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.
Neutrons and native frogs are an unlikely but dynamic duo in the battle against antibiotic-resistant bacteria, commonly known as superbugs, recent research has shown.
The skin secretions of the Australian green-eyed and growling grass frogs contain peptides (small proteins) that help frogs fight infection. Researchers hope these peptides will offer a new line of defence against a range of human bacterial pathogens, including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).
Continue reading Frog peptides versus superbugs
Each year we identify early-career scientists with a discovery and bring them to Melbourne for a communication boot camp. Here are some of their stories.
More at www.freshscience.org.au
Imagine printing your own room lighting, lasers, or solar cells from inks you buy at the local newsagent. Jacek Jasieniak and colleagues at CSIRO, the University of Melbourne and the University of Padua in Italy, have developed liquid inks based on quantum dots that can be used to print such devices and in the first demonstration of their technology have produced tiny lasers. Quantum dots are made of semiconductor material grown as nanometre-sized crystals, around a millionth of a millimetre in diameter. The laser colour they produce can be selectively tuned by varying their size.
High tech cling wraps that ‘sieve out’ carbon dioxide from waste gases can help save the world, says Melbourne University chemical engineer, Colin Scholes who developed the technology. The membranes can be fitted to existing chimneys where they capture CO2 for removal and storage. Not only are the new membranes efficient, they are also relatively cheap to produce. They are already being tested on brown coal power stations in Victoria’s La Trobe Valley, Colin says. “We are hoping these membranes will cut emissions from power stations by up to 90 per cent.”
Queensland researchers believe future cancer drugs could be grown in sunflowers and ultimately delivered as a seed ‘pill’.
They’re a long way from that outcome. But, as they reported to the XVIII International Botanical Congress in Melbourne earlier this year, they have already shown that sunflowers make a precursor to cancer drugs as part of their defence against insect attack.
The precursor, a small ring-like protein fragment known as SFTI, has already shown potential as a cancer treatment. Until now, however, it has been considered too expensive to produce by conventional means.
Continue reading Could we grow drugs using sunflowers?
Nanotechnology is the revolution that promises wrinkle-resistant clothing, invisible sunscreens and drug delivery direct to the cellular level.
Materials behave differently at the nano-level. They may have physical and chemical properties that can render them beneficial or harmful.
The University of Melbourne’s Departments of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and Pharmacology have over recent years identified cone shell venom as a potential treatment for chronic pain in humans.
Researchers continue to develop the research into a commercialised product. One of the venom peptides identified is currently in phase two of clinical trials.
Microscopic magnets ferrying drugs through the bloodstream directly to diseased tissue are a new ‘green chemistry’ product which will improve health and the environment.
A team led by Prof. Colin Raston, of the University of Western Australia fabricated the nano ‘bullets’ which can be directed by an external magnetic field to specific parts of the body. The new technology will enable doctors to send the drugs directly to the disease site, leaving healthy tissue intact and minimising toxic side-effects.
Diseases such as leptospirosis, fowl cholera, bovine respiratory diseases or footrot in sheep have devastating impacts on livestock industries worldwide. They have a debilitating effect on animals, leading to food shortage and major economic losses.
Hundreds of the world’s leading synchrotron scientists descended on Melbourne in September
when the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre hosted the 10th International Conference on Synchrotron Radiation and Instrumentation 2009 (SRI2009).
Why do we get fat? What’s the link between obesity, diabetes and hypertension? Can we break the link? These are critical questions around the world. Prof. Michael Cowley may have the answers.
He’s shown how our brains manage our consumption and storage of fat and sugar and how that can go wrong. He’s created a biotech company that’s trialling four obesity treatments.