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You saw sawfish!

Media call: 8am Wednesday 26 February 2020, SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium

With scientists and sawfish Roger and Ryobi; footage available.

Hundreds of citizen science sightings reveal opportunities to protect Australia’s four iconic sawfish species

Green Sawfish (P. zijsron) – Weipa, QLD 2019
  • New hotspots for green sawfish in Weipa and Karratha.
  • A sawfish nursery in the Brisbane River until about 1950.
  • Evidence that sawfish have not completely disappeared from NSW waters, with a Newcastle sighting.
  • Juvenile sawfish reported down the WA coast.
  • More action needed in Queensland as only one species reported south of Cooktown.
  • A new call to action to step up conservation and assess the impact of net-free zones in Weipa and Queensland’s east coast.
  • And keep reporting your sightings. Together we can save sawfish.
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New clues for allergy prevention by breast milk

Written by Akila Rekima and the University of Western Australia. For the full UWA press release, click here.

A research team at UWA is investigating the complex interactions of breast milk with allergens and baby’s gut immune system.

They’ve found that food-derived but also airborne allergens are present in breast milk. Some do give protection and reduce allergies later in life.

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Australia Day Honours

AC

Margaret Elaine GARDNER

VIC

For eminent service to tertiary education through leadership and innovation in teaching and learning, research and financial sustainability.

Bruce Gregory ROBINSON

NSW

For eminent service to medical research, and to national healthcare, through policy development and reform, and to tertiary education.

Anthony William THOMAS

SA

For eminent service to scientific education and research, particularly in the field of nuclear and particle physics, through academic leadership roles

AO

Larissa BEHRENDT

NSW

For distinguished service to Indigenous education and research, to the law, and to the visual and performing arts.

Shaun Patrick BRENNECKE

VIC

For distinguished service to medical education and research in the fields of obstetrics and gynaecology, and to professional societies.

Rachelle BUCHBINDER

VIC

For distinguished service to medical education and research, particularly to ageing and age-related diseases.

Charles Roderick CURWEN

VIC

For distinguished service to the Crown, and to public administration in Victoria, to medical research, and to Australia-China business relations.

Ian Ross DONGES

NSW

For distinguished service to medical education in the fields of epidemiology and rheumatology, and to professional associations.

John Kinley DEWAR

VIC

For distinguished service to education through leadership roles in the universities sector, and to professional organisations.

Gillian Margaret GROOM

TAS

For distinguished service to the community through healthcare, medical research, and social welfare organisations, and to the law.

Jules Mitchell GUSS

NSW

For distinguished service to education and scientific research in the field of molecular bioscience, and to professional organisations.

John Reginald PIGGOTT

NSW

For distinguished service to education, to population ageing research, and to public finance policy development.

Alison Joan RITTER

NSW

For distinguished service to education, to drug and alcohol research and social policy, and to professional medical societies.

Roy Michael ROBINS-BROWNE

VIC

For distinguished service to medical education and research in the field of microbiology and immunology, and to professional groups.

Matthew Roy SANDERS

QLD

For distinguished service to education and research in clinical psychology, and to child, parent and family wellbeing.

Robert (John) SIMES

NSW

For distinguished service to education, and to medicine, in the field of cancer research and clinical trials.

Raymond Louis SPECHT

QLD

For distinguished service to science, and to education, in the fields of botany, plant ecology and conservation.

Geoffrey Wayne STEVENS

VIC

For distinguished service to education, to chemical engineering and environmental remediation, and as a mentor.

Brian Harrison WALKER

ACT

For distinguished service to science, particularly to ecosystem ecology and research, and to professional scientific bodies.

Rachel Lindsey WEBSTER

VIC

For distinguished service to education in the field of astrophysics, to astronomical research, and to young women scientists.

Jeffrey David ZAJAC

VIC

For distinguished service to medical research and education, particularly in the field of endocrinology, and to professional societies.

Robyn WILLIAMS

NSW

For distinguished service to science as a journalist, radio presenter and author, and to education

AM

Bruce Richard BROWN

WA

For significant service to the pearling industry, and to marine research.

Lyndon Mayfield BROWN

WA

For significant service to the pearling industry, and to marine research.

Geoffrey Michael CURRIE

NSW

For significant service to nuclear medicine and medical radiation science.

Stephen Vincent COLES

VIC

For significant service to veterinary science, and to professional bodies.

Christopher John CLEMENTS

VIC

For significant service to international public health through immunisation programs.

Karen Patricia DAY

VIC

For significant service to science education, and to global public health.

Robert John EDGAR

VIC

For significant service to the banking and finance sectors, and to medical research organisations.

Graham John FAICHNEY

NSW

For significant service to science in the fields of animal nutrition and physiology.

Peter Charles FLINN

VIC

For significant service to agricultural research through the promotion of near-infrared spectroscopy.

Anthony John GUTTMANN

VIC

For significant service to the mathematical sciences, and to education

Janice Leona HILLS

NT

For significant service to veterinary science, and to the community.

Geoffrey Ian HUSTON

ACT

For significant service to science, and through pioneering roles with the internet.

Gael JENNINGS

VIC

For significant service to science, and to the broadcast media.

Peter James PLUMMER

QLD

For significant service to higher education, to health research, and to public administration.

Steven Russell RAINE

QLD

For significant service to soil science and agriculture, and to education.

Peter William RIDDLES

QLD

For significant service to science, to biotechnology, and to innovation.

Robert Keith SHEPHERD

VIC

For significant service to biomedical research, and to education.

Richard Ashton WARNER

TAS

For significant service to agricultural research and development.

Roderick Tucker WELLS

SA

For significant service to education, and to the biological sciences.

Ann Felicity WESTMORE

VIC

For significant service to medical history, and to science communication.

Justin John YERBURY

NSW

For significant service to education and research in the field of biological sciences.

Alyson Marie AULIFF

QLD

For exceptional service to the Australian Defence Force in malaria research

OAM

Shane Thomas HUNTINGTON

VIC

For service to science as a communicator

Maria PARAPPILLY

SA

For service to science education, and to women.

Cecily Jane FREEMANTLE

VIC

For service to medical research, particularly to population health.

Christopher John QUINN

QLD

For service to research science in the field of plant systemics.

Michael John WILSON

NSW

For service to community health, particularly to diabetes research.

Public Service Medal (PSM)

Nguyen Thi Thanh AN

For outstanding public service in fostering the Australia-Vietnam bilateral relationship in agricultural research.

Stephen Moile CORDNER

VIC

For outstanding public service to forensic medical and scientific services, training and research in Victoria.

Robert John EDGAR

VIC

For significant service to the banking and finance sectors, and to medical research organisations.

Victor Hutton ODDY

NSW

For outstanding public service to the primary industry sector, and to science, in New South Wales.

James Richard PEARSON

VIC

For outstanding public service to forensic science, particularly to chemistry, in Victoria

Is that plant healthy?

We can’t easily monitor the health of plants, by the time we see that they’re sick it’s usually too late to save that. That’s an issue for your house plants, a field of wheat, orchards and plantations.

Karina Khambatta has developed a way to use the waxy surface of leaves to monitor their health.

Currently the technique uses infrared spectroscopy to study changes seen throughout leaf senescence. Karina has had the opportunity to utilise the infrared microscopy lab located at the Australian Synchrotron to help correlate her infrared studies undertaken at Curtin University, but Karina believes it can be turned into a handheld device that could be used on-farm, like reading a barcode.

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Cheaper, more efficient lithium sulfur battery outperforms current electric car battery fourfold

An “Expansion-Tolerant” Architecture offers stability to ultra-high capacity Lithium-Sulfur battery

A lithium sulfur battery that has four times the capacity than existing electric car batteries has been built and tested by researchers at Monash University, revealed in a paper published in Science Advances.

This would allow you to drive Melbourne to Sydney with just one charge – driving the coastal route. A current edition prius would require to stop in Albury-Wodonga to recharge.

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Peanut Allergy: a pain in the guts

Deakin researcher discovers allergy mechanism.

Image credit – Pexels

Peanut allergens cross a model of the gut lining, causing it to leak, new research by Dr Dwan Price from Deakin University in Victoria has revealed.

The allergens hijack the transport mechanisms of cells in the intestine, disrupting the bonds that hold the gut lining together, making it permeable.

The allergens hijack the transport mechanisms of cells in the intestine, disrupting the bonds that hold the gut lining together, making it permeable.

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Sugar found to boost lethal bacteria

Adelaide researchers find how a bacteria digests a sugar can be key to new treatments

The severity of a common and often lethal type of bacteria depends on its ability to process a type of sugar, research from the University of Adelaide reveals.

Streptococcus pneumoniae causes diseases of the lungs, blood, ear and brain, killing an estimated one million people every year. Moreover S. pneumoniae causes otitis media (infection of the middle ear), which devastates Aboriginal populations. It also rapidly develops resistance to antibiotics, making it challenging to treat.

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‘Magic crystals’ to enable our electric car future

Australian invention promises massive boost to lithium production

CSIRO and Monash University’s Matthew Hill received the Solomon Award for developing ‘magic crystals’ with dozens of applications from cleaning gases and liquids to mining and drug production.


Cheaper cleaner lithium mining for future cars and batteries is the newest application. It’s being developed with US company Energy Exploration Technologies (EnergyX).

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Should Australia allow mitochondrial donation?

  • Public events in Sydney 11 Nov, Melbourne 18 Nov and online
  • Case studies/patients also available from the Mito Foundation.

The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) is inviting all Australians to provide their views on the use of a new assisted reproductive technology that might assist in preventing certain rare mitochondrial diseases but which requires careful ethical and social consideration. Consultation is open until Friday 29 November 2019.

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Should Australia allow mitochondrial donation?

National consultation launched Saturday 19 October in Adelaide

See the stories on Seven News, Ten News and the Adelaide Advertiser.

NHMRC invited all Australians to provide their views on the use of a new assisted reproductive technology that might assist in preventing certain rare mitochondrial diseases, but which requires careful ethical and social consideration. Consultation is open until 29 November. An issues paper is available at www.nhmrc.gov.au/mito

On Saturday 19 October in Adelaide, NHMRC held its first major event of the consultation – a citizens’ panel. Around 20 citizens randomly selected from across Australia met over two weekends to hear from experts and then prepared their own position statement.

Mitochondrial donation might be able to assist in the prevention of mitochondrial DNA disease in an estimated 60 births per year in this country. However, there are social and ethical issues to consider including:

  • using mitochondrial DNA from a donor (using IVF technology) so that the child has DNA from three people
  • the rights of children to know their full genetic heritage
  • the potential risks and benefits of the technology, and
  • the implications for future generations.

Mitochondrial donation is in limited use in the UK and some other countries, but not Australia. NHMRC is asking the Australian community to consider the social and ethical issues associated with mitochondrial donation and will then provide advice to the Australian Government.

Details on further events will be provided in future announcements.