[ASC-media] Fresh Science media alert - Tuesday

Niall Byrne niall at scienceinpublic.com.au
Mon Aug 7 16:14:15 CEST 2006

*	Fighting septic shock
*	More to droplets than meets the eye
*	The life and death of diamonds

Today's Fresh Science 

Press Conference 10 am, Melbourne Museum, Discovery Centre


Fighting septic shock

A potential new treatment for septic shock and other inflammatory
diseases has been discovered by Monash Institute researchers. 

There are 18 million cases of septic shock each year, causing 500,000
deaths. But there is no effective treatment to this overloading of the
body's immune response.

"Our treatment in mice demonstrated a beneficial effect and has been
patented. Now we need a commercial partner to further develop the
concept," says Kristian Jones, a post-doctoral fellow at the Monash
Institute of Medical Research. 

"Interestingly, Monash researchers including David de Kretser AC (now
Governor of Victoria), discovered follistatin in 1990. But it was
thought that it was just a reproductive protein."

"We've now discovered that follistatin also plays an important role in
controlling inflammation," says Kristian. 


More to droplets than meets the eye: Salads, shampoos and mining to
benefit from theoretical research into droplets

How much effort does it take to understand the behaviour of oil
droplets? A multi-disciplinary team of
six researchers from the University of Melbourne has spent the best part
of two years, and used $300,000 of equipment to crack the problem. 

They have developed a technique to measure the tiny forces between
droplets in liquids. But the result could be the improvement of the
design and production of everyday products worth hundreds of millions of

For the first time, the researchers can measure the attraction between
oil droplets in water-and this has application for products ranging from
milk and ice-cream to shampoos, drugs, and even mineral processing.

The life and death of diamonds

Could Australia rise to the top of the diamond pipe again? Macquarie
University researcher Craig O'Neill believes his research could open new
diamond fields across Australia. 

It turns out that diamonds are not forever after all. And that may be a
good thing for Australia's $100-million a year diamond industry.

By determining how and where diamonds form, disappear, and re-form,
geoscientists from Sydney's Macquarie University can now indicate the
best places to look for them. And in Australia that means a broad arc of
country stretching from the Kimberleys to southwest Queensland.

Kristian is one of sixteen Fresh Scientists participating in a media
boot camp at Melbourne Museum. All have been selected from across
Australia for their research results and have learnt over a few days how
to explain their work in a way that is understandable, accessible and

One of the Fresh Scientists will win a study tour of the United Kingdom
courtesy of British Council Australia and will present their work at the
Royal Institution in London. 

Full media releases online at www.freshscience.org/embargo.htm 

Media contacts: Sarah Brooker on 0413 332 489 and Niall Byrne on 0417
131 977 or niall at freshscience.org 

Fresh Science, now in its ninth year aims to publicise the work of
early-career scientists. It is a national competition supported by the
Federal government's Department of Education, Science and Training, the
Victorian state government's public awareness program, British Council
Australia, New Scientist, Quantum Communications Victoria and The
Australian. Fresh Science 2006 is hosted by Museum Victoria.


Niall Byrne

Science in Public

Ph +61 3 5253 1391
work email: niall at scienceinpublic.com
private/personal email: niallprivate at scienceinpublic.com
PO Box 199, Drysdale Vic Australia


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