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Vaccine comments from the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences

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COVID-19 vaccines will protect individuals, families and communities

Expert health and medical science leaders welcome vaccine roll-out, but caution that the vaccines alone are not enough.

See here for comments from Tania Sorrell, Tony Cunningham, Fran Baum, and other health experts.

The COVID-19 vaccination roll-out is a major development for Australia. It will enable people to take action that will help to protect themselves, their families and the wider community from a disease that has killed millions of people and impacted everyone, says the country’s expert body in the health and medical sciences.

The Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences (AAHMS) is an independent body comprising more than 400 senior researchers and health leaders. It has been active in monitoring and guiding the nation’s pandemic response.

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At cosmic noon, puffy galaxies make stars for longer

Galaxies with extended disks maintain productivity, research reveals

Massive galaxies with extra-large extended “puffy” disks produced stars for longer than their more compact cousins, new modelling reveals.

In a paper published in the Astrophysical Journal, researchers led by Dr Anshu Gupta and Associate Professor Kim-Vy Tran from Australia’s ARC Centre of Excellence in All Sky Astrophysics in 3 Dimensions (ASTRO 3D), show that the sheer size of a galaxy influences when it stops making new stars. 

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The secrets of 3000 galaxies laid bare

Completion of Australian-led astronomy project sheds light on the evolution of the Universe

The complex mechanics determining how galaxies spin, grow, cluster and die have been revealed following the release of all the data gathered during a massive seven-year Australian-led astronomy research project.

The scientists observed 13 galaxies at a time, building to a total of 3068, using a custom-built instrument called the Sydney-AAO Multi-Object Integral-Field Spectrograph (SAMI), connected to the 4-metre Anglo-Australian Telescope (AAT) at Siding Spring Observatory in New South Wales. The telescope is operated by the Australian National University.

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2020 Metcalf Prizes for Stem Cell Research

Mystery proteins reveal how embryos and cancers grow – Melanie Eckersley-Maslin, Melbourne

Genes may hold key to leukaemia survival – Steven Lane, Brisbane

Winners of the National Stem Cell Foundation of Australia’s Metcalf Prizes announced today

12 January 2021

Scientists available for interviews:

Using stem cell research to fight cancer has won two Australian researchers $55,000 each in the annual Metcalf Prizes for Stem Cell Research, awarded by the National Stem Cell Foundation of Australia.

Dr Melanie Eckersley-Maslin—a new recruit of the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre—believes the proteins which control the growth of cells in embryos could teach us how to stop the uncontrolled growth of cells in cancer.

Vital to normal development in early life, these molecules may later play a role in the early stages of cancer or help it spread. If so, we could target them therapeutically and block or slow progression of the disease.

Associate Professor Steven Lane of the QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute wants to lift the survival rates of his leukaemia patients. He thinks the key could lie in the genetic fingerprints of the blood cancer stem cells that proliferate the disease.

Steven is studying how these cells become resistant to treatment through genetic changes. He will use the knowledge to develop more effective and tailored therapies, both to prevent and treat potentially fatal relapses.

The scientists have been recognised by the Foundation for their early-career leadership in stem cell research.

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Mystery proteins reveal how embryos and cancers grow

Can embryology shed light on cancer growth?

Dr Melanie Eckersley-Maslin.
Credit: Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre

Proteins which control the growth of cells in embryos could teach us how to stop the uncontrolled growth of cells that is the hallmark of cancer, thanks to work by molecular biologist Dr Melanie Eckersley-Maslin.

Vital to normal development in early life, these molecules may later play a role in the early stages of cancer or help it spread. If so, we could target them therapeutically and block or slow progression of the disease.

In recognition of her leadership in the field, Melanie has received one of two annual $55,000 Metcalf Prizes from the National Stem Cell Foundation of Australia.

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Genes may hold key to leukaemia survival

Brisbane scientist awarded for research into new blood cancer treatments

Professor Steven Lane. Credit: QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute

Clinical haematologist Associate Professor Steven Lane wants to lift the survival rates of his leukaemia patients. He thinks the key could lie in the genetic fingerprints of the blood cancer stem cells that proliferate the disease.

Steven is studying how these cells become resistant to treatment through genetic changes. He will use the knowledge to develop more effective and tailored therapies, both to prevent and treat potentially fatal relapses.

In recognition of his leadership in stem cell research, he has received one of two annual $55,000 Metcalf Prizes from the National Stem Cell Foundation of Australia.

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Vaccines alone won’t keep Australia COVID-safe, review finds

Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences urges multi-pronged response for 2021

High levels of testing, efficient vaccine distribution and addressing pandemic mental health impacts are critical if Australia is to maintain control over COVID-19 in 2021, the country’s learned body for health and medical sciences has concluded.

The Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences (AAHMS), an independent body comprising more than 400 senior researchers, has released a report spelling out the necessary next steps for pandemic response in the new year.

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It’s time to find out what works for women in STEM

A Guide to Evaluating STEM Gender Equity Programs launched

A new resource will make it easier to identify programs with the greatest impact for women pursuing careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). 

The need is urgent. The working lives of women in STEM have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.

While there are hundreds of programs to attract and retain girls and women in STEM, a recent Australian National University study found that only seven of 337 initiatives in Australia provided publicly available evidence of impact or an evaluation of their effectiveness.

The Evaluating STEM Gender Equity Programs guide (the Guide)—published today by the Office of the Women in STEM Ambassador—provides practical tools for anyone running a gender equity program to evaluate their project and focus on what really works.

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Free telescopes set school kids dancing with the STARS

Astronomers head to the country to spark student interest in what lies above.

ANU astronomer Brad Tucker showing students from Rockhampton High School how to use their powerful new telescope. Credit: ANU Media

Children in remote and regional schools will soon be visited by astronomers bearing gifts in a quest to kindle interest in the cosmos.

The scientists – drawn from the ranks of the ARC Centre of Excellence for All Sky Astrophysics in 3D (ASTRO 3D) and the Australian National University – will donate a powerful telescope and high-tech accessories to each school so classes can continue to explore the Universe long after the astronomers have left.

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