The brainpower of 18 institutions and more than $30 million are expanding the net to detect gravitational waves—disturbances in the fabric of spacetime—and cement Australia’s role in the emerging field.
A patented treatment could restore eyesight for millions of sufferers of corneal disease.
The University of Melbourne-led team of researchers have grown corneal cells on a layer of film that can be implanted in the eye to help the cornea heal itself. They have successfully restored vision in animal trials and are aiming to move to human trials in 2017.
Researchers have found that coral reefs may play a key role in cloud formation. Now they’re working to make climate modelling more accurate.
Australian and international scientists, led by QUT’s Professor Zoran Ristovski, spent a month in late 2016 collecting data on airborne particles emitted from the Great Barrier Reef, which they are now analysing.
A large, star-shaped molecule is being harnessed by a University of Melbourne team to kill superbugs.
Professor Greg Qiao and his colleagues from the Melbourne School of Engineering have created a polymer that kills antibiotic-resistant bacteria by ripping apart their cell walls. Continue reading Using stars to overpower superbugs
Across Japan teeth are being made stronger with chewing gum and other products using an ingredient discovered in Australian dairy milk.
Now an innovative Japanese company is taking the Australian discovery to dental surgeries around the world.
“Our discovery was based on milk, to develop a delivery system of calcium phosphate to make teeth stronger,” says Eric Reynolds, from The University of Melbourne.
Clinical trials of the chewing gum showed that it helps stop tooth decay and helps reverse early stages of tooth decay.
“The Recaldent chewing gum was very successful in Japan and the leading dental supply company in Japan, GC Corporation, then became interested in the technology.”
“We’ve developed materials for repair of tooth decay and damage but now we’re focusing on prevention and protection collaborating with Melbourne University,” says Satoshi Tosaki from GC Corporation.
“One of those products is a cream, in Australia it’s called Tooth Mousse, that’s sold to dentists to strengthen patients’ teeth and that’s now sold in more than 50 countries worldwide,” he says.
“I’ve really enjoyed working with GC because I’ve learnt a lot from them in terms of business. But I think the most gratifying thing is that their products actually help people, and substantially reduce the burden of oral disease,” Eric says.
Malaria kills 500,000 people every year. And 90 per cent of those are children. Griffith University researchers are screening hundreds of thousands of compounds supplied by Japanese companies to find the right compound with activity against the malaria parasite.
Japan’s Global Health Innovative Technology Fund is supporting the research as part of their search for new ways to fight malaria.
“GHIT is a fund that invests in partnerships between Japanese and non-Japanese entities,” says BT Slingsby, the Executive Director of GHIT.
“Many of those entities are in Australia including The University of Melbourne, The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, and Griffith University.”
“Currently we’re working with companies such as Daiichi-Sankyo, Takeda, Mitsubishi Tanabe, and Eisai,” says Griffith University’s Vicky Avery.
They bring those compounds to us. We then dispense them into plates which contain the parasite we’re trying to kill. After they’ve been incubated for a period of time we then look to see whether they’ve had an effect in killing the parasites.
“Once one defines a hit, usually it’s the pharmaceutical company that drives forward the further development of that compound to create a drug.
“This collaboration is fantastic in that it has three groups who complement each other,” Vicky says.
The Japanese pharma companies bring expertise in drug discovery and development. GHIT has managed to pull together significant funding from both global partners as well as the Japanese Government. And Griffith University brings the biology expertise.
A robotic arm is the key to a radical new stroke treatment, helping patients regain upper body movement.
Melbourne researchers have developed a device that helps stroke patients learn to use their bodies again by tracking their movements while performing exercises. The arm movements can be displayed on a computer screen, and the activities turned into a game.
“The patients enjoy using the robot because it’s like playing computer games,” says Associate Professors Denny Oetomo, who is working with Ying Tan, and a team at The University of Melbourne and Royal Melbourne Hospital.
“It also improves the ratio of patients to clinician time as the clinicians can handle multiple patients at one time.” Continue reading Robotic arm to help stroke patients regain movement
A PhD student at The University of Melbourne has discovered a technique that can improve the resolution of bionic eyes for people who suffer from retinal conditions such age-related macular degeneration and retinitis pigmentosa.
“Implants are really limited in how much resolution they can provide. I’m trying to improve that,” says Kerry Halupka, who works with the Bionics Institute. Continue reading Sharpening vision in bionic eyes
Port cities can be lively, vibrant hives of activity—the hub of a nation’s economic health—if they’re planned well.
Indonesia’s busiest port, Tanjung Priok, has roughly two and a half times the container traffic as the Port of Melbourne. But it also has a reputation as one of the least efficient ports in Asia. Indonesian President Joko Widodo has recognised the need to transform the nation’s ports and plans to develop 24 new ports by 2019. One recently established, state-of-theart port is Teluk Lamong in Surabaya.
Every shipping manager wages an endless battle against fouling—the bacteria, seaweed, barnacles and other marine life that take residence on the hull of ships.
This biofouling is thought to add more than 20 per cent to the fuel costs of commercial shipping—that’s a big cost for the maritime trading nations of Australia and Indonesia.