Tag Archives: SciCommunity

Annual CNBP conference jam-packed!

4 December 2017:

The CNBP research community (Chief investigators, Associate Investigators, researchers, students and members of the International Science Committee) came together for the Fourth Annual CNBP Conference, Tue 28th November to Fri 1st December 2017, in what was a jam-packed schedule of science.

Activities at the Conference included ‘quick speed’ data blitz presentations; key note speeches from CNBP researchers and international guests including from Professor Kishan Dholakia, Professor Kelly Nash and Professor Volker Deckert; science speed dating sessions; poster sessions and team building activities including the infamous grand spaghetti tower challenge which proved to be far more demanding than expected!

The largest Conference to date, the event allowed for an amazing amount of fantastic data to be shared, with collaborations continuing to be built and developed, and new ideas being generated and explored by enthusiastic and engaged team members from across all nodes and partner institutions.

Additional Conference highlights included a professional development session by Dr Peter Grace investigating “The how and why of networking for Scientists” and then a discussion on the importance of tools and social platforms such as LinkedIn, and then pointers on how best to approach senior researchers and potential collaborators at events and other Conferences.

Finally, there was a ‘reflective session’ which provided an opportunity to reflect on science discussions and to then actively plan for the next 12 months of CNBP related activity.

Below – Photos from what was an extremely rewarding Conference!

CNBP at ‘Science meets Business’

9 November 2017:

As silver sponsor at the annual STA ‘Science meets Business’ event held in Sydney, November 9th 2017, CNBP was extremely well represented, supporting a push to improve engagement and collaboration between the research sector and Australian industry.

In addition to having numerous Centre scientists in attendance – those with a strong interest and focus on commercialisation and translation of research, CNBP also had  senior personnel speak and present in a variety of capacities.

This included CNBP Director Prof Mark Hutchinson (pictured top left), who together with  Andrew Grant (Availer) discussed CNBP’s commercialisation success and the taking of ideas from ‘boom to the showroom.’  Deep dive (idea creation), value-add solutions, solving pain points and interesting new jobs were all touched upon in a quick fire exchange of views.

Additionally, Centre Investigator and Miniprobes founder Prof Robert McLaughlin participated in the ‘soapbox sesssion’ where three competitively-selected ‘soapbox leaders’ made compelling pitches, sparking robust discussion as they quizzed delegates for perspectives on new ideas to create useful collaboration.

“It was great to be at this years ‘Science meets Business’, bringing CNBP science and innovation to industry and learnings back again,” concluded Prof Hutchinson. “I look forward to hearing about other successful collaborations at next year’s STA event.”

Below – CNBP Investigator and founder of Miniprobes Prof Robert McLaughlin pitches his smart needle to a science/business audience.

 

 

CNBP researchers edit new book

30 October 2017:

A new book edited by A/Prof Anwar Sunna (CNBP Associate Investigator), Dr Andrew Care (CNBP Research Fellow) and Peter Bergquist (Macquarie University) as been published by Springer.

The book, “Peptides and Peptide-based Biomaterials and their Biomedical Applications”, highlights new developments in the applications of peptide and peptide-based biomaterials in biomedicine.

“This is a fast-moving and rapidly expanding research area, which promises to be one of the most significant fields of research in applied biomedicine”, says A/Prof Sunna.

“The work introduces readers to direct applications and translational research at the interface between materials science, protein chemistry and biomedicine.”

CI joins ARC College of Experts

27 October 2017:

Professor Andrew Greentree, CNBP Chief Investigator from RMIT University has been announced as a member of the prestigious ARC College of Experts.

Members of the College of Experts assess and rank ARC grant applications submitted under the National Competitive Grants Program, make funding recommendations to the ARC and provide strategic advice to the ARC on emerging disciplines and cross-disciplinary developments.

Membership of the College is limited to experts of international standing drawn from the Australian research community.

Further information on this key ARC committee and its contribution to national innovation is available online.

 

Prof Goldys elected as ATSE Fellow

11 October 2017:

Fluorescence expert Ewa Goldys, Deputy Director at the CNBP and Professor at Macquarie University, has been elected as a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (ATSE).

The Fellowship recognises Professor Goldys’ pioneering research in non-invasive medical diagnostics, and her work associated with fluorescence, advanced materials and biomedicine, supporting clinicians in making improved diagnosis and health decisions for patients.

“It’s a great pleasure to be recognised with this Fellowship”, says Professor Goldys.

“The ATSE is a respected Australian body which provides informed and visionary views to decision-makers across a wide range of technology focused areas. I look forward to providing my input and advice as a member of this prestigious organisation.”

As a world leader in the study of cellular fluorescence, Professor Goldys is also a former Eureka Prize winner for her innovative use of technology. This prize was awarded for her work in developing revolutionary imaging techniques, allowing for the extraction of biomolecular information hidden in fluorescent colour signatures of living cells and tissues.

“Modern day microscopes and powerful computer analysis enables colour to be used as a uniquely powerful diagnostic tool in medicine,” she says.

“Exploring the subtle colour differentiations of cells and tissue lets us distinguish between healthy and diseased cells in areas as diverse as embryology, neurodegeneration, cancer and diabetes.”

As an ATSE Fellow, Professor Goldys will provide expertise across biomedical, nanotechnology and biophotonics areas. She will also be able to tap into the knowledge and capability of her research and industry collaborators.

“Australia needs to harness technology and innovation as part of its successful transition to a knowledge based economy,” says Professor Goldys. “This is what the ATSE mandate is all about.”

Recognising Australia’s leading minds in technology, science and engineering, the prestigious ATSE Fellowships are awarded to people who apply technology in smart, strategic ways for social, environmental and economic benefit.

Fellows advise government, industry and the community on how technology can improve the quality of life of all Australians and are drawn from academia, government, industry and research sectors.

The ATSE Fellowship announcement is accessible online from the ATSE web site.

Antibiotic research featured by the NHMRC

4 October 2017:

With only two new antibiotic classes being discovered and developed in the last 50 years, Professor Andrew Abell, CNBP Chief Investigator and his team at the University of Adelaide have been featured on the NHMRC website as one of the ‘ten best’ research stories of the year.

Prof Abell and team are going back to the fundamentals of chemical science in an attempt to develop a new class of antibiotics.

Motivated by a desire to understand the molecular basis of key biological processes, Professor Abell is exploring small molecules that selectively bind to bacterial proteins, as a potential mechanism for limiting bacterial survival.

Read the full story of Prof Abell’s antibiotic focused research here!

New med-tech zinc sensor developed

27 September 2017:

A new zinc sensor has been developed and reported by CNBP researchers, which will allow for a deeper understanding of the dynamic roles that metal ions play in regulating health and disease in the living body.

The research, published in the journal ‘ACS Omega’ reports that the newly designed chemical sensor can detect and measure zinc levels in cells. It also has the functionality and portability to take continuous or repeated measurements within a single biological sample.

“This makes the sensor potentially suitable for use in future diagnostic tools that could open up entirely new windows into the body,” says lead author of the research Dr Sabrina Heng (pictured), Research Fellow at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Nanoscale BioPhotonics (CNBP), at the University of Adelaide.

Read the full CNBP media release here and the publication here.

Journal: ACS Omega.

Publication title: A Rationally Designed Probe for Reversible Sensing of Zinc and Application in Endothelial Cells.

Authors: Sabrina Heng, Philipp Reineck, Achini K. Vidanapathirana, Benjamin J. Pullen, Daniel W. Drumm, Lesley J. Ritter, Nisha Schwarz, Claudine S. Bonder, Peter J. Psaltis, Jeremy G. Thompson, Brant C. Gibson , Stephen J. Nicholls, and Andrew D. Abell.

Abstract: Biologically compatible fluorescent ion sensors, particularly those that are reversible, represent a key tool for answering a range of fundamental biological questions. We report a rationally designed probe with a 6′-fluoro spiropyran scaffold (5) for the reversible sensing of zinc (Zn2+) in cells. The 6′-fluoro substituent overcomes several limitations normally associated with spiropyran-based sensors to provide an improved signal-to-background ratio and faster photoswitching times in aqueous solution. In vitro studies were performed with 5 and the 6′-nitro analogues (6) in HEK 293 and endothelial cells. The new spiropyran (5) can detect exogenous Zn2+ inside both cell types and without affecting the proliferation of endothelial cells. Studies were also performed on dying HEK 293 cells, with results demonstrating the ability of the key compound to detect endogenous Zn2+ efflux from cells undergoing apoptosis. Biocompatibility and photoswitching of 5 were demonstrated within endothelial cells but not with 6, suggesting the future applicability of sensor 5 to study intracellular Zn2+ efflux in these systems.

New technique to aid bladder cancer diagnosis

25 September 2017:

A new and innovative automated computer technique has been developed by CNBP researchers that is able to significantly aid in the diagnosis of bladder cancer.

The technique—which allows suspect lesion images to be quickly and effectively analysed and then classified for cancer risk, has been reported in the medical journal ‘Urologic Oncology’.

“What we’ve done is develop a computer program to carry out an automated analysis of cystoscopy images,” says lead author of the research, Dr Martin Gosnell, Researcher at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Nanoscale BioPhotonics (CNBP) at Macquarie University and Director at Quantitative Pty Ltd.

Cystoscopy is one of the most reliable methods for diagnosing bladder cancer explains Dr Gosnell.

“Images are taken of the bladder and its insides for suspicious lesions during a routine clinical patient evaluation. Dependent on the findings, this initial scan can then be followed up by a referral to a more experienced urologist, and a biopsy of the suspicious tissue can be undertaken.”

The issue says Dr Gosnell is that the clinician examining the initial images makes a visual judgement based on their professional expertise as to the next steps of action that should be undertaken—such as the need to take a biopsy for subsequent pathological analysis.

“Potential errors and unnecessary further interventions may result from the subjective character of this initial visual assessment.”

“What we’ve done,” says Dr Gosnell, “is to create an automated image analysis technique which can identify tissue and lesions as either high-risk or minimal-risk.”

Read the full CNBP media release and the science paper here.

Journal: Urologic Oncology.

Publication title: Computer-assisted cystoscopy diagnosis of bladder cancer.

Authors: Martin E. Gosnell (pictured top), Dmitry M. Polikarpov, Ewa M. Goldys, Andrei V. Zvyagin and David A. Gillatt.

Abstract:

Objectives

One of the most reliable methods for diagnosing bladder cancer is cystoscopy. Depending on the findings, this may be followed by a referral to a more experienced urologist or a biopsy and histological analysis of suspicious lesion. In this work, we explore whether computer-assisted triage of cystoscopy findings can identify low-risk lesions and reduce the number of referrals or biopsies, associated complications, and costs, although reducing subjectivity of the procedure and indicating when the risk of a lesion being malignant is minimal.

Materials and methods

Cystoscopy images taken during routine clinical patient evaluation and supported by biopsy were interpreted by an expert clinician. They were further subjected to an automated image analysis developed to best capture cancer characteristics. The images were transformed and divided into segments, using a specialised color segmentation system. After the selection of a set of highly informative features, the segments were separated into 4 classes: healthy, veins, inflammation, and cancerous. The images were then classified as healthy and diseased, using a linear discriminant, the naïve Bayes, and the quadratic linear classifiers. Performance of the classifiers was measured by using receiver operation characteristic curves.

Results

The classification system developed here, with the quadratic classifier, yielded 50% false-positive rate and zero false-negative rate, which means, that no malignant lesions would be missed by this classifier.

Conclusions

Based on criteria used for assessment of cystoscopy images by medical specialists and features that human visual system is less sensitive to, we developed a computer program that carries out automated analysis of cystoscopy images. Our program could be used as a triage to identify patients who do not require referral or further testing.

Below: Dr Martin Gosnell and Prof Ewa Goldys.

Glycan identification and quantitation

21 September 2017:

Christopher Ashwood, CNBP PhD candidate, visited Ireland in September 2017, performing an oral presentation at the 16th Human Proteome Organisation World Congress with a presentation titled: “Open-glycomics: An open-access platform for software-assisted glycan identification and quantitation”.

He also visited the National Institute for Bioprocessing Research and Training (NIBRT) where he also presented his research.

Talk summary: Analysing glycomics data, the study of carbohydrates, is largely manual resulting in low throughput and can be subject to human error. Using a software package named Skyline, Chris has automated the most tedious parts of this data analysis and generated the data in a standard format for use by other glycomics researchers and bioinformaticians. Future research will standardise and automate this analysis further for application towards the currently booming biopharmaceutical industry.

Launch of CNBP and CU partnership

15 August 2017:

The University of Colorado Boulder (CU) and the Centre for Nanoscale BioPhotonics (CNBP) have officially announced their research partnership status at a launch event that took place at CU today.

The collaboration between the CNBP, an Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence, and the University of Colorado Boulder, will explore the use of novel CNBP biophotonics tools and techniques to examine in real-time, neuroinflammatory processes that govern behavior.

The novel immune sensing technologies developed at CNBP will allow circuit-specific measurement of immune molecule release during stress-related paradigms in rodents performed at the University of Colorado Boulder.

The overarching goal of the collaboration is to better inform intervention efforts
focused on stress- and ageing-related diseases.

Partner Investigators at CU are Professor Steven Maier and Professor Linda Watkins with CU’s Dr Michael Baratta (the successful recipient of the CNBP-American Australian Association Fellowship in 2016), also working closely with this partnership.

Below: CNBP Director Prof Mark Hutchinson (left) presents a partner plaque to Partner Investigators – Professor Steven Maier and Professor Linda Watkins.