- More prizes for scientists
- Find out what’s happening in stem cell research in Australia: Download the May 2014 Snapshot of Stem Cell Research
- 2014 Stories of Australian Science out now
- Big science tours – Brian Cox, Chris Hadfield, Michio Kaku and Mythbusters
- Media training for scientists – dates for 2014
- Click here to view a portfolio of our work
Two stories today:
Dancing bees and a dancing bee researcher
A researcher at The University of Sydney has just released his latest research on honey bee interpretive dance.
He’s got some nice vision of bees dancing, and he can dance too.
James Makinson has been evicting bees from their homes to figure out how they find a new nest site. It’s work that could help with understanding and managing honeybees for pollination services, ecological health, and pest control.
He’ll be at Sydney Uni with bees today. He’s also provided some footage of the bees ‘dancing’ about where to nest, then heading off after coming to agreement.
James does a good ‘waggle dance’ too. He was a national finalist of FameLab Australia -a science communication competition for early-career researchers.
Also: Do you look infected? Should I kill you? No, I’m fine, move along
How viruses use ‘fake’ proteins to hide in our cells: some viruses can hide in our bodies for decades. They make ‘fake’ human proteins that trick our immune cells into thinking ‘everything is awesome’, there’s nothing to see here.
Now researchers at the Imaging Centre of Excellence at Monash and Melbourne Universities have used synchrotron light to determine the basic structure of one of the two known families of these deceptive proteins.
We issued this story on Friday and it will be published in September’s Journal of Biological Chemistry.
Wednesday 9 July 2014
Video and photos of bees available
Scientist available for interview
Dr James Makinson evicts bees from their homes for a good reason—to figure out how they collectively decide on the next place to live. His research on bee communication and consensus-building has been published in this month’s issue of Animal Behaviour.
James and his colleagues at the University of Sydney in partnership with two universities in Thailand have found that not all honeybee species think like the common Western hive bee when it comes to deciding on a place to nest.
Two little-known species—the giant Asian honeybee and the tiny red dwarf honeybee—use a more rapid collective decision-making process that enables them to choose a new home quickly. But they aren’t as fussy when it comes to the quality of their new home.
It’s work that could help with understanding and managing honeybees for pollination services, ecological health, and pest control. Read the full article →
How viruses use ‘fake’ proteins to hide in our cells
Some viruses can hide in our bodies for decades. They make ‘fake’ human proteins that trick our immune cells into thinking ‘everything is awesome’, there’s nothing to see here.
Now researchers at the Imaging Centre of Excellence at Monash and Melbourne Universities have determined the basic structure of one of the two known families of these deceptive proteins.
Using synchrotron light and working with a common virus that lives in people happily and for the most part harmlessly, they worked out the structure of the fake proteins. This is an important first step towards producing better vaccines and drugs to fight viral disease.
The research was posted online this week by the Journal of Biological Chemistry. It will appear in the September issue of the journal. Read the full article →
But SAHMRI researchers are making it starve by eating itself to death
Scientist available for interview, Tuesday 1 July 2014
Stubborn cancer cells play a cunning trick when faced with treatments designed to kill them — they eat themselves to survive. But SAHMRI researchers have found a way to starve the cancer cells, making them more susceptible to cancer therapy.
As researchers develop more personalised cancer therapies that target cancer cells, they are also seeing an increase in resistance to treatment, where patients relapse or no longer respond to treatment.
One way that cancer resists treatment is by undergoing a process where the cancer cells eat themselves to maintain energy levels during times of stress — a process that helps them survive cancer treatments that would otherwise starve them.
Lisa Schafranek, a University of Adelaide PhD student working a SAHMRI, and her colleagues have used a clinically available drug to stop leukaemia cells from eating themselves to survive cancer therapy. Read the full article →
Posted on behalf of Rob Robinson, President of the Australian Institute of Physics.
The 2014 AIP Congress is less than six months away and you have just one more day to submit an abstract for a presentation or poster. Registrations have opened, with early-bird rates available until 29 August, so book in now to get together with your colleagues in December.
Of course, on the other side of the world the summer conference season is now on, and many of us will be flying north for the winter. The connections made at these events are crucial to the health of Australian physics, so I wish everyone happy hunting.
The Queen’s Birthday Honours were announced earlier this month, and I congratulate physicists Steve Buckman (ANU), Jim Piper (Macquarie), Ian Allison (Tasmania) and Tomas Kron (Peter Mac), as well as applied mathematician and physical chemist Barry Ninham (ACT) and former physicist Ziggy Switkowski, whom I think we can also claim, on their awards.
Young stars are also shining, with the announcement of the team of students who will represent Australia at the International Physics Olympiad in Kazakhstan in July. I was fortunate to attend the event in Canberra, along with media personality Adam Spencer and Dennis Jensen MP. You can read more about the team below.
Finally, I and some fellow AIP members recently had the opportunity to attend lectures by visiting American theoretical physicist Michio Kaku. He didn’t dumb things down too much, giving an entertaining performance to packed houses. It was inspiring to see so many people turn out and pay to hear a physicist speak, and a timely reminder of how much the public values what we do. Read the full article →
Posted on behalf of James Whisstock, Director Imaging CoE
Welcome to the June newsletter of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Advanced Molecular Imaging.
Another month down the track and the Centre is really coming together.
In terms of facilities and equipment, I’m excited because construction of Australia’s most advanced cryo-electron microscope unit is well underway and should be finished in early September. It will be housed in a bespoke facility at Monash University and enable us to view bio-macromolecules down to atomic resolution. You can read more about the new facility below.
On the administrative front, we are moving towards completion of sign-off with the Australian Research Council and will be announcing a date for our launch in the coming days. And we have also appointed a Centre Administrator, Chantelle Linnett, who will be responsible for project management. You can meet her below.
Meanwhile, our research forges on, and our chief investigators continue to be showered with awards. Several of them have made important presentations all around the world. Read the full article →