The shape of immune cells plays key role in recognising invaders.
The way immune cells pick friends from foes can be described by a classic maths puzzle known as the “narrow escape problem”.
That’s a key finding arising from an international
collaboration between biologists, immunologists and mathematicians, published
in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The narrow escape problem is a framework often applied in cellular
biology. It posits randomly moving particles trapped in a space with only a
tiny exit, and calculates the average time required for each one to escape.
Members of at least one species choose mates and egg sites based on where they were born, research reveals
a lifelong influence on butterflies as well as humans, new research reveals.
In a paper
published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological
Sciences, Macquarie University ARC Future Fellow Associate Professor
Darrell Kemp reveals that the American passionfruit butterfly, Heliconius
charithonia, selects its mate and egg-laying site based on the species of
plant that hosted its own egg.
Researchers hunt for a 12-billion-year-old signal that marks the end of the post Big Bang “dark age”.
are closing in on a signal that has been travelling
across the Universe for 12 billion years, bringing them nearer to understanding
the life and death of the very earliest stars.
paper on the preprint site arXiv and
soon to be published in the Astrophysical Journal, a team led by Dr Nichole Barry from Australia’s University of Melbourne and
the ARC Centre of Excellence for All Sky Astrophysics in 3 Dimensions (ASTRO
3D) reports a 10-fold improvement on data gathered by the Murchison Widefield
Array (MWA) – a collection of 4096 dipole antennas
set in the remote hinterland of Western Australia.
Collaboration investigates the link between changing sea levels, global warming and the health of marine wetlands.
Carbon dioxide capture by coastal ecosystems operates in direct relation
to the speed of sea level rise.
That was the conclusion of extensive research conducted by a team of
scientists from Macquarie
University, University of Wollongong and ANSTO – work that has now won the
scientists the NSW
Environment, Energy and Science (DPIE) Eureka Prize for Environmental Research.
Science In Public’s Michael Lucy wins a Eureka Prize
Michael won the award – presented at a glittering ceremony
at the Australian Museum in Sydney on Wednesday, August 28 – for a feature he
wrote on plastic pollution. The story was published in Cosmos magazine.
At the time of publication, Michael was also features
editor of the magazine, working alongside editor Andrew Masterson – who is now
editor-in-chief at Science In Public.
The NISEP program has helped almost 1000 Indigenous school children enter leadership roles.
The National Indigenous Science
Education Program (NISEP),
based at the Faculty of Science and Engineering at Sydney’s Macquarie
University, won the inaugural the Eureka Prize for STEM Inclusion at the 2019 Australian Museum Eureka
The awards were
held in Sydney on Wednesday, August 28.
Early results from Australia-wide experiment suggest being
outdoors can be a good way to trigger “aha” moments.
People are most likely to have a sudden bright idea when
out in the bush – or lying in bed.
That’s one of the early observations arising from The Aha!
Challenge, the month-long Australia-wide science experiment that kicked off
during National Science Week and runs until the end of August.
The experiment, which revolves around a series of online
brainteasers, aims to explore sudden bursts of clarity and insight, and their
role in problem-solving. In effect, it’s a nationwide quest to find the things
that make you go “aha!”…
researchers identify ancient protein pumps that make bacteria tough to treat –
but could be key to new green polymers
The molecular machinery used by bacteria to
resist chemicals designed to kill them could also help produce precursors for a
new generation of nylon and other polymers, according to new research by
scientists from Australia and the UK.
“Resistance to artificial antiseptics
appears to be a lucky accident for the bacteria, and it could also be useful
for humans,” says Professor Ian Paulsen of Australia’s Macquarie University,
one of the leaders of the research group.
Researchers set up Australia-wide experiment to explore
why and when the pennies drop.
Scientists want to know the things that make you go “aha!”.
Throughout August, researchers from the University of
Melbourne are conducting a country-wide citizen science project to better
understand how the human brain works.
The focus of the project, dubbed The Aha! Challenge,
is to investigate the kind of sudden problem-solving insight that makes you
spontaneously exclaim “yes!” or “at last!” or, indeed, “aha!”. It’s the ABC’s
community project for National Science Week.
Australian scientists develop cheap and rapid
way to identify antibiotic-resistant golden staph (MRSA).
A combination of off-the-shelf quantum dot nanotechnology
and a smartphone camera soon could allow doctors to identify
antibiotic-resistant bacteria in just 40 minutes, potentially saving patient
Staphylococcus aureus (golden staph), is a common form of bacterium that causes serious and sometimes fatal conditions such as pneumonia and heart valve infections. Of particular concern is a strain that does not respond to methicillin, the antibiotic of first resort, and is known as methicillin-resistant S. aureus, or MRSA.
reports estimate that 700 000 deaths globally could be attributed to antimicrobial
resistance, such as methicillin-resistance. Rapid identification of MRSA is
essential for effective treatment, but current methods make it a challenging
process, even within well-equipped hospitals.
Chinese-Australian research finds climate change good news, and solves an evolutionary mystery
Baby turtles influence their gender by moving around inside
their eggs, research has revealed.
The idea that an embryo reptile can act in a way that
affects its chances of developing as male or female has long been thought
impossible, but findings by scientists from China and Australia have now provided
clear proof of the process.
The research, published in the journal Current Biology,
solves a long-standing evolutionary mystery – and offers hope that at least
some species thought especially vulnerable to effects of climate change will prove
more robust than thought.
Australian-led astronomers find the
most iron-poor star in the Galaxy, hinting at the nature of the first stars in
A newly discovered ancient star containing a record-low amount of iron carries evidence of a class of even older stars, long hypothesised but assumed to have vanished.
In a paper published in the journal Monthly Notices of
the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters, researchers led by Dr Thomas
Nordlander of the ARC Centre of Excellence for All Sky Astrophysics in 3
Dimensions (ASTRO 3D) confirm the existence of an ultra-metal-poor red
giant star, located in the halo of the Milky Way, on the other side of the
Galaxy about 35,000 light-years from Earth.
Macquarie University’s Professor Rob Harcourt urges Oceania-wide action to safeguard several species.
Sharks in Australian waters are well protected but
are at risk as soon as they leave them, a new international study reveals.
The study compiled by 150 scientists around the
world – including 26 with ties to Australia – has found thateven in the most remote parts of the world’s oceans migratory
sharks are in severe danger from commercial fishing fleets, new research
In a paper published in the journal Nature,
more than 150 scientists, including Professor Rob Harcourt from the Department
of Biological Sciences at Australia’s Macquarie University, report that the
sharks – which include iconic species such as the shortfin mako (Isurus oxyrinchus) and the great white (Carcharodon
congregate in food-rich areas that are also prime hunting grounds for
commercial longline fishing fleets.
Australian research finds little lizards learn very quickly.
Young Australian eastern blue-tongue lizards (Tiliqua scincoides) are every bit as clever as adults, researchers have found.
Life is hard for
baby blue-tongues. As soon as they are born, they are on their own, with
neither parental support nor protection. Adults of the species can grow to 600
millimetres long and enjoy the benefits of thick scales and a powerful bite,
but the young are much smaller and thus more vulnerable to predation.
And that means
they have to box clever if they are to survive.
Australian and South American researchers posit wandering “ploonets” as unseen actors in distant solar systems.
Moons ejected from
orbits around gas giant exoplanets could explain several astronomical
mysteries, an international team of astronomers suggests.
Researchers led by
Mario Sucerquia, from the Universidad de Antioquia, Colombia, and Jaime
Alvarado-Montes from Australia’s Macquarie University, modelled the likely
behaviour of giant exomoons predicted to form around massive planets – and
discovered that they would be expelled and sent packing.
Roughly 50% of
these ejected moons would survive both the immediate expulsion and avoid any
subsequent collision with the planet or the star, ending up as quasi-planets
travelling around the host star, but in eccentric “Pluto-like” orbits.
Encourage your early-career researchers to talk about their results and discoveries by getting them to nominate for Fresh Science – a national competition that helps emerging scientists who have results that deserve attention.
Fresh Science, now in its 22nd year, provides a day of media training, followed by a traditional pub test. More below.
Westpac has endowed a new perpetual suite of fellowships and scholarships. Nominate your top early-career researchers, social innovators and students now. Read on for details.
Other prizes and opportunities:
2 x $50K Metcalf Prizes for Stem Cell Research. More below.