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The molecular heart of celiac disease revealed

Researchers discover how our immune cells bind to wheat proteins triggering the condition

Embargo: 1 am AEST Tuesday 29 April 2014

Published in Nature Structural and Molecular Biology

Australian, US and Dutch researchers have determined the molecular details of the interaction between the immune system and gluten that triggers celiac disease. Their work opens the way to potential treatments and diagnostics.

Monash, Melbourne and Leiden university researchers, in collaboration with colleagues from a Boston-based company, have described the molecular basis of how most of the immune cells (T cells) that induce celiac disease lock onto gliadin, a component of gluten, thereby triggering inflammation of the lining of the small intestine. This is what gives many celiac sufferers symptoms similar to food poisoning after eating a slice of toast. [continue reading…]

Put your scientists in the spotlight

Are you or your researchers keen to speak up for science? Now more than ever we need to hear stories of science, how science has made an impact and changed our lives. We need to see and hear from passionate researchers who are making a difference.

In this bulletin I’m focussing on training, prizes and showcasing science.

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Jobs at EMBL Australia, PhD training course, and new research

Posted on behalf of Nadia Rosenthal, Scientific Head, EMBL Australia

It’s been a pretty exciting time for EMBL Australia lately, with international visitors, new group leaders, and even a Nature paper.

But the one thing which really stood out for me in the past year was our EMBL Australia PhD Course.

At last year’s course at WEHI in Melbourne, we spent two weeks with 60 passionate and enthusiastic PhD students.

Not only did the students learn the tools of the trade from top researchers, they also formed an invaluable network of peers, who will hold their own student-run symposium in Sydney later this year.

This year we’ll bring together another 60 PhD students at ANU in Canberra. Applications are open now – read on for more details.

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Nature paper: Turning on our immune sentries

A team from Melbourne, Monash, UQ and the synchrotron (including core members of the ARC Imaging Centre team) have found what sends our MAITs into action to protect our gut from invaders.

The patented work is the starting point to understanding our first line of defence, and what happens when it goes wrong.  It will lead to new ways of diagnosing and treating inflammatory bowel disease, peptic ulcers and even TB.

Contact Niall on niall@scienceinpublic.com.au to get in touch with the team.

How our gut’s immune cells see invaders; what’s happening to WA’s coral reefs?

This morning Monash, Melbourne, and UQ have a cracking paper in Nature announcing the discovery of a key that wakes up a poorly understood part of our immune system.

It’s the next step for the research which last year won the Eureka Prize for Scientific Research.

Two years ago they discovered that ‘mystery’ immune cells in our gut detect invaders by reacting to components of vitamin B that are only made by certain bacteria and fungi. Now they have a molecular key to turn this off and on.
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Where does Australia rank in research? And the Mythbusters are coming to Australia…

Australia has taken the podium alongside Japan and China as one of the top three science performers in a dynamic Asia-Pacific region. The Nature Publishing Index is a snapshot of the region’s scientific research in the past year based on publication output in Nature and the 17 Nature research journals.

And from chart topping to myth busting – the Mythbusters are coming to Australia during National Science Week.

Read on for more…

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No jargon, no lab coats at FameLab Australia. Plus prizes for scientists.

Young scientists are performing around the country. No jargon, no lab coats… and they’ve only got 3 minutes. Come and support your researchers at FameLab Australia.

We need new ways to advocate for science and for science in policy – FameLab is one small step in that direction. While our science leaders talk big picture, I think we need to see more young scientists engaging locally: talking to journalists, politicians and the wider community about their discoveries.

Read on for more about FameLab, BioMedVic and prizes for research.

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More exciting than the law, more glamorous than accounting…

asta logo - smallAustralia’s Future: 28 creative careers for adventurous young people in science, technology, engineering and mathematics

Chief Scientist Professor Ian Chubb this morning launched Australia’s Future, a free magazine featuring 28 people and the very different journeys they’ve taken from their studies in science and maths, in the Mural Hall at Parliament House, Canberra.

Dr Liz New, a chemist at the University of Sydney, reckons she’s got the best job anyone could have.

“We have this idea that scientists are the ones who perform best in school or have a focused personality,” says Liz. “For me, the scientific personality is simply anyone who is curious enough to ask questions.”

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