Vaccination validation

European Union backs Australian malaria vaccine ideas

A malaria vaccine being developed by James Cook University researcher Professor Denise Doolan could save half a million lives a year.

“Malaria is one of the oldest diseases and is probably the disease that has had the biggest effect on the human genome, by driving evolutionary changes,” says Professor Doolan. “The sickle cell trait, for example, is a genetic abnormality in the human genome that has arisen in Africa to deal with malaria.”

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Australia’s time machine gets down to business

The ASKAP radio telescope, about 800 kilometres north of Perth, is taking new images of space to help scientists better understand the origins of the Universe.

Professor Elaine Sadler is the principal investigator of an ASKAP project working with European researchers, dubbed FLASH, for First Large Absorption Survey in H1. She and her team are looking for hydrogen in the Universe.

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Copenhagen, Leiden and Melbourne tackle stem cells together

€300m funding from Novo Nordisk Foundation brings together experts to advance stem cell medicine.

The potential for new drugs and therapies using human stem cells to treat heart, respiratory and kidney disease, diabetes, cancer, and other conditions are the focus of a new Australian-European collaboration of three research institutes.

The Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Stem Cell Medicine will be known as ‘reNEW’ and brings together Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI) in Australia, the University of Copenhagen in Denmark, and Leiden University Medical Center in the Netherlands.

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An old vaccine for new diseases?

Updated May 2023

The tuberculosis vaccine BCG may help protect against other allergies and infections, although not COVID according to the latest publications from a global project responding to the pandemic.

Long term trials suggest the Bacille Calmette-Guérin vaccine targeting tuberculosis improves the performance of the innate immune system in babies. This innate response is our first line of defence, at least in babies.

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Tiny lens looks at hearts

The world’s smallest endoscope will soon be predicting the risk of heart attacks

Scientists in Adelaide and Stuttgart are improving heart attack warnings using a new endoscope with a camera lens less than 0.5 mm wide, too small to see with the naked eye.

““A major factor in heart disease is the plaques, made up of fats, cholesterol and other substances that build up in the vessel walls,” explains lead researcher Dr Jiawen Li from the University of Adelaide, who worked with a team from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Nanoscale BioPhotonics (CNBP).

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Birds in the city

How cockatoos adapt to an urban environment

A scientist in southern Germany is lifting the lid on Australian birds and how they are learning to open suburban wheelie bins.

Australian researcher Dr Lucy Aplin, at the Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior, has been awarded an EU grant to delve further into the cognition of sulphur-crested cockatoos – work she began in the suburbs of Sydney.

Cockatoos are extremely gregarious birds that forage in small groups, roost in large ones, and are rarely seen alone.

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Steel by design

Building a more sustainable Europe

Australian and Spanish teamwork is improving the ways steel buildings and bridges are designed, making them safer and greener.

Civil engineer Dr Itsaso Arrayago is the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions Fellow at Universitat Politécnica de Catalunya and the University of Sydney. She is collaborating with bridge engineering consultancy Pedlelta who designed the first vehicular stainless steel bridge.

Dr Arrayago studied for two years with University of Sydney’s Professor Kim Rasmussen, whose pioneering work is changing engineering. His techniques take advantage of sophisticated design modelling and analysis.

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Calcium from millet?

Fortifying crops provides struggling communities around the world with the nutrients they need

Australian plant physiologist and biochemist Professor James Stangoulis is working on the biofortification of crops to make staple foods in the developing world more nutritious.

“While the focus is on nutrition for human consumption, it also has the important benefit of helping to deliver higher yields on nutrient-poor soils,” says Professor Stangoulis from Flinders University.

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Stronger materials for bigger turbines

The Danish wind turbine company Vestas is teaming up with Australian scientists to develop stronger carbon fibre composite materials to be used in reinforcing turbine blades.

Updated for Europe Day, 7 June 2021

Vestas has funded two years of research at Deakin University’s Carbon Nexus facility in Geelong into strengthening carbon fibre.

The investment is part of a project to build two wind farms in Victoria that together will deliver more than 500 megawatts, enough to power 350,000 homes.

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