Do krill have sex? Trace elements reveal Parkinson’s. Could science save your chocolate soufflé and more

Media bulletins

These are some of the stories from scientists participating in the he Ultimo Science Festival which kicks off in Sydney next Thursday, 16 August. It’s 11 days of serious science fun, with 50 events running day and night around the Powerhouse Museum, the ABC Ultimo Centre, Ultimo TAFE and the University of Technology, Sydney.

For all interview requests regarding the Ultimo Science Festival, contact Frankie Lee on or on 0419 448 847. or AJ Epstein on or 0433 339 141.

And in other science news:

Do krill have sex? From Antarctic ocean floor to online music video

A video of tiny crustaceans having sex was taken at the bottom of the ocean off the coast of Antarctica. Now it’s been transformed into an animation and remixed online into a music video.

“Scientists from the Australian Antarctic Division took this video of krill mating and I worked with them to transform it, frame by frame, into an animation, so we could figure out what was going on,” says Australian artist Lisa Roberts.

“A girl from Dallas, Jodi Shaw, saw my animation and remixed it with some of her music.”

“The science of krill is now reaching a whole new audience.”

The animation is part of an exhibition “Oceanic Living Data: Animated hypotheses, stories, data and iconography”.

Lisa and her colleagues have worked with climate scientists to reinterpret their research in art.

The exhibition is at The Muse, in Harris St, Ultimo, NSW, and is open throughout the Ultimo Science Festival, with a special forum on1pm-4 pm Sunday 19 August.

For interviews, contact Lisa Roberts, 0428 502 805, or Frankie Lee, 0419 448 847,

The music video can be found here:

Lisa’s original animation can be found here:

About Lisa Roberts:

Lisa is passionate about using art to make a difference.

She’s evolved collaborations with scientists and other artists from shared interests in understanding climate change.

Her formal studies include dance, visual arts, animation, Indigenous perspectives and Antarctic perceptions.

Her PhD research is now used in animation and other media to combine scientific data with expressions of connection.

Iron-ageing: trace elements and their role in Parkinson’s disease

If all the iron in the human brain was put into one lump, it would amount to about the size of a grain of rice. But the metal plays a vital role in brain cells and their function.

Australian scientists are working on ways to detect tiny changes in the amounts of trace elements in the brain. This work could assist with the latest therapies for Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and other degenerative brain and nerve diseases.

“With a greater understanding of how trace elements work in the brain, better treatments can be developed,” says Dominic Hare, an analytical chemist at University Technology Sydney (UTS).

“In my life-time, I see a world where you can say, ‘Oh, my Parkinson’s is acting up today,’ and just take a tablet.”

Dominic and his colleague biologist Blaine Roberts will speak about their work at the Ultimo Science Festival on Wednesday 22 August at the University of Technology Sydney City Campus, with drinks at 6pm for a 6.30 start.

Dominic is available for interview on 0411 776 614 or contact Frankie Lee at or 0419 448 847.

More information on the public lecture can be found at:

About Dominic Hare:

Dominic completed his PhD in Analytical Chemistry at UTS in 2009 and he is currently an Australian Postdoctoral (Industry) Fellow of the Australian Research Council, studying new techniques for imaging metals in single brain cells.

Chemistry and creativity in the kitchen

Making tiny edible spheres of flavour is just one of the secrets of molecular gastronomy that food scientist and award-winning pastry chef Galit Segev will share at the Ultimo Science Festival.

“I love food-it’s about creativity and passion.  But once you know more about the ‘how’ of cooking, you can experiment in so many ways,” says Galit.

“Take apple juice caviar.  You drop one liquid into another and you end up with a thin layer of gel enclosing a burst of flavour.”

Galit will be running two workshops during the Ultimo Science festival.  The Science of the Perfect Chocolate Soufflé will be on Monday 20 August 6pm at Ultimo TAFE.

She’ll also demonstrate how to make tiny edible spheres of flavour during her Molecular Gastronomy workshop at 12 noon Wednesday 22 August at the Apprentice Restaurant at Ultimo TAFE.

For interviews, contact Galit Segev on 0410 419 359, or Frankie Lee on 0419 448 847,

About Galit Segev:

Galit Segev is a food scientist with a Masters in biochemistry and food science.

She once worked as scientist for international pharmaceutical companies, now she’s a chef and educator with a flair for chocolate and molecular gastronomy.

She now runs Galit Food Innovation, which focuses on product development and innovation, as well as education and volunteering.

About the Ultimo Science Festival

The Ultimo Science Festival 2012 is 11 days of serious science fun.

There are more than 50 events in and around Harris St Ultimo day and night throughout the festival.

Get involved with pub science, science-art and film, family activities, school sessions, lectures on amazing topics by extraordinary speakers, comedy, laboratory tours, peeks into museum basements and scientists scurrying out of their labs to show what they’ve discovered.

All the details including booking information are at

And there’s a full program available at

Sound Check Australia – The national hearing survey

Binge listening isn’t a technical term,but you can probably guess what it means. Research has shown that our hearing can be adversely affected if we expose our precious shell-like ears to a number of loud experiences consecutively.

So if you’re working with a jackhammer from 7am to 4pm on Friday, that’s probably not the best night to go to that nightclub all-nighter with wall-to-wall DJs, or that death-metal concert.

How good is your hearing? Do you know how to protect it? Researchers from the National Acoustics Lab have teamed up with ABC Science to devise a suite of online activities. And you can be part of a national survey on our listening habits – what you listen to, how long, how often and how loud.

Hearing researchers and Sound Check Australia spokespeople from all over Australia are available for interviews.

Contact Frankie Lee for more information on or 0419 448 847

E-health launch, Friday 17 August

Over the past months there has been lots of talk about e-health. Now, there’s a new project which has already changed how 10,000 people look after their chronic diseases.

We’re helping with the launch which will happen next Friday 17 August. If you’d like to be briefed, under embargo, give me a call.

L’Oréal Australia and New Zealand For Women in Science Fellowships

The three fellows from Australia and New Zealand will be announced on Tuesday 21 August. We’ll be briefing journalists on embargo over the next couple of weeks.

If you’d like to receive information on this years’ fellows, give me a call on 0417 131 977 or email