With the help of a revolutionary robot, Professor David Adams and Associate Professor Mirella Dottori are studying neurons, testing drug candidates for chronic pain, and working towards precise, personalised neurological treatment.
David has been studying the neurology of chronic pain, while Mirella is a neural stem cell expert. Based at the University of Wollongong, their collaboration focusses on cells called dorsal root ganglia sensory neurons. These cells sense pressure, temperature, position, touch and pain, and the duo believe they could hold the key to many neurological disorders including chronic pain.
“Many diseases and disorders are caused by altered firing of signals along sensory nerves. Growing human sensory neurons [from stem cells] means we can study their development and function in both health and disease,” says Mirella. Continue reading Modelling brain circuitry→
Dating of ancient human teeth discovered in a Sumatran cave site suggests modern humans were in Southeast Asia 20,000 years earlier than previously thought.
The international research, led by Dr Kira Westaway from Macquarie University and published in Nature, has pushed back the timing of when humans first left Africa, their arrival in Southeast Asia, and the first time they lived in rainforests.
Why did Stegodon, the elephant-like animals that were once widespread throughout Asia, decline and eventually disappear?
Stegodon were a group of trunked mammals, related to (but not the ancestors of) modern elephants. As they dispersed to many of the Southeast Asian islands with scarcer food resources, they evolved to become ‘dwarfed’.
Commercialising the technology or the next generation of lithium batteries is the target for a team of Indonesian and Australian scientists, who are backed by battery manufacturer PT Nipress Tbk.
Lithium batteries allow for a large amount of energy to be packed into a small space. But they’re costly compared to single use ‘disposable’ batteries, and have special requirements for transportation and storage.
A new printing technology can now simultaneously print living stem cells and the environment they need to survive and become the right cell type. The first application is a cartilage repair kit.
“Our current 3D printers can integrate living and non-living materials in specific arrangements at a range of scales, from micrometres to millimetres,” says Professor Gordon Wallace, Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Science (ACES) at the University of Wollongong.
“And we’re developing new approaches that will enable 3D printing of nano-dimensional features.”
Patented University of Wollongong technology is being used to create foldable batteries and textiles that are super strong, light, can repel water, and act as sensors.
Australian company Imagine Intelligent Materials has a commercial licensing deal to use the graphene manufacturing technology, developed at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Science (ACES) at the University of Wollongong.
Surgeons may soon be able to regrow patients’ nerves, such as those in damaged spinal cords, using technology adapted from the type of inkjet printer most of us have connected to our computer at home.
Researchers at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Science (ACES), University of Wollongong (UOW) node in NSW, have spent the past three years developing the technology to print living human cells—nerve cells and muscle cells onto tiny biodegradable polymer scaffolds. They’ve also developed a special “ink” that carries the cells.
A breakthrough in the electroactive polymers used to make electrically controlled micro “artificial muscles” could be important for future drug delivery in the body, as well as a having a host of other applications.
The new research, conducted at the Australian National Fabrication Facility’s (ANFF) materials node at the University of Wollongong (UOW) in NSW has produced materials which, unlike earlier versions, do not need to be immersed in an electrolyte solution. They are self-sufficient and can even work in air. Continue reading Micro muscles bend to the task→
Solving the problem of how to store energy is essential for a future run on renewables.
That’s why promising materials for hydrogen fuel cells and high capacity, long-lived batteries are being explored at the atomic level by the Australian Synchrotron.
Australian Synchrotron scientist Dr Qinfen Gu is investigating a new class of hydrogen storage materials being developed by scientists at the University of Wollongong and their international collaborators.Qinfen is using the powerful X-rays of the synchrotron to observe and analyse the structure of these materials. Continue reading New light on storing energy→
A new brain implant could deliver anti-epilepsy drugs straight to where they’re needed and, in future, on demand. This will be particularly helpful for the 30 per cent of epilepsy patients who suffer severe side-effects, such as nausea, rashes, weight change and dizziness, from their medication, leaving them unable to be treated.
The implant is a biodegradable polymer that ARC Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Science associate Bionics program leader A/Prof Simon Moulton compares to the types of polymers used in dissolvable stitches. Continue reading On-demand epilepsy drug→
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