Health and medical highlights from Science Week

National Science Week

Fear and Facebook, future medicine, and the Broncos vs ballerinas fitness challenge

  • listingimage-300x160 Broncos vs ballerinas in a fitness challenge – Brisbane, QLD
  • Health lessons from the Neanderthals – Adelaide (SA)
  • Risky business or worried well? Science, fear and Facebook – Melbourne, VIC
  • What has a 50-year population health study found? – Busselton, WA
  • Will we be happier in 2084, thanks to future medicine? – Camperdown, NSW
  • Diabetes, heart disease, obesity: a looming healthcare crisis? – Westmead, NSW
  • Mobile health checks for Territorians – multiple locations across NT
  • Superbugs, the science of scent, and pharmaceutical science on the big screen – Parkville, VIC
  • Seeing clearly: what’s the latest from eye and vision science? – Nedlands, WA

… and there’s more on each below.

Find more National Science Week events online at 

Broncos vs ballerinas fitness challenge – Brisbane, QLD

Who is the fittest according to sports science?

fittest This event is a fitness challenge between a range of sporting/performing stars from local teams including Brisbane Broncos, Brisbane Heat, Queensland Reds, Brisbane Roar and Queensland Ballet. Who is the fittest according to sports science?

Six challenges, designed by local students, will pit the different disciplines against each other. Sports scientists will monitor fitness levels and determine the winner of each challenge.

Seven challenges, inspired by school children from across the state, will pit the different sporting disciplines against each other. Sports scientists will determine the winners of each challenge.

Mon 15 Aug Event details

Enquiries: Kylie Kraus, or 07 3215 3769

Health lessons from the Neanderthals – Adelaide (SA)

The human body contains more bacterial cells than human ones. So what does it mean to be human?

Slide1-300x225 Using a mixture of ancient DNA and modern medicine, Dr Laura Weyrich from the Australian Centre for Ancient DNA will discuss how many of our daily activities are actually performed and governed by the trillions of microorganisms that live within us, and how information from ancient bacteria impacts on medical research today.

Tues 16 Aug Event details

Enquiries: Kristy Tucker, or 08 8207 7575

Diabetes, heart disease, obesity: a looming healthcare crisis? – Westmead, NSW

The risk of developing illness like diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease and liver disease all increase with obesity and lack of exercise. These chronic, non-communicable diseases are the most common causes of death in Australia, and the costs to our health system for treatment and care are enormous.

listingimage-300x160 How do these illnesses interact? What are the factors associated with increased risk of chronic illness, and what can we do to reduce our risk? And what can scientists, health care providers and our community as a whole do to reduce the risk, and the cost, for the benefit of everyone?

For Sydney Science Festival 2016 we bring together a panel of leading researchers to discuss the latest science of this healthcare crisis.

Tues 16 Aug Event details

Enquiries: Sydney Ideas, or 02 9351 2943

Will we be happier in 2084, thanks to future medicine? – Camperdown, NSW

Albert is born on 5 June 2084. At birth, a prick of blood is drawn for DNA sequencing of his genome and epigenome. The Wellness App diagnoses Albert’s long-term disease risks. After fecal matching, he is given an optimal colonisation from a donor.

2084-300x115 For his first two years Albert is provided with careful environmental cues matching his DNA profile, ensuring optimal neuronal synapses in the brain for a happy and healthy life. The MedChip is implanted at six months to monitor sleep, food, activity and language. Data is uploaded to the Wellness App providing constant feedback about Albert’s best life options.

If we better understand how metabolic diseases like type 2 diabetes take hold, can we prevent them from occuring in the first place? Join Professor David James from the Charles Perkins Centre at Sydney University to find out how metabolic systems biology could revolutionise our health by offering precision medicine.

Wed 17 Aug Event details

Enquiries: University of Sydney, or 02 9351 5397

Risky business or worried well? The science of why and what we fear – Melbourne, VIC

Why are we more scared of flying than driving, despite the road toll? Why do we drink wine while questioning soy milk? And why does every health story seem to feature a food that might either kill you or cure you?

ScienceWeek_Fear_300x560px_R-012-300x160 Join us with host Tanya Ha and our panel of experts in health and environmental risk, communication, and media as we navigate some of the common difficulties, and help sort the facts from the fiction to find the information we need to make informed choices.

Featuring panellists:

  • Dr Victor Kabay – health risk advisor, EPA Victoria
  • Professor Linda Brennan – School of Media and Communication, RMIT University
  • Dr Libby Rumpff – School of BioSciences, University of Melbourne
  • Andrew Masterson – author and journalist

Tuesday 16 August Event details


Superbugs, the science of scent, and pharmaceutical science on the big screen – Parkville, VIC

Head behind the scenes of the world’s fourth top pharmacy and pharmacology university at the Monash Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences open day.

Activities include:

  • a Drug Discovery Pipeline Tour that tracks the development of new medicines from initial modelling, though creation and testing to the dispensing of the final product in our virtual pharmacy;
  • tours of our labs and technology-enabled teaching environments;
  • kids zone with a roving Mad Scientist, Science of Scent Quiz, Atomic Bingo and face painting;
  • sample lecture explaining key concepts in pharmaceutical science using examples from popular movies;
  • presentations on careers in pharmacy and pharmaceutical sciences, and on the future of the pharmaceuticals industry – Victoria’s most valuable high-tech export;
  • a showcase detailing some of the world-leading research that the faculty is undertaking in areas including cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, maternal mortality, superbugs and treating pain and inflammation.

…plus food trucks, live entertainment, free coffee cart and more.

Sun 21 Aug Event details

Enquiries: John Palmer,

Seeing Eye to Eye – Nedlands, WA

Turn your eyes to some of the top eye doctors and researchers at the Lions Eye Institute, and join in their discussion some of the most important aspects of eye sight and vision problems. In this Q&A format they will answer any questions you might have about blinding eye diseases and their current and future treatments. Some of the doctors and their area of expertise include:

  • Prof David Mackey – hereditary and genetic eye diseases
  • Prof Bill Morgan – glaucoma
  • A/Prof Mei-Ling Tay-Kearney – ocular infections and inflammation
  • Dr Fred Chen – retinal diseases

And in a second session, hear directly from the diverse group of early career and student scientists about the latest research happening at Lions Eye Institute and their firsthand experience of what it’s like to be a scientist working in eye research.

It’s a great opportunity for high school and University students thinking about a career in science to meet and talk to scientists about their work.

Wed 17 Aug Event details

Enquiries: Seyhan Yazar, or 08 9381 0707

What have we learnt from one of the world’s longest population health studies? – Busselton (WA)

The Busselton Health Study commenced in 1966 and is internationally recognised as one of the longest running population health research programs of its kind. Over 20,000 men, women and children have taken part in the surveys over the last 50 years. The database is used to progress a better understanding and management of disease and illness.

The Busselton Population Medical Research Institute’s research activities are diverse and encompass a wide range of health conditions and measures. Our areas of study include sleep disorders, respiratory diseases, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, genetics and others.

Celebrate this remarkable milestone and hear how this long-running research program continues to advance population health and medical research.

Thurs 18 Aug Event details

Enquiries: Michael Hunter, or 08 9754 0548, 0449 081 183

Mobile health checks for Territorians – Marrara, Batchelor, Mataranka, Katherine and Bathurst Island, NT

HealthLAB events will be held throughout the Territory during National Science Week. HealthLAB participants will undertake personal health measures and learn about healthy lifestyle choices.

Through a series of hands-on activities, participants will learn how today’s lifestyle choices impact on immediate and long-term personal health.

Tues 9 Aug – Fri 26 Aug Multiple dates and locations


About National Science Week

First held in 1997, National Science Week has become one of Australia’s largest festivals. Last year saw a staggering 1.3 million people participate in over 1,500 events and activities.

In 2016, National Science Week events will be held right throughout Australia—from astronomy at Uluru to a science film night in the Antarctic—with everything from science festivals, music and comedy shows, expert panel discussions, interactive hands-on displays, open days and online activities.

The festival is proudly supported by the Australian Government; partners CSIRO, the Australian Science Teachers Association and the ABC; and sponsors Cosmos, Discovery Science, NewScientist and Popular Science.

National Science Week 2016 will run from 13 – 21 August. Event details can be found at


National Science Week general media enquiries:

Tanya Ha – or call 0404 083 863