News Article | April 6, 2016
Whether it’s Angus Young’s whiplash lead guitar, Brian Johnson’s screeching, or the thumping rhythm section, AC/DC has now proven they have some therapeutic power. “Thunderstruck” off the Australian band’s 1990 album The Razors Edge helps researchers coat cancer fighting drugs with a plasma polymer, according to a new paper published by the American Chemical Society. Basically, the hit song shakes it up. Playing the song through a loudspeaker caused porous silicon microparticles packed with a chemo drug camptothecin to vibrate in a vacuum. That causes more surface area to be overlaid with the plasma polymer, keeping the drug from dissipating – and extending its therapeutic window. Nico Voelcker, the lead author from the University of South Australia’s Future Industries Institute, told Laboratory Equipment in an email that it wasn’t just AC/DC – heavy metal and hard rock songs with a lot of distortion had a positive effect, as well. “Other songs worked. Hard rock and metal worked really well - probably more chaotic vibrations to get the particles bouncing,” Voelcker said. Easy listening did not work so well – and some artists were not even attempted. “Simon and Garfunkel we did not try,” the scientist added.
The ongoing research, which detects gunshot residue and then matches glass fragment trace elements and isotopes present with those in bullet cartridges, is already providing a previously unachievable level of detail about gun crimes – with more progress expected soon. Because it is focused on .22 ammunition, the most commonly used ammunition in gun crimes in Australia, it has massive implications for Australian gun crime cases. Flinders University's Professor Paul Kirkbride, a former Assistant Director at Forensic Science SA and Chief Scientist at the Australian Federal Police who is leading the research, said it will be a game changer for law enforcement agencies who have previously been unable to link some suspects with crime scenes. Professor Kirkbride has been working with PhD students, Nick Lucas and Kelsey Seyfang, and Flinders colleagues Associate Professor Rachel Popelka-Filcoff and Emeritus Professor Hilton Kobus on two separate projects; one to establish exactly how gunshot residues deposit on criminals, and the other to identify specific glass trace elements and isotopes and match them with ammunition. The Flinders team has been using some of the most advanced technology in Australia, including Time of Flight Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry, or ToF-SIMS, and a Sensitive High Resolution Ion Microprobe (SHRIMP). They have been collaborating with SA Police, Forensic Science SA, ChemCentre WA, Dr John Denman from the University of South Australia's Future Industries Institute, leading Australian technology developers Australian Scientific Instruments and Dr Charles Magee of Geoscience Australia, to take their analysis to a level of detail never seen before. "We've shown matching characteristics in the trace elements and isotopes found in glass fragments in the residue left on the shooter, in the wound and in the specific batch or brand of ammunition," said Professor Kirkbride. "This is like a fingerprint, which doesn't change before, during or after the gun is fired. "Eventually, we hope to provide law enforcement agencies with the ability to identify not only the brand of ammunition, but also the location of manufacture and points of distribution, which all contribute significantly towards identifying the purchaser." Explore further: New forensic method could help police solve crimes
New interdisciplinary research has revealed the frontline role tiny algae could play in the battle against cancer, through the innovative use of nanotechnology. The team of Professor Nico Voelcker at the University of South Australia and collaborators in Dresden, Germany, have genetically engineered diatom algae to become therapeutic nanoporous particles, which, when loaded with chemotherapeutic drugs, can be used to destroy cancer cells in the human body without harming healthy cells. "Targeted drug delivery using genetically engineered diatom biosilica” is being published in the latest edition of Nature Communications this week. “By genetically engineering diatom algae — tiny, unicellular, photosynthesizing algae with a skeleton made of nanoporous silica — we are able to produce an antibody-binding protein on the surface of their shells,” Voelcker says. “Anti-cancer chemotherapeutic drugs are often toxic to normal tissues. To minimize the off-target toxicity, the drugs can be hidden inside the antibody-coated nanoparticles. “The antibody binds only to molecules found on cancer cells, thus delivering the toxic drug specifically to the target cells.” As the Strand Leader in Biomaterials Engineering & Nanomedicine at the University of South Australia’s Future Industries Institute, Voelcker highlights how this type of research could influence future health care: “Although it is still early days, this novel drug delivery system based on a biotechnologically tailored, renewable material holds a lot of potential for the therapy of solid tumors including currently untreatable brain tumors.” Release Date: November 12, 2015 Source: University of South Australia
Reta N.,Future Industries Institute |
Michelmore A.,Future Industries Institute |
Michelmore A.,University of South Australia |
Saint C.,University of South Australia |
And 2 more authors.
Biosensors and Bioelectronics | Year: 2016
A proof of concept for the label-free detection of bacteriophage MS2, a model indicator of microbiological contamination, is validated in this work as a porous silicon (pSi) membrane-based electrochemical biosensor. PSi membranes were used to afford nanochannel architectures. The sensing mechanism was based on the nanochannel blockage caused by MS2 binding to immobilized capture antibodies. This blockage was quantified by measuring the oxidation current of the electroactive species reaching the electrode surface, by means of differential pulse voltammetry (DPV). The immunosensor showed a limit of detection of 6 pfu/mL in buffer, allowing the detection of MS2 to levels commonly found in real-world applications, and proved to be unaffected by matrix effects when analyzing MS2 in reservoir water. This platform enables the straightforward, direct and sensitive detection of a broad range of target analytes and constitutes a promising approach towards the development of portable electronic point of sample analysis devices. © 2016. Source
Professor Ajayan Vinu, whose research into nanoporous carbon nitride is creating excitement among environmental scientists troubled by the rapid progression to critical global warming, will lead the Future Industries Institute at the University of South Australia to solve this problem. Globally recognised for his work the emerging field of nanoporous materials, Prof Vinu's research into carbon nitrides has found that they have just the right properties to support the capture and conversion of CO2 molecules. "Their interesting properties—a semiconducting framework structure and ordered pores—make them exciting candidates for the capture and conversion of CO2 molecules into methanol which can then be used as a source of green energy with the help of sunlight and water," Prof Vinu said. "My goal is to develop this unique approach which has the potential to make a huge contribution to cleaning the environment and addressing one of our most significant environmental problems, the mitigation of atmospheric CO2. "This fascinating material is not only helping in reducing CO2 levels by developing an efficient, low-cost photo electrochemical semiconductor device, but also offers a clean fuel source from the conversion of absorbed CO2 molecules. "Through a strong multidisciplinary approach and deep collaboration with industries I am sure we can create tangible benefits… to translate the research into real products." Prof Vinu's discoveries have led to worldwide recognition. His work on this novel material and other materials with future-focussed applications has also earned him recognition by key societies in Japan, Germany, India, Iran and Australia. These include prestigious awards from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, Humboldt Foundation and the Australian Research Council. UniSA Deputy Vice Chancellor Research and Innovation, Prof Tanya Monro said the appointment of Prof Vinu would set the stage for exciting developments at the Future Industries Institute. "Prof Vinu is a fantastic complement to the Institute which is focussed on research that will seed future industries and also provide solutions to emerging challenges," she said. "This appointment adds capacity to our strength in materials and energy engineering with a clear pathway to partner engagement and impact."