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  • richardmitnick 12:55 pm on May 17, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Dr Yu Suk Choi, , , UWA   

    From UWA: “Researchers uncover new way of growing stem cells” 

    UWA

    University of Western Australia

    16 May 2017
    David Stacey
    UWA Media and Public Relations Manager
    (+61 8) 6488 3229
    (+61 4) 32 637 716

    1
    Dr Yu Suk Choi

    Research led by The University of Western Australia has discovered a new, simple and less expensive way of growing human stem cells.

    Using hydrogel, a gel with a gradient that can be used to mimic the stiffness of human body tissues, the researchers were able to generate positive outcomes for the growth of stem cells.

    Dr Yu Suk Choi from UWA’s School of Human Sciences at The University of Western Australia led the international collaboration which also included researchers from the University of California, San Diego (USA) and Max Planck Institute for Medical Research (Germany).

    “Stem cells work by using the ‘stiffness’ of surrounding tissue as a gauge to identify the way they need to behave in a particular environment in the human body,” Dr Choi said.

    “By using hydrogel to mimic the stiffness of tissue, we found we could ‘trick’ the stem cells into behaving in particular ways to help them grow and encourage the cells to behave in positive, regenerative ways.

    “Hydrogel is simple and inexpensive to produce and could have a wide range of applications in biology labs that don’t always have the infrastructure available to use other methods to mimic the stiffness of tissue to aid stem cell growth.”

    Dr Choi said the research may have important uses in combating serious illnesses affecting the human population.

    “Many degenerative diseases result in changes to tissue stiffness which alters the behavior of cells,” he said.

    “But by controlling tissue stiffness we can revert cell behavior back to normal, and change their behavior at the disease site into more regenerative behaviour. This will help us us to treat diseases such as cancer that are currently very difficult to treat.”

    The next step for the researchers will be to use hydrogel with patient originated cells to further understand the effect of tissue stiffness on cell behaviour.

    The research, published in the PNAS journal, has been made possible through funding from the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) and Heart Research Australia.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    uwa-campus

    The University of Western Australia (UWA) is a research-intensive university in Perth, Australia that was established by an act of the Western Australian Parliament in February 1911, and began teaching students for the first time in 1913. It is the oldest university in the state of Western Australia. It is colloquially known as a “sandstone university”. It is also a member of the Group of Eight.

    UWA was established under and is governed by the University of Western Australia Act 1911.[2] The Act provides for control and management by the university’s Senate, and gives it the authority, amongst other things, to make statutes, regulations and by-laws, details of which are contained in the university Calendar.[3]

    UWA is highly ranked internationally in various publications: the 2015 QS World University Rankings[4] placed UWA at 98th internationally, and in August 2016 the Academic Ranking of World Universities from Shanghai Jiao Tong University placed the university at 96th in the world.[5] To date, the university has produced 100 Rhodes Scholars;[6] one Nobel Prize laureate[7] and one Australian Prime Minister.[8]

    In 2010 UWA joined the Matariki Network of Universities as the youngest member, the only one established during the 20th century.

     
  • richardmitnick 9:05 pm on November 25, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ‘Barbarian’ asteroid, , UWA   

    From UWA: “UWA Zadko Telescope helps reconstruct ‘Barbarian’ asteroids” 

    UWA

    University of Western Australia

    24 November 2016
    Media references

    Associate Professor David Coward (UWA School of Physics) (+61 4) 23 981 240

    Jess Reid (UWA Media and PR Advisor) (+61 8) 6488 6876

    The University of Western Australia’s Zadko Telescope has been used by an international team to reconstruct the shape of a rare ‘Barbarian’ asteroid (space rock).

    uwa-gingin-observatoyzadko-1-meter-telescope
    uwa-gingin-observatoyzadko-1-meter-telescope-interior
    UWA Gingin Observatoy Zadko 1 meter telescope

    Named after the first asteroid of this type discovered, Barbara (234), Barbarians are a key to understanding how the solar system first formed. Barbarians are extremely rare and ancient, and were present before the Earth was created. Only 13 Barbarians have ever been discovered.

    UWA School of Physics Zadko Director Associate Professor David Coward said in the creation of the solar system the space rocks were the foundation for planet formation, such as the Earth, and ultimately the start of life.

    “Like a time machine, being able to re-construct their shape and properties helps us go back in time to better understand our beginnings,” he said.

    The shape of asteroids is important because it is like a fossil record of the environment when they first formed. This environment was extremely violent, with collisions between space rocks common place. Earth’s Moon, covered in impact craters, is evidence of this violent past.

    Associate Professor Coward said Barbarians were usually too far away to be observed by telescopes.

    “To get around this, 16 telescopes involved in the study were used to detect tiny changes in light intensity to reconstruct the shape of the Barbarian from the light pattern using powerful computers,” he said.

    “The Zadko telescope was critical in determining the shape of the asteroid because it provided critical data only available from Western Australia.”

    The Zadko telescope located near Gingin in Western Australia is part of a global network of telescopes linked to a NASA satellite ground station. Its unique geographical location allows it to explore a huge section of uncharted and previously unmonitored parts of space.

    The global research led by scientists from France and Belgium, includes sixteen research institutes across the globe.

    The Zadko Telescope, operated by the UWA School of Physics, was made possible by a philanthropic donation to UWA by James Zadko.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    uwa-campus

    The University of Western Australia (UWA) is a research-intensive university in Perth, Australia that was established by an act of the Western Australian Parliament in February 1911, and began teaching students for the first time in 1913. It is the oldest university in the state of Western Australia. It is colloquially known as a “sandstone university”. It is also a member of the Group of Eight.

    UWA was established under and is governed by the University of Western Australia Act 1911.[2] The Act provides for control and management by the university’s Senate, and gives it the authority, amongst other things, to make statutes, regulations and by-laws, details of which are contained in the university Calendar.[3]

    UWA is highly ranked internationally in various publications: the 2015 QS World University Rankings[4] placed UWA at 98th internationally, and in August 2016 the Academic Ranking of World Universities from Shanghai Jiao Tong University placed the university at 96th in the world.[5] To date, the university has produced 100 Rhodes Scholars;[6] one Nobel Prize laureate[7] and one Australian Prime Minister.[8]

    In 2010 UWA joined the Matariki Network of Universities as the youngest member, the only one established during the 20th century.

     
  • richardmitnick 9:08 am on August 31, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Motor neuron disease, Sarah Rea, UWA,   

    From UWA: Women in STEM – “Searching for a cure” Sarah Rea 

    UWA

    University of Western Australia

    1
    Sarah Rea, NHMRC-ARC Dementia Research Fellow

    Meeting a boy with cerebral palsy set molecular biologist Sarah Rea on her career path to finding a cure for motor neuron disease.

    “I left high school without finishing Year 11, so I needed to do my high school education as a mature age student,” Sarah says.

    “I initially wanted to study speech pathology to help kids like him, however I realised speech pathology was not likely to help children like him overly much. I chose to study Molecular Biology and Biomedical Science instead, because I became fascinated by genetics and wanted to learn more so I could help try to cure diseases.”

    Sarah now focuses on how specific genetic changes cause motor neuron disease (MND) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD).

    “I became aware of an overlap between MND and FTD genetic factors with those of another disease that my work focuses on – Paget’s disease of bone,” Sarah says.

    While completing her PhD with UWA, Sarah was mentored and encouraged through a UWA Collaboration Award and was given the opportunity to travel and present her research in various forums, all the while having two children.

    “I think the hardest thing for me was finding a life balance where I wasn’t able to be a perfect mother or a perfect researcher,” Sarah says.

    “Being a scientist and having a high-stress career has allowed for a huge amount of personal growth. You never know what you are capable of until you push yourself to the limits.

    “My aim is to find a cure for motor neuron disease. I am realistic that this is perhaps an ‘impossible’ goal, but I believe it is one worth pursuing.”

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

     
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