2011

Genetics can be used to shape plants underground so they absorb water better

Recent discoveries by a University of Queensland agricultural scientist provide the basis for custom designing plant roots. Her discovery is already being used by plant breeders to develop drought-resistant sorghum crops. [click to continue…]

Two thymus glands fast-track immune defences

Baby wallaby photos available

Until now, it was a mystery why many marsupials have two thymuses—key organs in the immune system—instead of the one typical of other mammals. Now postdoctoral researcher Dr Emily Wong from the University of Sydney and her colleagues have found that the two organs are identical, which suggests why they are there. [click to continue…]

The human body incorporates multiple fail-safe mechanisms to protect it against the “friendly fire” from its immune system known as autoimmune disease, Charis Teh and colleagues at the John Curtin School of Medical Research (JCSMR) at the Australian National University have found.

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A new technology to stop falls before they happen could help the elderly stay in their own homes longer.

Researchers at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) have developed a simple way of predicting the likelihood of an elderly person falling in the near future, allowing action to reduce the chances of it happening. [click to continue…]

Cell death genes essential for cancer therapy identified.


New research has uncovered why certain cancers don’t respond to conventional chemotherapy, highlighting the need to match treatments to cancers better. [click to continue…]


HIV can hide out in the brain, protected from the immune system and antiviral drugs, Dr Lachlan Gray and his colleagues at Monash University and the Burnet Institute have found. [click to continue…]

Printing solar cells

29 June 2011

in 2011

Australian researchers have invented nanotech solar cells that are thin, flexible and use 1/100th the materials of conventional solar cells.

Printable, flexible solar cells that could dramatically decrease the cost of renewable energy have been developed by PhD student Brandon MacDonald in collaboration with his colleagues from CSIRO’s Future Manufacturing Flagship and the University of Melbourne’s Bio21 Institute. [click to continue…]

Soil has the answer to burning climate questions


Decreasing the frequency of wild fires in northern Australia would lead to an increase in the amount of carbon stored in the soil, significantly lowering greenhouse gas emissions, according to CSIRO ecologist, Dr Anna Richards. [click to continue…]

In flour it reduces heart disease risk say Melbourne and WA researchers


You can lower your risk of heart disease significantly, just by using flour containing 40 per cent lupin beans in the place of conventional wholemeal flour, according to research by Victoria University dietitian Dr Regina Belski and colleagues from the University of Western Australia. [click to continue…]

Samurai of the sea

9 June 2011

in 2011

SawfishWhat sawfish really do with their saw

Scientists thought that sawfish used their saw to probe the sea bottom for food.  But a Cairns researcher has found that these large (5 metres or more) and endangered fish actually use the saw to locate and dismember free-swimming fish – using a sixth sense that detects electric fields. She’s in Melbourne this week as a winner of Fresh Science. [click to continue…]


Melbourne scientists have developed an injectable material that encourages nerves in the brain and spinal cord to regrow. Their work could lead to new ways of treating nerve-based injuries or conditions such as Parkinson’s disease and Huntington’s disease. [click to continue…]


By travelling backwards it’s pushing knowledge forwards
All planets move around their stars in the same direction as the star spins—at least that’s what we thought.

But now Australian National University astronomer Dr Daniel Bayliss and his colleagues have found that some planets break the mould. [click to continue…]


A minor modification to your car could reduce fuel consumption by over seven per cent.

The Deakin University invention uses waste heat to reduce friction by warming the engine oil. A prototype has been built and tested and the inventors are now talking to the car manufacturers and developing an aftermarket conversion kit. [click to continue…]

Melbourne researchers have developed smart bandages that change colour to reveal the state of the wound beneath.

Their invention could reduce the $500 million cost of chronic wound care in Australia. [click to continue…]