Deadly slime, essential meds and pandemic-proofing Australia

Media releases, National Science Week

Great HEALTH stories up for grabs now around Australia.

  • What’s working in Australia’s COVID response? —Canberra
  • Fit or fat? How your postcode affects your health—Sydney
  • Why can’t some people get the essential medicines they need?—Sydney
  • Can we pandemic-proof the future? Ask Ian Frazer—Brisbane
  • The dangers of staying awake: speak to a sleep scientist—Perth
  • Sunlight: are you getting the right amount? —Perth
  • Can you eat for healthier planet?—talent in Sydney and Melbourne
  • Discover how superbugs get super-villain superpowers—Adelaide

These are just a few of the health-related events and activities happening across Australia during National Science Week (August 15 to 23).

If you’re after more great ideas for highly visual stories, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at www.scienceinpublic.com.au/science-week, and on Twitter at @SciWKMedia.

Scientists, and event organisers are available for interview throughout National Science Week. Read on for contact details for each event, or call:

▪ Tanya Ha: tanya@scienceinpublic.com.au or 0404 083 863
▪ Niall Byrne: niall@scienceinpublic.com.au or 0417 131 977 or 03 9398 1416.

Individual event details and media contacts

Science saving lives—Canberra

Discover the stories behind Australia’s successful COVID-19 response, told by researchers on the front line. Hear from a panel of experts about how maths and science helps save lives, guides strategy, and keeps us safe.

‘Science Saving Lives’ is a livestream featuring Science & Technology Australia CEO Misha Schubert in conversation with:

  • Professor Allen Cheng, Director of the Infection Prevention and Healthcare Epidemiology unit at Alfred Health;
  • Dr Deb Eagles, Deputy Director, Australian Centre for Disease Preparedness at the CSIRO in Geelong;
  • Dr Kudzai Kanhutu, Superstar of STEM, infectious diseases physician, telehealth clinical lead and Deputy Medical Information Officer at the Royal Melbourne Hospital;
  • Professor James McCaw, Professor of Mathematical Biology at the University of Melbourne; and
  • Professor Paul Young, Professor of Virology and Head of School (School of Chemistry & Molecular Biosciences) at the University of Queensland who heads the team working on one of the leading contenders for a COVID-19 vaccine.

The discussion follows immediately after the official launch of National Science Week, kicking off on YouTube from 11am.

Friday 14 August. Event details

Misha Schubert is available for interview.

The science of healthy cities—Sydney, NSW

Does your suburb make you fit or fat? Share your ideas for healthier cities and track how the COVID-19 restrictions have impacted on health and wellbeing at The Science of Healthy Cities event.

Learn the role urban spaces play in your health and wellbeing, how science is tackling key urban challenges including climate change, transport and equitable access; and how you can get involved to help scientists to tackle these issues, through videos and online discussion with experts.

Presented by Yvonne Lair, University of Sydney lecturer in Prevention and Health Promotion.

Friday 14 August – Sunday 23 August Event details

Yvonne is available for interviews.

Essential medicines and their accessibility—Sydney, NSW

Use your hacking skills in an eight hour online dig to uncover ways of improving access to essential medicines. 

Essential medicines include drugs such as Amoxicillin, Paracetamol and Lorazepam. In this live-streamed talk and panel discussion find out about their history, and learn about their  chemical structures, manufacture and pricing.

Work together with other citizen scientists to improve their availability and access.

Hosted by Alice Motion, chemistry professor at the University of Sydney.

Tuesday 18 August. Event details

Alice Motion is available for interviews.

Pandemic proofing the future—Brisbane, QLD

How can we reduce the risk and severity of COVID-19 and other infections? Hear an expert pannel discuss plans to pandemic-proof the future. Featuring:

  • Tegan Taylor, ABC health and science reporter 
  • Professor Ian Frazer, clinical immunologist University of Queensland
  • Dr Kirsty Short, Australian Research Fellow, School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences, University of Queensland
  • Professor Paul Young, Head of School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences, University of Queensland

Wednesday 19 August. Event details

The science of sleep— Booragoon, WA

What causes bad slep and how can you fix it?  Ask Dr Jen Walsh—a physiologist at the West Australian Sleep Disorders Research Institute and Centre for Sleep Science at UWA. 

Get up to speed on common sleep disorders, some novel treatments and simple tactics to optimise your shut-eye.

Walsh’s research interests include investigating the causes of, and treatments for, sleep disorders including obstructive sleep apnoea and insomnia.

Friday 28 August Event details

Event type: in person

Sun health with Dr Shelley Gorman — Clarkson

Learn about the role of sunlight exposure in good health from Dr Shelley Gorman, a leading sun health researcher from the Telethon Kids Institute.

Shelley is an expert on how sunlight affects our wellbeing, from inflammation to immunity. In this Wanneroo Libraries event she will discuss how it could be used to treat obesity and type-2 diabetes, and how Vitamin D may have a role in stopping some chronic and autoimmune conditions.

The library will also be giving away a small number of copies of Chasing the Sun: The New Science of Sunlight and How it Shapes Our Bodies and Minds, by Linda Geddes.

Wednesday 19 August. Event details

Event type: in person

Eating for the planet—Kensington, NSW

Is it possible to feed 10 billion people a healthy diet without destroying the planet? Join public health advocate and CEO of VicHealth Sandro Demaio, Alexandra Jones from The George Institute for Global Health, clinical dietitian Jennifer Cohen and director of That Sugar Film Damon Gameau as they discuss how we can all eat better and contribute to a healthier world.

Disocver the Planetary Health Diet – a way of eating created by scientists to sustain the health needs of humans with what our planet can afford.

Tuesday 18 August. Event details

Damon, Sandro, Alexandra and Jennifer are available for interviews

Deadly Slime: a choose-your-own-adventure animated experience

Dive into the slimy battlefront of the war with super-villain superbugs.

Deadly Slime is an online choose-your-own-adventure animation experience, exploring biofilms, the protective coatings bacteria cover themselves with as a defence against our powerful immune systems. Thus armoured, they can quickly evolve into dangerous superbugs. Even with antibiotics, it is difficult to destroy these fortified slime castles.

Navigate your way through a dramatic story inspired by real-life events. Will you make the right decisions and defeat the infection?

Win or lose, you can meet Adelaide antibiotic-resistant bacteria researcher Dr Katharina Richter and surgeon Dr Markus Trochsler for an online Q&A panel event on 26 August.

Monday 17 – Wednesday 26 August. Event details

About National Science Week

National Science Week is one of Australia’s largest festivals. Last year 1.5 million people participated in more than 2050 events around the country, in metropolitan, regional and remote locations.

In 2020, the festival is almost entirely virtual, online, DIY and well-spaced. This means most events, large and small, is open to anyone, no matter where they live.

National Science Week 2020 will run from 15 to 23 August. Media kit at www.scienceinpublic.com.au, public event listings at www.scienceweek.net.au.