A treatment for every child

Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences (AAHMS)

“Children are not little adults, their cancers are different”

Sydney’s Professor David Ziegler plans to be able to improve treatment for every child with cancer.

He’s working in the clinic to trial treatments for the fatal brain stem tumour DIPG, Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma.

And he’s driving the development of the national Zero Childhood Cancer Program (ZERO) – to give every child with cancer the best chance of an effective treatment.

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First responders in our skin and gut revealed

Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences (AAHMS)

Offering new ways to treat cancer and autoimmune diseases

A decade ago, University of Melbourne’s Professor Laura Mackay discovered the “first responders” of our immune system, a unique population of T cells based in our skin, gut and other barrier tissues.

Now she’s working to super-charge their protective power to clear infections and fight cancer, and to calm them down to avoid skin autoimmune disease.

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Brain cells living on the edge

Cortical Labs

DishBrain reveals how human neurons work together to process information

Living model of brain could give insights into the mechanisms of how we understand and experience the world

A paper published in Nature Communications shows that when neurons are given information  about the changing world around them (task-related sensory input) it changes how they behave, putting them on edge so that tiny inputs can then set off ‘avalanches’ of brain activity, supporting a theory known as the critical brain hypothesis.

The researchers, from Cortical Labs and The University of Melbourne, used DishBrain – a collection of 800,000 human neural cells learning to play Pong.

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Will the world’s mangroves, marshes and coral survive warm, rising seas this time?

Macquarie University, Media releases

Research published today in Nature warns that rising seas will devastate coastal habitats, using evidence from the last Ice Age.

17,000 years ago you could walk from Germany to England, from Russia to America, from mainland Australia to Tasmania. Sea levels were about 120 metres lower than today. But, as the last Ice Age ended, the oceans rose quickly by one metre a century on average.

Vast swathes of coastal habitat were wiped out. Recovery took thousands of years.

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Patrolling honey bees expose spread of antimicrobial resistance

Macquarie University, Media releases

Insects prove their strength as environmental biomonitors

Bees could become biomonitors, checking their neighbourhoods to determine how far antimicrobial resistance (AMR) has spread, according to research by Macquarie University scientists.

At least 700,000 people die each year due to drug-resistant diseases, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), which estimates that 10 million people will die due to AMR by 2050. But we have few tools to keep track of its spread in the environment.

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Magpie swoops top spot in poll to find Australia’s Favourite Animal Sound

ABC projects, National Science Week

Did you ‘call it’? Or do the results ruffle your feathers?

The magpie’s warbling has won over the nation, taking out number one in ABC’s search for Australia’s Favourite animal sound. The call of the magpie was a clear winner, attracting over a staggering 36% of the votes in the final round.

“The magpie’s warble is part of almost every soundscape in Australia,” says Dr Dominique Potvin, a behavioural ecologist and senior lecturer in Animal Ecology at the University of the Sunshine Coast. “Its song has regional dialects, developed through learning from older generations. So it’s an ancient song, but it keeps evolving. Magpies come together to sing these melodies in a duet or chorus by family groups, letting others know the territory they occupy,” says Dominique.

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Birds soar high in poll to identify Australia’s favourite animal sound.

ABC projects, Media releases, National Science Week

Banjo frog hops into the top 10. Cicada holds tight.

Is your favourite still singing? Or did it ‘croak’?

Vote now for your favourite from the remaining animal calls.

Over 90,000 voters have made their voices heard in the search for Australia’s Favourite Animal Sound.

Birds perch high in the top 10, with voters expressing their affection for the songs of the magpie, kookaburra, lyrebird, whipbird, butcherbird, black cockatoo, boobook and the fairy wren.

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Deep sea diving, beer science, a quantum road trip, and Australians urge business to back science

Media releases, National Science Week

This year’s National Science Week runs from 12 to 20 August, with thousands of events.

National launch with Minister at Parliament House: Wednesday 9 August.

Scientists, experts and event organisers are available for interview leading up to and throughout National Science Week. Here are some highlights:

  • National: 92% of Australians want business to take action to defend science – 3M State of Science Index 2023 results reveal what we think of science.
  • Canberra: What gets you excited about the future of Aussie science? The official launch of National Science Week at Parliament House.
  • Canberra:First Nations food and medicine in the National Museum’s garden.
  • Sydney: An Aussie astronaut, art therapy, deep sea science, space junk and Sky Country.
  • Hobart: Taste the science of experimental beers with three independent breweries and two thirsty scientists.
  • Melbourne: DARK MATTERS exhibition – can art make the invisible universe visible?
  • Brisbane: A science fair for sick kids in The Children’s Hospital.
  • Adelaide: Plants in space and the Botanic Gardens, Ngarrindjeri weaving, Indigital augmented reality, and more at a First Nations science festival.
  • Perth: Finding aliens, love, energy, innovation, and the bottom of the ocean at The Anti-conference.
  • Darwin: Paint with a UV torch at ‘Sea of Light’, a light installation at MAGNT.
  • National: A band of physicists go on a road trip to explain quantum and dark matter.

More on these highlights below.

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Soap made using ingredients from Country. Tested using Merck technology.

Media releases, Merck

Merck travelled to the Northern Territory with the DeadlyScience team to pilot the first DeadlyLabs kit. It’s a project led by Indigenous Elders in the Robinson River region to share their knowledge, their ideas, and their care for the community.

Images available for media use

“It was an amazing experience for staff, students, and community. Everyone is still talking about it,” says Chris Errington from Robinson River School.

That’s the feedback from local learners and teachers in rural Northern Territory who road-tested a new science kit in May, which explores the chemistry of soap-making and hygiene with activities and experiments based in Indigenous science.

DeadlyLabs – a new project from DeadlyScience, supported by Merck, a leading science and technology company, is designed to merge cultural knowledge and learning on Country with hands-on experiments in the classroom.

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Dark matter art; from space to the Deep; AI and First Nations; animal sounds and bits; a Poo Palace

Media releases, National Science Week

The national festival that reaches nearly 2 million people through thousands of events is back from 12 to 20 August.

Entertainment, business, environment, food and wine, Indigenous media, the arts, health, technology, farming and agriculture, lifestyle, education, LGBTQI+, and disability media…National Science Week offers stories for every round.

Here are a few early picks:

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