), was published in the Journal of Biomedical Optics and is accessible online.

Journal: Journal of Biomedical Optics.

Publication title: Flexible needle with integrated optical coherence tomography probe for imaging during transbronchial tissue aspiration.

Authors: Jiawen Li; Bryden C. Quirk; Peter B. Noble; Rodney W. Kirk; David D. Sampson; Robert A. McLaughlin.

Abstract: Transbronchial needle aspiration (TBNA) of small lesions or lymph nodes in the lung may result in nondiagnostic tissue samples. We demonstrate the integration of an optical coherence tomography (OCT) probe into a 19-gauge flexible needle for lung tissue aspiration. This probe allows simultaneous visualization and aspiration of the tissue. By eliminating the need for insertion and withdrawal of a separate imaging probe, this integrated design minimizes the risk of dislodging the needle from the lesion prior to aspiration and may facilitate more accurate placement of the needle. Results from in situ imaging in a sheep lung show clear distinction between solid tissue and two typical constituents of nondiagnostic samples (adipose and lung parenchyma). Clinical translation of this OCT-guided aspiration needle holds promise for improving the diagnostic yield of TBNA.