I’m in Tokyo talking about the Japanese collaborations we collected earlier this year. The result was a series of fact sheets for the Australian Embassy in Japan. This weekend we’re presenting them at Science Agora in Tokyo.
We’re talking about saving coral, predicting earthquakes, fighting malaria, exploring Antarctic oceans with elephant seals, sharing neutrons, new drugs for malaria, and the prehistory of tsunamis. More below.
Today I’m keen to hear of:
- Japan – any new Australia-Japan achievements – where the research has or is making a real difference.
- Indonesia – ways in which Australian science has changed Indonesia and vice versa. For example, Australian vets helped eradicate foot-and-mouth disease in Indonesia – benefiting agriculture in both countries.
- Highlights of your best research in Australia and around the world for our 2016 Stories of Australian Science collection.
Also last night, and on breakfast TV and radio this morning, we’ve heard that exercise can reverse dementia and recover spatial memory – in mice so far, but human trials are due to start next year.
Perry Bartlett, the founding director of the Queensland Brain Institute, received the $50,000 CSL Florey Medal for his discoveries that have transformed our understanding of the brain.
The award was presented by Minister Sussan Ley at the AAMRI dinner in Parliament House. More below.
Australia-Indonesia science collaborations
Do you know of ways Australian research has changed Indonesia and vice versa? We’re pulling together a list for the Australia Indonesia Centre.
They’re supporting a wide range of projects tackling topics from micro-grids for remote energy, to transport efficiency at the new ports Indonesia is building, to fighting TB and pneumonia.
But we want to capture and promote the backstory, the history of achievement, such as the collaboration that contributed to the eradication of foot-and-mouth disease in Indonesia, and helped protect Australia.
Feel free to just send me one line or bullet points on any projects that come to mind. We’ll flesh them out.
Saving coral, predicting earthquakes, fighting malaria
Stories of successful Australia-Japan science collaboration
Japanese science and technology has changed Australia: from the Walkman to the DVD, hybrid cars, stem cell science and more. But it’s not a one-way trade. Japanese lives are being improved by Australian inventions such as the bionic ear, gum that repairs tooth decay, sleep disorder treatments, lithium to treat bi-polar disorder, black boxes, and anti-flu drugs, which are all used daily in Japan.
Today, there are hundreds of thriving Australia-Japan research collaborations, many of which will have a profound impact on our lives in the years ahead.
We’re presenting our Australia-Japan fact sheets at Japan’s Science Agora in Tokyo this weekend.
But we’re also keen to hear about new stories for future events and for the Australian Embassy in Tokyo.
Stories of Australian Science 2016 – open for submissions
Stories of Australian Science summarises the best of Australian science from the past year.
Last year we included stories on the hunt for dark matter in a gold mine, the 3D printed jet engine and insulin in a plant seed. We’re currently sharing them via #AusSciStories and they’re online here.
If you’ve got a story you’d like to include in our next storybook, email me or call the office on (03) 9398 1416.
We write the stories for you—all you need to do is tell us what you’d like to include in the publication, and give us your scientist’s contact details.
Prices start at $1,200 + GST for a single story, and are discounted for multiple stories.
More details at: stories.scienceinpublic.com.au/submission
Discovering brain stem cells and waking them up with exercise
Professor Perry Bartlett from the Queensland Brain Institute at UQ received the 2015 CSL Florey Medal for his discoveries that have transformed our understanding of the brain, and for his leadership of neuroscience in Australia.
Perry Bartlett is putting people with dementia on treadmills. He has already reversed dementia and recovered spatial memories in mice through exercise. During the next year he’ll find out if exercise will have the same impact on people with dementia. Then he’ll look at depression.
Underpinning these projects is the idea that the brain is constantly changing and that learning, memory, mood and many other brain functions are, in part, regulated by the production of new neurons. When Perry started exploring the brain in 1977, the mature brain was regarded as static and unchangeable. He challenged this dogma and his work has led to a transformation in our understanding of the brain.
In 1982 Perry predicted that there were stem cells in the brain. In 1992 he found them in mouse embryos then in adult mice. A decade later, he isolated them from the forebrain. His next big project was building up the Queensland Brain Institute from ten people to 500 in little more than a decade. Subsequently, the Institute has unleashed a new generation of neuroscientists whose discoveries range from using ultrasound to treat Alzheimer’s disease, to finding stem cells associated with mood, spatial learning and more.
Today, Perry is focusing on taking his latest discovery from mice to the clinic. He and the research team he mentors are preparing to start human trials to determine if exercise really can slow down or reverse dementia in humans. Dementia affects more than 300,000 Australians and many more cases are expected as our population ages. It’s a devastating condition and the direct cost to the community is more than $5 billion a year. The impact on families is beyond measure.
Perry received the 2015 CSL Florey Medal for his revolutionary discoveries that have transformed our understanding of the brain and for his leadership of neuroscience in Australia.
Science in Public – planning, mentoring, communicating
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