Fresh Science is a national competition helping early-career researchers find, and then share, their stories of discovery.

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Minimising severe injury from blast events on military vehicles

Dale Robinson, The University of Melbourne

Research conducted by former Fresh Science participant Dale Robinson has been covered in the 2020-2021 edition of Defence Science and Technology’s Outlook magazine.

Dr Robinson is a biomedical engineer at the University of Melbourne.

Minimising severe injury from blast events on military vehicles

Blast events inflicted on military vehicles are a consistent threat in contemporary conflicts. Developing equipment that better protects soldiers from this threat has become the focus of significant military research. It is critical to understand how severe injuries are inflicted and how forces from blast events are transmitted to the human body in order to strengthen blast protection for soldiers.

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For knee injuries, surgery may not be the best option

Research finds rehab-only treatment yields better long-term results

Adam Culvenor, La Trobe University

Knee reconstructions may lead to more problems later in life than non-surgical rehabilitation, researchers have found.

A team led by Dr Adam Culvenor from La Trobe University looked at health outcomes for athletes with damaged anterior cruciate ligaments (ACL) – a devastating injury, particularly common among footballers.

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Detecting asthma in horses

Using a face mask, Adelaide researchers have a new way to detect a major hidden equine health issue.

Surita du Preez, The University of Adelaide

Up to 80 percent of horses – including racehorses and showjumpers – suffer from a form of asthma that affects their performance and wellbeing.

Researchers led by veterinarian Surita Du Preez from the University of Adelaide are designing a way to detect the condition – which often produces no obvious symptoms – without adding further stress to the affected animals.

“Currently the methods that are available to diagnose the mild to moderate form of horse asthma are invasive,” says Surita.

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Bendable, safe, long-lasting and green cement-free concrete

A new type of concrete that is made out of waste materials and can bend under load has been developed by researchers from Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, Australia.

Behzad Nematollahi, Swinburne University

This material, which incorporates industrial waste products such as fly ash produced by coal-fired power stations, is especially suited for construction in earthquake zones – in which the brittle nature of conventional concrete often leads to disastrous building collapses.

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Ghostly traces of massive ancient river revealed

Photo by Pixabay

Using zircon crystals, researchers have discovered the route of a massive ancient river that could help find new reservoirs of fossil fuels and suggest how modern rivers might change over time.

Sara Morón, The University of Sydney

More than two thirds of the worlds’ major cities are located in coastal deltas. How they change over time can impact communities that live around them.

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Brain temperature can now be measured using light

Photo by Pixabay

Nanotech technique could revolutionise neurological treatments.

Blanca del Rosal Rabes, Swinburn University of Technology

Light could replace invasive techniques to measure brain temperature– eliminating the need to place a thermometer in the brain when treating a range of neurological disorders.

Researchers from Victoria’ Swinburne University have teamed up with Universidad Autónoma de Madrid in Spain and Stanford University in the US to develop a technique for measuring sub-degree brain temperature changes using near-infrared light. 

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Tea trees crave water during hot and dry summer days

Photo by Pixabay

The iconic Australian tea tree (Melaleuca decora) is more vulnerable than native eucalypt species to extreme temperature and moisture stress, Western Sydney University researcher Anne Griebel has discovered. 

Anne Griebel, Western Sydney University

To make the finding, Anne and colleagues fitted instruments that measure the exchange of carbon, water and heat at 10 times a second to an extendable mast on a trailer deployed in a critically endangered woodland in Western Sydney.

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New clues for allergy prevention by breast milk

Photo by Laura Garcia .

Written by Akila Rekima and the University of Western Australia – UWA press release.

Akila Rekima from The University of Western Australia. Photos credit: Ross Swanborough.

A research team at UWA is investigating the complex interactions of breast milk with allergens and baby’s gut immune system.

They’ve found that food-derived but also airborne allergens are present in breast milk. Some do give protection and reduce allergies later in life.

Their preclinical data and human birth cohorts analysis strongly suggest that egg-derived allergen protect against egg allergy. But they’ve also found that other allergens in breast milk such as house dust mite derived allergens may interfere with protection from allergies.

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Goannas return to mine site

Photo by Pixabay

Sophie Cross, Curtin University

Animals play critical roles in ecosystems, but they are broadly overlooked in assessments of mine site restoration success says Sophie Cross, an ecologist at Curtin University.

She tracked Australia’s largest lizard species, the perentie, using VHF radio and GPS tracking, and walked hundreds of kilometres through unmined and restoration bushland on a mine site in the mid-west region of Western Australia for her study published in the Australian Journal of Zoology.

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