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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.

Talk to media, business, government: sessions in Cairns and Townsville this week

We’re holding a series of courses at JCU in Cairns and Townsville.

Meet working journalists from TV, radio and online, learn what they need, and how to keep it accurate – Cairns on Tuesday 17 September, Townsville on 19 September and Monday 23 September.

Find out how to talk to business, government and the community: Cairns on Wednesday 18 September, Townsville on Friday 20 September.

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Riding the nurdle wave to a Eureka

Science In Public’s Michael Lucy wins a Eureka Prize

Michael Lucy, winner Finkel Foundation Eureka Prize for Long- Science Journalism. 2019 Australian Museum Eureka Prizes © Salty Dingo 2019 CRG

Michael won the award – presented at a glittering ceremony at the Australian Museum in Sydney on Wednesday, August 28 – for a feature he wrote on plastic pollution. The story was published in Cosmos magazine.

At the time of publication, Michael was also features editor of the magazine, working alongside editor Andrew Masterson – who is now editor-in-chief at Science In Public.

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Slime moulds, wasp art, your racist brain, and robots on the catwalk

Saturday 18 August 2018

Highlights from day eight of National Science Week’s nine-day ‘week’

166 events and exhibitions, 13 online activities, and dozens of great stories and talent.

National and international talent, researchers, experts, and other interesting people available for interview around the country. Plenty of photo opportunities.

Adelaide

  • The lifecycle of a parasitic wasp as performance art—scientists perform their science

New South Wales

  • Kick the physics out of a footy, science and extreme sport at Sydney Olympic Park
  • Drones, 3D printing, and robots on the catwalk, in Wagga Wagga

Tasmania

  • Tasty science, snotty science, Antarctic secrets and the man headed to Mars, in Hobart
  • Sarah Lloyd says slime moulds are nature’s miniature jewels—ask and see why, in Westbury

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Manufacturing a cell therapy peace-keeping force, and more

20-23 June 2018 at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre

International Society for Stem Cell Research 2018 Annual Meeting: 2,500+ stem cell scientists from 50 countries will hear from 150+ speakers including:

Lab-grown mini-brains make new connections

Fred ‘Rusty’ Gage (USA) is making mini-brains from human stem cells in the lab. But in order for these new tissues to function, they need to become well-connected.

Fred is pioneering research to explore how transplanted human neural organoids (mini-organs) can mature into tissues with blood vessel and nerve connections. This work could lead to methods of replacing brain tissue lost to stroke or disease, and repairing spinal cords damaged by trauma.

Tracing blood back to its beginnings to tackle leukaemia

Right now, the stem cells in your bone marrow are making one billion new red blood cells per minute. Andrew Elefanty (Australia) is studying both embryonic stem cells and more specialised blood-forming stem cells to reveal how our body makes blood and what leads to leukaemia and other blood diseases. He will reveal his team’s latest insights. [continue reading…]

Case studies; build your profile; comms training; the PM’s Science Prizes and more

Case studies and profile building

We can help you raise the profile of your research and researchers by:

  • writing case studies and stories for you to use with your institution’s communication platforms
  • publishing your stories via social media, media, the web, your stakeholders, flyers and our Stories of Australian Science
  • teaching your researchers how to tell and pitch their own stories.

For example, for $5,000 we can write 10 short case studies; for $10,000 we can write them, share them, and get some attention for your researchers. If you’d like more information give me a call – 0417 131 977.

China and Japan 

If you’ve had any recent success with collaborations in China or Japan, I’d love to hear about it. I’m visiting China and Japan at the end of the month with a City of Melbourne Business Mission. I’ll be tweeting and We-Chatting about great collaborations in research and also drawing on our past lists and case studies: http://stories.scienceinpublic.com.au/japanand http://stories.scienceinpublic.com.au/china

Training

Communication training for researchers is happening around the country over the next few months. If your researchers need some guidance, mentoring or practice in media interviews, social media or pitching, check out the courses in Sydney, Perth, Adelaide, and Melbourne. Details below.

The Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science

$750,000 for science/innovation/teaching—nominations for the Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science now open

Have you ever nominated someone for a prize? Felt the buzz on anticipation when you hear they are a finalist? Shared the thrill as they win? Then watched the impact it has on their career?

It’s time to put forward your unrecognised leaders and your rising stars for a Prime Minister’s Prize for Science. And if you don’t have time to drive the nomination, pass this email on to someone who does.

And more prizes

Read on for details about the PM’s Prizes and other prizes open right now including the Eureka’s, L’Oréal, Tall Poppies and Academy awards.

Regards,

Niall

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Chicken for 100 million; instant results for every major medical test; and more Stories of Australian Science

Today:

Adding whole grains to chicken food boosts meat production efficiency and could improve global food security. It’s also likely to be good for backyard chickens, says Sydney scientist Amy Moss.

Amy’s research at The University of Sydney’s Poultry Research Foundation showed that replacing some of the ground grain in chickens’ feed with whole grain both improved their digestion and how efficiently they produced meat.

More below.

Amy is available for interview and is presenting her research at the 29th Australian Poultry Science Symposium, which starts in Sydney on Monday 5 February.

She’s the NSW winner of Fresh Science 2017—our national competition helping early-career researchers find, and then share, their stories of discovery.

We’ll be sharing the other winners’ stories via this bulletin in the coming weeks.

On Friday:

Nobel Laureate Steven Chu launches new institute at UTS – 9.30 am Friday 2 February 2018, UTS Great Hall (Building 1).

Instant results at home, at the surgery, and at the bedside for every major medical test. That’s the vision for a new research institute at UTS.

They plan to use quantum dots and other nanotech to make small, inexpensive diagnostics as simple to use as a pregnancy test and as ubiquitous as smartphones.

And with their technology the human eye can now watch a single molecule at work inside a living cell.

More below.

Want more Stories of Australian Science?

Using drones to protect swimmers (and sharks); tracking space junk; detecting toxic algal blooms in Tasmania, China, and France; using silk to repair damaged eardrums; stopping people going into floodwaters; and more.

Each year we pull together a publication with some of the highlights in Australian science from the year. We’ve just published all the stories from 2017 online (along with our previous collections) at www.scienceinpublic.com.au/stories.

You can filter by state, discipline and organisation, as well as search by keyword. If you’d like to speak with any of the scientists, feel free to contact them directly or we can help you make contact.

If you’d like a hard copy of the publication let me know and I can post some to you.

Do your colleagues like science stories too?

Please feel free to share this bulletin with your colleagues, or they can subscribe at: www.scienceinpublic.com.au/category/bulletins/media-bulletin

We send updates like this every couple of weeks with science news and talent from around Australia.

Kind regards,

Niall [continue reading…]

Professor Dali Kaafar to lead research at the Optus Macquarie University Cyber Security Hub

A focus on cyber security and privacy-preserving technologies.

Macquarie University is pleased to announce the appointment of Professor Dali Kaafar as Scientific Director of the Optus Macquarie University Cyber Security Hub.

Prof Kaafar will move from CSIRO Data61 on 3 October 2017.

“It is a pleasure to appoint Prof Kaafar who is regarded worldwide as one of the leaders in cyber security, in particular regarding data privacy issues,” says Dr Christophe Doche, Executive Director of the Cyber Security Hub.

“Privacy is a fascinating and important research area as it cuts across fields of information technology, business, law, criminology, psychology, and ethics,” he says. “This research topic is thus very well aligned with the philosophy of the Cyber Security Hub, which is to tackle cyber security issues with an interdisciplinary mindset. Privacy-preserving technologies are key to enable collaboration amongst organisations and to foster private and confidential data-sharing for wider and more powerful cyber security approaches.”

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Dali-Kaafar