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Does the thought of moving house stress you out? You’re not alone – Dr Carly Kenkel, a post-doctoral scientist at the Australian Institute of Marine Science, has found that relocating—even a short distance—can also be stressful for corals.

Fresh Science is a national competition helping early-career researchers find, and then share, their stories of discovery.

The program takes up-and-coming researchers with no media experience and turns them into spokespeople for science, giving them a taste of life in the limelight, with a day of media training and a public event in their home state.

Fresh Science 2016 is being held in May—July in Victoria, Western Australia, South Australia, Queensland and NSW. (See dates below.)

You can also take a look at the work of our past Freshies.

Fresh Science 2016

22 February 2016

in 2016

Announcing the 2016 Freshies

New South Wales

  • Katelyn Edge, Office of Environment and Heritage – Clear as mud: contaminated sediments toxic to oysters
  • Kyle Ewart, University of Sydney (and Australian Museum) – Rapid and robust species identification of rhinoceros horn
  • Teagan Gale, UNSW – The step-parent trap: conflict in the mouse household
  • Sadia Mahboob, Macquarie University – Making a mark on early colorectal cancer detection
  • Lidia Matesic, Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation – Miniature plumbing fast-tracks radiopharmaceutical development
  • Minal Menezes, Metabolic Research Unit/Kids Research Institute (KRI), University of Sydney – Unraveling genetic disease mysteries: a path to personalised medicine
  • Alex Patton, UNSW – Conductive cardiac patches: mending broken hearts
  • Martin Ploschner, Macquarie University – Sculpturing light at the tip of a needle
  • Mark Polizzotto, UNSW – Immune system boost offers new HIV-related cancer hope
  • Jelena Rnjak-Kovacina, UNSW – Blood supply: the missing piece of the bioartificial organ puzzle
  • Babak Sarrafpour, University of Sydney – Potential role for bite forces in tooth eruption
  • Edward Waters, University of Notre Dame – Possums: furry friend or filthy foe?
  • Michael Widjaja, University of Technology Sydney – Employing cleavage as a distraction


  • Caitlin Brandenburg, The University of Queensland – The CommFit™ app, a pedometer for talking
  • Farhad Fatehi, CSIRO – mHealth (Mobile Health) for diabetes
  • Brian Forde, The University of Queensland – Resistance gene driving the evolution of pan-drug resistance
  • Daniel Harvie, Griffith University, Recover Injury Research Centre – Can pain sensitivity be learned?
  • Amy Jones, Eskitis Institute for Drug Discovery, Griffith University – New drug to fight neglected tropical disease
  • Joanna Kristoffersen, University of the Sunshine Coast – Rapid diagnosis of Hendra virus
  • Leila Matindoost, The University of Queensland – P35-Enhanced insect cell line increases the yield of baculovirus
  • Amanda Neilen, Griffith University – Defining what controls cow urine leaching into waterways
  • Sohinee Sarkar, Queensland University of Technology – Sticky fingers: E. coli superbug’s biofilm-forming weapon!
  • Eleanor Velasquez, Queensland University of Technology – Pumice rafting: a hitchhiker’s guide to marine biodiversity


  • Kathleen Beggs, Deakin University – Doing chemistry with carbon fibre in a microwave
  • George Chen, the University of Melbourne – When ‘WHEY’ no longer equals waste
  • Eric Pui Fung Chow, Alfred Health – HPV infection reduction in young men
  • Enrico Della Gaspera, RMIT University – Researchers unlock new materials using (powerful) camera flashes
  • Muhammad Awais Javed, Swinburne University of Technology – Do microorganisms eat metals?
  • Yugeesh Lankadeva, Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health – The hidden culprit behind kidney failure in sepsis
  • Han Lin, Swinburne University of Technology – Store energy in graphene thin film
  • Chun Hin Ng, Monash University – Plastics, Shining the Way for Hydrogen Power
  • Berkay Ozcelik, CSIRO – Invisible films and pumped-up cells cure blindness!
  • Jaclyn Pearson, Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity at the University of Melbourne – Never say die: sneaky, sweet talking bacteria
  • Samuel Skinner, the University of Melbourne – Pushing s#!t – improving wastewater filtration
  • Amy Winship, Hudson Institute of Medical Research – Novel fertility-preserving treatment for women with uterine cancer

Western Australia

  • Lucy Forman, Curtin University – Subtle secrets of the Solar System
  • Bonnie Furzer, University of Western Australia – Strength and hyper mobility in children
  • Tegan Grace, University of Notre Dame – Maternal hypertension and preeclampsia affect longitudinal motor development
  • Christine Groom, University of Western Australia – Community of Perth can help save Carnaby’s cockatoo
  • Diego Milani, University of Notre Dame – Neuroprotective properties of poly-arginine peptides
  • Charlotte Oskam, Murdoch University – The hidden bacterial world in Australian ticks
  • Alison Ritchie, Curtin University – Pollinators are vital for reconnecting Perth’s threatened woodlands
  • Favil Singh, Edith Cowan University – Benefits of exercise done before prostate cancer surgery
  • Erica Suosaari, Bush Heritage Australia – Stromatolite provinces of Hamelin Pool

South Australia

  • Mona Awadalla, Flinders University – Genetic cause of small eyes found by Adelaide scientists
  • Karen Best, South Australian Health & Medical Research Institute – Fishing for a way to prevent allergy
  • Eriita Jones, University of South Australia – A global map of surface materials on Mars
  • Anna Leonard, University of Adelaide – Take the pressure down: new targets for spinal trauma
  • Ramkrishna Nirola, University of South Australia – Green and Gold actually comes out more than that !
  • Stephanie Plummer, University of Adelaide – Natural molecule helps brain heal itself after trauma!
  • Malcolm Purdey, University of Adelaide – Sensors for Healthier Hearts and Babies
  • Stephanie Shepheard, Flinders University – Urine holds the key to motor neuron disease
  • Hannah Wardill, University of Adelaide – TLR4: the new pain in the gut for cancer patients
  • Sharon Zivkovic, University of South Australia – Addressing societies most wicked problems with complexity science

We’re judging the NSW nominations now and will announce the 2016 Fresh Scientists for that state soon.

Small Australian sharks have been exposed as bigger homebodies than previously thought, in a study that took an existing chemical tracking technique and made it work for Great Barrier Reef sharks.

Dr Sam Munroe in the field

Dr Sam Munroe working in the field, Cleveland Bay, Queensland

The study found that the travel history of the Australian sharpnose shark was written in their blood—with chemical ‘fin-prints’ showing they tended to stay within smaller areas than previously believed.

“Small-bodied sharks that are both predator and prey, such as the Australian sharpnose, may be particularly important links between food webs,” says lead researcher Dr Sam Munroe, who studied the sharks while at James Cook University in Townsville.

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Footy player, netballer and ballet dancer available for interview

Re-training the brain with painless exercises may be the key to stopping recurring tendon pain, according to Melbourne researchers.

Dr Ebonie Rio

Dr Ebonie Rio

AFL, basketball and netball players are the major sufferers, with tendon pain in the knee debilitating and long-lasting. The injury can sideline a player or cause them to give up the sport entirely.

“More than 50 per cent of people who stop sport because of tendon pain still suffer from that pain 15 years later,” says Dr Ebonie Rio of the Monash University Tendon Research group.

“Our simple exercise is revolutionising how we treat tendinopathy.”

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