Curing blindness by repairing corneas with invisible films

A patented treatment could restore eyesight for millions of sufferers of corneal disease.

The University of Melbourne-led team of researchers have grown corneal cells on a layer of film that can be implanted in the eye to help the cornea heal itself. They have successfully restored vision in animal trials and are aiming to move to human trials in 2017.

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Perth community can help save Carnaby’s cockatoo

Endangered Carnaby’s cockatoos are adapting to urban life in Perth suburbs. And new research has shown how the community can help save them by creating cockatoo-friendly suburbs.

A world-first study used satellite technology to track the wild cockatoos, which are found only in Australia’s south-west and are often spotted in the suburbs of Perth.

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Immune boost for cancer patients with HIV

Cancer is the leading cause of death among people with HIV and yet cancer treatment can be risky as their immune system is already compromised.

Now, a new class of drugs developed at the Kirby Institute at the University of New South Wales is providing hope—demonstrating it is effective in treating the cancer and strengthening the immune response to that cancer.

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Fresh Science

Fresh Science helps Australian early-career researchers find their story and their voice.

Over the past 20 years Fresh Science has trained and empowered more than 500 future leaders in science to engage with the community, media, government and industry.

In 2016, we chose 60 researchers around the country, trained them, and gave them the chance to present their science in pubs, school talks and to the media. Here are a few of their stories.

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Australian Science Prizes 2016

Clunies Ross Awards

Dr Elaine Saunders has made premium hearing aids more affordable and easier to use. She and her team have built on Australia’s bionic ear technologies to create a system where you can: test your hearing online; buy your hearing aid online and receive it set up ready for you; and adjust the hearing aid with your smartphone while you’re at the pub, dancing, or watching TV.

Credit: Blamey Saunders

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Using algorithms to predict flu outbreaks

A computer algorithm originally developed to model the West African Ebola pandemic in 2014 is being used to predict flu outbreaks in Australia months in advance, and could help in the fight against bioterrorism.

Developed by Australian Defence scientists, the tool was originally used to forecast the number of people infected with Ebola up to two months in advance.

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Fighting dust-mite allergies with fish oil

Kids born to mums who’d taken high doses of fish oil in pregnancy were less likely to have some types of allergies, Adelaide researchers have found.

The trial, run by the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI), was the largest in the world to look at the effects of Omega-3—commonly found in fish oil—on allergies in children.

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Does coral help create rain?

Researchers have found that coral reefs may play a key role in cloud formation. Now they’re working to make climate modelling more accurate.

Australian and international scientists, led by QUT’s Professor Zoran Ristovski, spent a month in late 2016 collecting data on airborne particles emitted from the Great Barrier Reef, which they are now analysing.

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Technology to save the reefs—Queensland University of Technology

Mapping reefs with drones; robots destroying crown-of-thorns starfish; coral as a rain-maker; and more—researchers at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) are investigating new technologies to protect Australia’s reefs.

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