In any small practice, there’s a risk that an error can be interpreted as a one-off event, as there is limited awareness that the same incident could be occurring in other practices.
You’re in hospital: should you stay? Should you leave? What’s your risk of dying?
By mining electronic health records, researchers at Macquarie University believe they can help improve decision making by health professionals.
Dr Blanca Gallego Luxan is investigating using hospital information and state health and death registries to fill gaps in patient care – whether due to discontinuity of care, lack of information on a condition, or simply the limits of what humans can predict.
Recent advances pinpointing genes involved in the inherited form of Motor Neurone Disease (MND) are now being used to hunt for the culprits of ‘sporadic’ cases.
Sporadic MND is the most common form (around 90 per cent), and unlike the ‘familial,’ disease, it appears in patients without a family history.
Harry Messel has been a powerful force in science education—from the Physics Foundation to textbooks and his establishment of International Science Schools. He was awarded the Academy Medal.
Simon McKeon is a prominent business leader and philanthropist who has made extensive contributions to Australian science and innovation including chairing the CSIRO Board and the agenda-setting McKeon report into medical research in Australia. He was awarded the Academy Medal.
The life and death of cells: Jerry Adams has advanced understanding of cancer development, particularly of genes activated by chromosome translocation in lymphomas. By clarifying how the Bcl-2 protein family controls the life and death of cells, he and his colleagues at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research have galvanised the development of a promising new class of anti-cancer drugs. Jerry was awarded the 2014 Macfarlane Burnet Medal. Continue reading Australian Academy of Science medals
Michelle Simmons’ work building silicon atomic-scale devices is paving the way towards a quantum computer with the capacity to process information exponentially faster than current computers.
She is also Director of the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Quantum Computation and Communication Technology, acknowledged to be a world-leader in the field of quantum computing—which uses the spin, or magnetic orientation, of individual electrons or atomic nuclei to represent data.
In the past five years, Michelle’s research group and collaborators have made a number of notable advances. They have fabricated the world’s first single-atom transistor in single-crystal silicon, and the world’s narrowest conducting wires, also in silicon, just four atoms wide and one atom tall with the current-carrying capacity of copper.
In May 2014, a team led by PhD candidate Emily Petroff from Swinburne University was the first to see ‘fast radio bursts’ (FRBs) live, using the Parkes radio telescope in central New South Wales. The search was triggered by signals found in recycled data. They also discovered that someone was opening the kitchen microwave.
Australia’s birds are bright and noisy compared with birds elsewhere, so perhaps it is no surprise they account for over 18 million of the more than 30 million observations in the Atlas of Living Australia; including records from before European settlement.
Now, funded by the Australian National Data Service (ANDS), a team led by spatial ecologist Dr Jeremy VanDerWal of the Centre for Tropical Biodiversity and Climate Change at James Cook University (JCU) is developing a website, known as “Edgar”, to clean up existing records and augment them with reliable observations from enthusiastic and knowledgeable bird watchers.
China has a large community of astronomers awaiting the construction of new telescopes to study pulsars.
When CSIRO pulsar researcher Dr George Hobbs described the high-quality data stored in the Parkes Observatory Pulsar Data Archive—which is openly available—it led to Australian pulsar data being the basis of collaboration between Chinese and Australian pulsar researchers. And they have already published several papers on what they have discovered. The archive is also serving as a major resource in an international search for gravitational waves.
More than 50 different environmental measures routinely collected by Australia’s national ocean research vessels—including sea surface temperature, dissolved oxygen concentration, and salinity—can now be accessed online almost as they are recorded.
The data is incorporated, often automatically, into predictive meteorological and ocean models, improving their accuracy. “So we end up with an improved representation not only of the weather but of processes like large scale ocean circulation or the state of the seas during tropical cyclones,” says Dr Roger Proctor, director of the e-Marine Information Infrastructure Facility of Australia’s Integrated Marine Observing System.
CSIRO is spearheading a $9 million-a-year project to help ease Australia’s current water management crisis.
A new national Water Resources Observation Network (WRON), set up by CSIRO through the Water for a Healthy Country Flagship, is aiming to improve water management, and make a 20 per cent cost saving in the process.