[ASC-media] Science in Public bulletin - Eurekas, Fresh Science and more

Niall Byrne niall at scienceinpublic.com.au
Sat Aug 19 11:41:41 CEST 2006

Dear ASC media members, 

I'm writing to let you know:

- the winners of all 20 Eureka science prizes will be announced Tuesday evening, 22 August on a 9 pm embargo. Details are now available on embargo

- voting closes for the Eureka's People's choice this Sunday

- more Fresh Science - we issued five more stories this week - listed below. And we have five next week to finish. Two of our Fresh Scientists appear in this week's New Scientist.

- in the meantime we held a media conference in Prague to announce the winner of the Gruber Cosmology Prize for 2006. Apologies, it's not an Australian. If you're interested, details are online at www.scienceinpublic.com

Take a look at the details below and for more information please give Sarah Brooker a call on 0413 332 489, or myself on 0417 131 977, or email niall at scienceinpublic.com. 

Kind regards


Here are the details on the Eurekas

20 Australian Museum Eureka Prizes each, with $10,000 prize money will be announced at a gala dinner in Sydney on Tuesday August 22. The national prizes recognise cutting-edge science research and innovation, education and journalism.

EMBARGOED media releases about the various winners are now available for media at a password-secure website.

Please note the strict media embargo of 9pm on Tuesday August 22. 

The Eureka Prize winners media releases are available at:


However you will need a password to access the information under embargo.

For access please contact Sue Nelson on 02 9907 8241 or 0403 343 275, qtcom at optusnet.com.au



Voting in the Australian Museum Eureka Prizes People's Choice Awards has been gathering pace as the August 20 deadline approaches this weekend.

Australians are being urged to back their favourite scientist in the online poll at www.amonline.net.au/eureka. Scientists from five states are competing for the popular prize and all voters go into a draw to have their DNA sequenced and framed by scientists at the Australian Museum.

The 2006 People's Choice finalists are:

-  Brisbane parasitologist, Alex Loukas (Qld Institute of Medical Research), who has uncovered an Achilles heel that could be used to create a vaccine against the hookworms that affect a billion people in the world's poorest countries.

-  Sydney chemists, Martina Stenzel and Christopher Barner-Kowollik (UNSW), who have developed a "Fedex" for drugs - small carrier molecules that will deliver drugs to the site of infection rather than just spreading them randomly throughout the body. 

-  Greg Keighery, Stuart Halse and Norm McKenzie from Perth (Conservation and Land Management), who discovered 750 new spider species and six new plants in an area of WA that has more plant species than the United Kingdom. 
  Grahame Webb from Darwin (Wildlife Management International), who has changed our attitude to the saltwater crocodile. In the 1970s, the croc was endangered. Grahame campaigned for a new approach to conservation, showing that sustainable harvesting could be good for crocodiles and for the Northern Territory. 

-  Mark Shackleton and Francois Vaillant from Melbourne (Walter and Eliza Hall Institute), who have discovered the stem cells that are the basis of breasts. Their work opens the way for new drugs and treatments for breast cancer, as well as the possibility of growing complex organs from stem cells. 

Please email or call Sue Nelson for interviews.

Sue Nelson, 02 9907 8241 or 0403 343 275, qtcom at optusnet.com.au



A young Melbourne researcher has discovered that a compound which attracts white blood cells to areas of inflammation also plays an important role in attracting human embryos to the womb, supporting the establishment of a healthy pregnancy.

Approximately 1 in 6 Australian couples will experience infertility. A large part of this may be due to faulty coordination and guidance of the embryo to the mother's womb. Natalie Hannan, of Prince Henry's Institute, has found that the compound fractalkine is also produced by the uterus. To ensure a healthy pregnancy, the lining of the uterus must produce factors that attract the embryo to implant and begin to grow. Fractalkine may help the placenta to form and tap into the mother's blood supply, by guiding the cells from which it develops to their right destination. 

For the full release go to www.freshscience.org 



Research by a Perth forensic scientist is helping to stem the flood of forgeries entering the international antiques market. 14 August 2006

A Perth forensic scientist is employing lasers to help trace pottery back to the kiln site of its production, thus exposing ceramic forgeries, a multi-million dollar criminal business.

Emma Bartle from the Centre for Forensic Science at the University of Western Australia has developed a scientific method to authenticate porcelain, based on a technique known as elemental fingerprinting originally used to establish where gold came from. It employs lasers to vaporise a minute amount of material, which can then be analysed for the elements it contains, and how much of each is present. The process causes no visual damage to the ceramics.

For the full release go to www.freshscience.org 



A combination of supplements readily available in health food stores can double the rate at which an exercise program builds muscle and sheds body fat.

It's all a matter of timing, according to Melbourne researchers.

The researchers found that people who consumed the supplements immediately before exercising with weights gained much more muscle and strength than those who took the same supplements at other times of the day. The supplements used were whey protein, isolated from milk, and creatine monohydrate, extracted from plants.

"This study is the first to demonstrate that timing the consumption of these supplements promotes better results from exercise," said Dr Paul Cribb the lead researcher, from Victoria University. "This is a simple strategy that most adults could incorporate into their exercise programs."

For the full release go to www.freshscience.org 



(before NT and SA collided two billion years ago)

TWO BILLION years ago, the Australia we know today existed only in pieces. Northern, western and central Australia all belonged to different continents. 

New research in Adelaide is showing how these bits may have come together. And the information could be significant to the discovery of new mineral deposits.

Kate Selway, a PhD student in the University of Adelaide's School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, has found evidence for a collision between northern and central Australia which happened 1.64 billion years ago. 

"If you looked south from Alice Springs before that time, you would have seen an ocean," Selway says. "The huge forces involved in this collision produced mountain ranges and actually helped create the crust of central Australia."

For the full release go to www.freshscience.org 



RESEARCHERS in Sydney have discovered that an enzyme only found in immune cells plays a key role in promoting rheumatoid arthritis. The work raises the possibility of new and better treatments for the painful and debilitating condition, which affects about one in a thousand Australians of all ages.

Dr Kate Jeffrey and her colleagues at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research found that the enzyme known as PAC-1 is responsible for directing the activities of the immune cells which cause rheumatoid arthritis. Their work was published recently in the respected scientific journal, Nature Immunology.

"PAC-1 helps immune cells to respond to the body's signals for help against infection in three critical ways," Jeffrey says. "It assists the immune cells to survive, to migrate to where the emergency is, and to release potent inflammatory compounds at the site. And PAC-1 is only one member of a whole family of enzymes that can instruct immune cells in this way. So our studies may lead to better therapies for many other autoimmune and inflammatory diseases."

For the full release go to www.freshscience.org 

For all stories feel free to contact me - 03 5253 1391 or niall at scienceinpublic.com

Kind regards,



Niall Byrne
Science in Public
Ph +61 3 5253 1391
email niall at scienceinpublic.com
PO Box 199, Drysdale Vic Australia


Niall Byrne
Science in Public
Ph +61 3 5253 1391
niall at scienceinpublic.com
OR niallprivate at scienceinpublic.com
PO Box 199, Drysdale Vic Australia

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