Achievements and Announcements

Our Eureka finalists

25th birthday celebrations kick off with website launch

UniSA graduate becomes inaugural recipient of the Edith Dornwell internship

Researcher’s photo snaps up second place in national competition

One molecule may hold the key to treating lymphoedema

Webb Medal for Jim Jago

New creative partnership to strengthen West End’s cultural precinct

WHO welcomes psychosocial work safety research

Our Eureka finalists

Associate Professor David BeattieThe University has three finalists in Australia’s most comprehensive national science awards, the Australian Museum Eureka Prizes.

Associate Professor David Beattie (pictured right) is a finalist in the New South Wales Office of Environment and Heritage Eureka Prize for Environmental Research.

Assoc Prof Beattie’s research focuses on finding benign chemicals that can substitute for currently used harmful chemicals in mineral flotation, a common form of mineral processing in Australia.

(L-R) Frank Bruno, Steven Tay and Martin Belusko.(L-R) Frank Bruno, Steven Tay and Martin Belusko.

Associate Professor Frank Bruno, Dr Martin Belusko and Dr Steven Tay are finalists in the ANSTO Eureka Prize for Innovative Use of Technology.

Assoc Prof Bruno and his team have combined a number of innovations to provide an inexpensive alternative for storing electricity to be used for cooling. These innovations include concepts such as dynamic melting, ’coil-in-tank’ and a low-cost storage medium, all of which can be integrated with renewable energy sources.

Professor Tanya MonroDeputy Vice Chancellor: Research and Innovation, Professor Tanya Monro (pictured right) is a finalist as part of a team in the University of New South Wales Eureka Prize for Excellence in Interdisciplinary Scientific Research.

The team comprises: Prof Dayong Jin, University of Technology Sydney, Macquarie University and ARC Centre for Nanoscale Biophotonics; Prof Monro, UniSA, University of Adelaide and ARC Centre for Nanoscale Biophotonics; and Prof Bradley Walsh, Minomic International Ltd and Macquarie University.

Their research focuses on the diverse impact of Super Dots technologies – from non-invasive cancer diagnosis and rapid pathogen detection to invisible coding for authentication of pharmaceuticals, passports and banknotes – which is based on advances in diverse fields: material chemistry, optical physics, nanotechnology, biotechnology, computational modelling and instrumentation engineering.

The Australian Museum Eureka Prizes reward excellence in the fields of research and innovation, leadership, science communication, and journalism and school science.

Winners will be announced at the award dinner on August 26 at Sydney Town Hall.

25th birthday celebrations kick off with website launch

As the end of the year fast approaches, the University is beginning to gear up for a major milestone. On January 1, 2016, UniSA will celebrate a quarter of a century and there are a host of celebrations planned to commemorate the University’s 25th year.

To kick off the festivities, the official 25th birthday website was launched this month. The interactive online hub will be a space to explore the University’s unique journey and the people who have played a part in it.

The website is already beginning to share some of the stories of UniSA’s people through the Enterprising Faces section. Staff, students and alumni are encouraged to share their own story.

The website will be updated throughout the 25th birthday year and will also contain information about the many events planned for 2016.

To visit the new 25th birthday website, go to unisa.edu.au/25years.

UniSA graduate becomes inaugural recipient of the Edith Dornwell internship

Mina Asadi. Photograph courtesy Santos.Mina Asadi. Photograph courtesy Santos.

UniSA graduate Mina Asadi (pictured right) has become the inaugural recipient of the Edith Dornwell internship for women in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) fields, the State Government’s three month paid placement program that places three female graduates into jobs in STEM areas.

Asadi, a Master of Information Technology graduate, who came to Australia in 2011, will now work a three-month full-time internship at Santos.

“I am extremely honoured and grateful to receive the Edith Dornwell internship,” Asadi says.

“It gives me the opportunity to start my career path and inspires me to dream more, learn more and do more to reach my goals.”

UniSA Vice Chancellor, Professor David Lloyd congratulated Asadi on receiving the scholarship.

“We work hard to deliver graduates who not only have the technical expertise and knowledge to start their careers, but also some experiential learning in their degree program, because understanding how knowledge is applied is so important in education,” Prof Lloyd says.

The program is named after Edith Dornwell, who was the first woman in Australia to graduate with a science degree.

Researcher’s photo snaps up second place in national competition

Face by Dr Sophie Wiszniak.A colourful image of a mouse embryo (pictured right) has won UniSA’s Dr Sophie Wiszniak second place in a national science multimedia competition.

The competition was run by the Australian Science Media Centre (AusSMC) to launch their new Scimex Multimedia Hub, which offers a free collection of images, footage, audio and graphics, provided by the research community, for use by registered media professionals.

Dr Wiszniak’s image is of the head of a mouse embryo at 14 days of development, which is equivalent to eight weeks in a human embryo. The researcher, who is based at the Centre for Cancer Biology, says she was excited to learn she had taken out second place.

“As a scientist, it’s exciting to be recognised for something completely different to the normal measures of academic achievement,” Dr Wiszniak says.

“This type of opportunity also allows us to share our work with the wider community in a new way – through a visual medium.

“The bright colours in the photo were achieved by staining developing cells with specific antibodies so that we were able to track them as they developed into bone cells, muscle cells or blood vessels, for example.

“Images like this one allow us to track how bones and cartilage develop into the skull and jaw, giving us information on how these amazing processes can also go wrong – resulting in disfiguring facial deformities in the new born.”

For more information on AusSMC’s Scimex Multimedia Hub, go to scimex.org/.

One molecule may hold the key to treating lymphoedema

Researchers at the Centre for Cancer Biology (CCB) – an alliance between UniSA and SA Pathology – have unlocked another piece of the gene puzzle in relation to the debilitating condition of lymphoedema, which affects more than 140 million people worldwide.

Lymphoedema is an inherited condition but it can also be caused by serious damage or injury to the lymphatic system. Some modern treatments for cancer can cause the condition.

Associate Professor Natasha Harvey (right) with members of her CCB lab. Associate Professor Natasha Harvey (right) with members of her CCB lab.

In a study published last month in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, UniSA’s Associate Professor Natasha Harvey and her team focused on the role of GATA2, a molecule that binds to DNA to switch genes off or on, and one that is vital to building the vessels in the lymphatic system.

“Our initial work uncovered that mutations in the gene GATA2 are causative of Emberger Syndrome (ES), an illness in which patients have lymphoedema and a predisposition to developing myelodysplastic syndrome and or acute myeloid leukaemia,” Assoc Prof Harvey said.

“GATA2 had a very important role to play in lymphatic vessel development, so we wanted to explore that further.

“We have now identified that it is GATA2’s ability to bind to specific regions of DNA that ensures some genes are switched on or off in the important vessel valves of the lymphatic system.

“In some patients with lymphoedema GATA2 seems to have lost the ability to bind with the DNA to switch on the genes vital to valve development and function.

“The research posits a molecular explanation for the development of lymphoedema in patients with ES and it gives us clues as to why GATA2 is so important and what further research might deliver.

“Our ultimate goal is to really understand GATA2. That will be a vital step on the path to designing new therapeutic agents able to treat lymphoedema.”

Assoc Prof Harvey’s team collaborated closely with the CCB’s Professor Hamish Scott and team, as well as national and international laboratories, in the research.

For more information, see the related media release.

Webb Medal for Jim Jago

Associate Professor Jim Jago.UniSA palaeontologist and geologist Associate Professor Jim Jago (pictured right) is the 2015 recipient of the Bruce Webb Medal, awarded by the South Australian Division of the Geological Society of Australia.

Assoc Prof Jago’s long career at UniSA has been fuelled by a passion for the secrets in sediment – whether that is the Early Cambrian fly-like eyes of 500 million year old creatures uncovered in Emu Bay Kangaroo Island or the geological wonders of Antarctica.

The Webb Medal recognises his contribution to geological education in his teaching career at UniSA over more than 40 years and his outstanding contributions in research.

The award commemorates the life and professional contributions of the late Bruce Webb, a geologist of outstanding reputation and a former Chancellor of Adelaide University.

New creative partnership to strengthen West End’s cultural precinct

Man making a clay bowl in a potter's studio.The thriving creative arts scene in Adelaide’s West End has received another boost last month, thanks to the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between UniSA and the JamFactory.

Building on an already strong relationship between the two organisations, the new partnership will support broader networks to promote South Australian artists.

Launched at a special event at the Jeffrey Smart Building, the MOU opens up collaboration opportunities across a range of educational and other areas, as well as a sponsorship agreement to help support artists and designers from the local and international community, to further their careers in ceramics, glass, furniture and metal design.

UniSA Vice Chancellor, Professor David Lloyd said the partnership would help strengthen the creative industries in the western end of the city.

“JamFactory has long provided opportunities to talented creative artists through its Associate program, the work studios it has available in Adelaide and the Barossa, and its galleries and retail environments, and many of those artists have been UniSA graduates,” Prof Lloyd said.

“In this environment new graduates can gain experience of the business of art, develop creative ventures, and add entrepreneurship to their personal skills profile.

“They also have the chance to learn from other artists, drawn from around the world by JamFactory’s reputation for excellence.”

At the launch event, JamFactory Chief Executive Officer, Brian Parkes said the new partnership took the existing relationships between the JamFactory and UniSA to another level.

“One of the key things I think the JamFactory and the University can do together is to advocate for the West End to become a truly global cultural precinct,” he said.

For more information, watch the video below.

WHO welcomes psychosocial work safety research

Professor Maureen DollardUniSA’s Asia Pacific Centre for Work Health and Safety has just been named a World Health Organisation (WHO) Collaborating Centre for Occupational Health.

The prestigious alliance will ensure UniSA research focused on psychosocial health in workplaces feeds into one of the largest global public health information and action networks.

The Collaborating Centre will be led by Professor Maureen Dollard (pictured right) and key projects to be investigated over the next four years include the development of a set of tools for measuring psychosocial safety in small, low-resource workplaces; research into the factors leading to increasing suicides in South East Asia; and an exploration of psychosocial safety risks and practices in frontline healthcare workplaces. These projects fit into the WHO Global Action Plan.

Aligned with the United Nations, WHO operates globally to provide leadership on critical global health issues, working with international partners when action is needed. WHO also sets international standards and norms for public health and monitors and reports on global health status. It plays a key role in shaping the health research agenda and stimulating the generation, translation and dissemination of valuable knowledge.

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