Tag Archives: University of Western Australia

Poo kit in post best approach for now

Dayna Cenin – University of Western Australia. Photo credit: Ross Swanborough

Australia’s National Bowel Cancer Screening Program is still the best way to reduce incidence and mortality for bowel cancer, according to research published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention, by University of Western Australia researcher Dayna Cenin.

She predicts that personal genomics will enable more targeted screening over the coming decades, but not yet.

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It’s complicated: coral bleaching is caused by more than just heat

Analysis of reef damage in the Indo-Pacific during the 2016 El Nino reveals that several different stressors influence bleaching.

Coral responses to temperature depend on a range of local inputs. Image credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Scientists in the Indian and Pacific Oceans used the El Nino of 2016 – the warmest year on record – to evaluate the role of excess heat as the leading driver of coral bleaching and discovered the picture was more nuanced than existing models showed.

The findings were, in a word, complicated, according to marine researchers led by the US based Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS). The international cohort included scientists from Macquarie University in NSW, the University of Queensland, University of WA and two western Australian state government departments.

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Clean gas, clean air

New technologies are making natural gas a cheaper and greener fuel

Air quality in China’s cities is improving thanks to government initiatives to reduce urban coal burning. In Beijing, for example, homes, schools, hospitals and factories are switching from coal to gas for heating. As a result, demand for gas has quadrupled over the past decade. Now Australian researchers are partnering with Chinese industry to make gas production even cleaner and more efficient.

Both countries will benefit. China has large gas reserves but much of the gas is in unconventional sources such as coal seam gas and shale gas. The gases from these sources can contain less than 50 per cent methane so impurities such as carbon dioxide and nitrogen must be removed. For nitrogen that usually means cooling the gas to separate the valuable methane from the nitrogen in an energy-intensive process costing billions of dollars.

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More wheat, less water

China and Australia can dramatically boost wheat yields and improve food security by unlocking the genetic potential within the hundreds of wheat varieties grown in the two countries. That’s the promise of the latest collaboration between wheat researchers in the two countries.

Chinese farmers have been growing wheat for at least 4,000 years. Crop yields per hectare are now nearly 10 times higher than in 1960 and China is now the largest wheat producer in the world. But wheat researchers say we can do more.

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Inventing the ultimate suspension system

To hear tiny vibrations from half a galaxy away, first you need to filter out the Earth’s constant rumbling.

At gravitational wave observatories such as the European Advanced Virgo in Italy, scientists try to detect ripples in spacetime caused by colliding black holes and other stellar cataclysms.

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How reprogramming cells turns back time

For the past decade scientists have been able to reprogram skin cells, nasal cells and other mature cells to become pluripotent stem cells that can turn into any cell type in the human body. How it works is only starting to become clear.

Teams led by Professors Ryan Lister at the University of Western Australia, Jose Polo at Monash University and Ernst Wolvetang at The University of Queensland are working together to understand how this process occurs, whether all cell types follow the same path to becoming pluripotent cells, and if this impacts their ability to mimic disease in the laboratory.

Through a series of collaborations over the last ten years the scientists have uncovered a number of stem cell secrets, opening the door for more targeted research and, ultimately, treatments for diseases. Continue reading How reprogramming cells turns back time

Gravitational waves—looking further

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.

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Perth community can help save Carnaby’s cockatoo

Endangered Carnaby’s cockatoos are adapting to urban life in Perth suburbs. And new research has shown how the community can help save them by creating cockatoo-friendly suburbs.

A world-first study used satellite technology to track the wild cockatoos, which are found only in Australia’s south-west and are often spotted in the suburbs of Perth.

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Helping Javanese children hear

Hearing-impaired children in East Java will have better access to services thanks to a collaboration between the University of Western Australia (UWA) and Universitas Airlangga. They’re working on audiology education and research with a long-term goal of establishing a Master of Clinical Audiology—Indonesia’s first audiology education program.

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