Talking nanotech and biotech over a beer in QLD

Media releases


Can corals change their genes to adapt to climate change?
What causes seafood allergies?
Can DNA barcodes improve detection and treatment of tropical disease?
And, using sponges for new drugs, stem cell research and environmental monitoring.

At Science in the Club on Thursday night Townsville residents will have the chance to engage with local scientists and ask their questions over a beer.

6pm Thursday 27 June 2013  Picnic Bay Surf Club, Townsville

The aim of the night is to get people thinking and talking about new technologies in science.

Club-goers will find out about research in Far North Queensland and be able to talk to the scientists about their hopes and fears regarding biotechnology.

Scientists from James Cook University (JCU) and the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) will be on hand to tell us about their work and take questions from the audience.

Nicole Webster, a marine scientist from AIMS, will be talking about all the things we can learn from sponges: from stem cells to cancer treatments and environmental monitoring. She has spent her career looking at the relationship between sponges and microbes and how this delicate balance can be affected by changes in the marine environment – including human-induced changes.

Patrick Schaeffer, a molecular biologist from JCU, will tell us about his work developing DNA barcodes to improve detection and treatment of tropical diseases. A chemist by training Patrick has turned his attention to biological problems and he’s looking to develop new diagnostic tools and treatments for human diseases. He’s currently looking at improving diagnoses and cure diseases – including Dengue Fever.

Line Bay is a marine scientist and geneticist from AIMS who’s investigating the mechanisms by which corals can change their physiology and genes in response to climate change.  In the past she’s studied variation in the population genetic structure among central and marginal populations in coral reef fishes, mangroves and ants.

Andreas Lopata is an immunologist from JCU who’s helping us understand seafood and other allergies at a molecular level. Almost half of the world’s population have allergies to environmental or food allergens. Andreas and his team are investigating the molecular and immunological basis for these allergies to develop new diagnostics and treatments.

This is the last in a series of six Science in the Pub events presented in across Australia with other events in Newcastle, Dubbo, Port Lincoln, Hobart and Toowoomba. The events highlight new technologies (such as nanotech and biotech) and the idea is to tell local people about research happening in their own region and to give them a chance to meet and ask questions of the researchers.

The program is an initiative of the Australian Government’s Department of Industry and Innovation and is supported by ABC Radio National, James Cook University and the Australian Institute of Marine Science.

 Media Contacts:

Frankie Lee on 0419 448847 or

Toni Stevens on 0401763130 or