Fast sperm and footballers ankles: photo ops tomorrow and next week

Bulletins, Media bulletins

The fastest sperm may not be best

Sydney sea squirts show that there’s more to fertilisation and IVF than we thought…

  • on the beach, with some sea squirts
  • researcher Angela Crean available to chat

SeaSquirts - low resFor sea squirts the key to a long and happy life is to be fertilised not by a fast sperm, but by one that stands the test of time, Dr Angela Crean, from the Evolution and Ecology Research Centre at the University of New South Wales, has found.

And her discovery, published in PLoS, also shows for the first time that the influence of sperm extends well beyond the moment of conception.

If further studies demonstrate the same effects in human sperm, the finding will change some of the assumptions used in IVF practice.

“This is surprising because it suggests that a sperm’s influence on offspring extends beyond just the DNA it carries,” said Angela, an ARC DECRA fellow.

“This finding has the potential to change the way we view and study inheritance. It is unknown how widespread this phenomenon is but, given the obvious implications for IVF technologies, it will be exciting to test if sperm and offspring quality are linked in other species.”

Sea squirts are small animals that live on the sea floor – including in and around Sydney Harbour. They attach themselves to rocks, piers, and ships and filter the surrounding water for their food. They’re chordates – more closely related to humans and other vertebrates, than to invertebrates such as sponges and coral.

Angela will be at the beach with some sea squirts for filming and photos tomorrow, Wednesday 14 August.

She’ll also be available for interviews throughout the day and later in the week.

Contact AJ on 03 9398 1416 or for more details on embargo.

How ankles can save footballers’ knees

Media call and embargo Tuesday 20 August, 10-11am
Visy Park, Royal Parade, Carlton North

  • researcher Hossein Mokhtarzadeh
  • Sam Rosengarten, sports physiotherapist for the Carlton Football Club
  • and a player from the Carlton Football team

Hossein Mokhtarzadeh - low resAFL knee injuries could be dramatically reduced if physiotherapists paid more attention to ankles, a Melbourne mechanical engineer has found.

He is now trialling the mathematical models to help Carlton Football Club predict and screen for players at most risk of knee injuries.

He’ll be available to chat at Visy Park with the Carlton boys next Tuesday, demonstrating how his research could help prevent injury.

Contact AJ on 03 9398 1416 or for more details on embargo.

In case you missed it: two new genes and 25 mutations found for epilepsies

A new approach to genome analysis led by Melbourne and San Francisco researchers.

A $25 million project jointly led by Melbourne and San Francisco-based scientists and backed by the US National Institutes of Health reported in Nature on Monday that they’ve developed a new approach to identify the causes of severe epilepsies.

Using next generation sequencing they’re analysing 4,000 genomes from epilepsy patients and have already found 25 epilepsy-causing mutations. The research suggests there will be common pathways to target epilepsies with drugs and other therapies.

More details from the University of Melbourne:

And there’s a media release from the NIH available – call us on (03) 9398 1416 if you’d like a copy.

In Adelaide tonight: what was the Higgs boson all about?

Professor Elisabetta Barberio will be bringing physics to the public and school students in with AIP Women in Physics lectures being held across Australia.

This is your chance to find out the real story behind the headlines: where does mass come from, and what can the Higgs boson, the subatomic particle found by the Large Hadron Collider last year, tell us about this question?

Elisabetta is speaking tonight in Adelaide at RiAus:
6pm, Tuesday 13 August
The Science Exchange, 55 Exchange Place, Adelaide

And next week she’ll be heading to Tassie for talks in Launceston and Hobart.

Elisabetta, from the University of Melbourne, says the Women in Physics lecture tour provides a great opportunity for people to experience the recent discovery of the Higgs boson at the LHC.

“We often think that physics research is a purely male field, but it doesn’t have to be that way. The ATLAS experiment was led for a long time by a woman, and women are doing some amazing research in this area.”

She’s happy to chat with journos on her travels – call Margie on 0415 448 065 or email to set up interviews.

More details of tonight’s talk at: