Wollongong, Australia

University of Wollongong

www.uow.edu.au
Wollongong, Australia

The University of Wollongong , abbreviated as UOW, is a public research university located in the coastal city of Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia, approximately 80 kilometres south of Sydney. As of 2014, the University has over 37,000 students enrolled, included over 11,600 international students from 134 countries, an alumni base of over 112,000, and over 2,000 academic related staff. The University has been ranked 9th in Excellence in Research for Australia Australian University Rankings in 2012, among the top 1% for research quality in the world, and among the top 2% of universities in the world. The University ranked 276th in the 2013 QS World University Rankings, 276-300th in the 2013-2014 Times Higher Education World University Rankings and 301-400th in the 2013 Academic Ranking of World Universities.In 1951 a division of the New South Wales University of Technology was established at Wollongong for the conduct of diploma courses. In 1961 the Wollongong University College of the University of New South Wales was constituted and the College was officially opened in 1962. In 1975 the University of Wollongong was established as an independent institution. Since its establishment, the University has conferred more than 100,000 degrees, diplomas and certificates. Its students, originally predominantly from the local Illawarra region, are now from over 140 countries, with international students accounting for more than 30 percent of total.The University of Wollongong has fundamentally developed into a multi-campus institution, three of which are in Illawarra , one in Sydney and two overseas campus in Dubai, United Arab Emirates and Sejong City, South Korea. The Wollongong Campus, the University's Main Campus, is on the original site five kilometres north-west of the city centre, and covers an area of 82.4 hectares with 94 permanent buildings including six student residences. In addition, there are University Education Centres in Bega, Batemans Bay, Moss Vale and Loftus as well as the Sydney Business School in the City of Sydney. The University also offers courses equally based on the Wollongong Campus in collaboration with partner institutions in a number of offshore locations including in Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong.The University of Wollongong marked the University's 60th Founding Anniversary in the Year of 2011. Wikipedia.

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News Article | April 17, 2017
Site: cen.acs.org

A flexible battery made of gauzy silk films could power electronics and then melt away after a preset number of days (ACS Energy Lett. 2017, DOI: 10.1021/acsenergylett.7b00012). The biodegradable battery produces a high enough voltage to power temporary medical implants designed to harmlessly dissolve in the body in a few weeks once their work is done. Scientists have been making rapid progress on medical sensors and devices that could transmit images, stimulate wounds to heal, or deliver drugs for a short while before degrading. Most prototypes of these devices have been powered from an external source so they can only be placed skin-deep. To work deeper in the body, the devices will need an on-board power source. Dissolvable batteries are an ideal solution. Researchers have made such batteries before using natural, biocompatible materials for the electrodes and electrolytes. One team made electrodes out of the skin pigment melanin, while others have used thin foils of magnesium or iron. The electrolytes have typically been solutions of various salts in water, but liquid electrolytes can leak out and degrade battery electrodes, and they make batteries relatively bulky. In a fresh spin on degradable batteries, Caiyun Wang and Gordon G. Wallace of the University of Wollongong and colleagues made electrodes and a solid electrolyte out of silk. The solid electrolyte enables thinner, flatter, and more flexible and robust batteries, says Wang. Silk is ideal for medical electronics because it can be made into thin films, is biocompatible, and is sturdy enough to work in electronic circuitry. The researchers made the thin films that comprise the new battery by first dissolving a fibrous silk protein called fibroin, derived from silkworm cocoons, in water. They spread the solution in a mold and peeled off ultrathin films of silk after the water evaporated. To make the electrolyte, they infused a piece of the silk membrane with the ionic liquid choline nitrate, a molten salt that is excellent at conducting ions, by adding it to the silk fibroin solution. To make electrodes, they deposited a biocompatible magnesium alloy on a piece of the silk film to form an anode and deposited gold on another piece to form a cathode. They assembled the battery by sandwiching the electrolyte between the two electrode films and fusing together the uncoated edges with a sticky, amorphous silk film. The postage-stamp-sized, 170-µm-thick device generated a voltage of 0.87 V and had a power density of 8.7 µW/cm2, which would be enough to power an implantable medical sensor. Placed in a saline buffer solution, the battery showed a stable voltage for about an hour, after which the anode started breaking down. When the researchers added an extra silk film on top of the anode, the voltage remained stable for nearly two hours. Previously reported biodegradable batteries have lasted for about 15 minutes. The device nearly completely decomposed after 45 days in the solution, leaving behind inert gold nanoparticles, which would be cleared by the body. By adjusting the properties of the silk layers encapsulating the battery, Wallace says they could tailor how long it predictably generates power and how quickly it dissolves. The silk-ionic liquid electrolyte improves the performance of magnesium-based decomposable batteries, says Christopher J. Bettinger of Carnegie Mellon University. “These batteries can maintain a pretty high voltage for a relatively long amount of time,” he says. For medical applications it would be important to consider the toxicity of the ionic liquids, he says, but this “could also be a compostable battery for other uses.”


News Article | April 17, 2017
Site: cen.acs.org

By mimicking the way some fishes eat, a new membrane easily separates and collects spilled oil on water without getting clogged (ACS Nano 2017, DOI: 10.1021/acsnano.6b07918). It could be an efficient and cost-effective way to clean up large oil spills, its developers say. Disaster responders typically clean up large oil spills by containing the slick with floating booms and using skimmers to remove it. Many researchers are developing separation membranes that could potentially be faster and cheaper. These are designed to repel water or attract oil, which helps them separate the two liquids. But the membranes’ pores tend to get clogged with oil, which makes them ineffective after a while. Dongliang Tian of Beihang University, Ziqi Sun of the University of Wollongong, and their colleagues designed a new filter inspired by the throat structures of filter-feeding fish. To filter out tiny prey suspended in water, these fish have bony arches in their throats that get narrower and more closely spaced deeper into the throat. Water flows into the throat, gradually seeping out from the spaces between the arches and out through the gills, while food particles collect at the back. To mimic that process, the researchers made a 3-cm-long stainless steel membrane containing five mesh sections with gradually decreasing pore size—from 150 nm to 30 nm—from one end to the other. They coated the membrane with nanosheets of cobalt oxide which intertwine with each other, forming tiny pockets that lock in water, making the membrane water-attracting, or hydrophilic. Then they tilted the membrane so that the large pores were at the bottom and pushed it with a controller attached to the top, emulating how a ship might push the angled membrane, bottom edge first, through the water. When the driving system moves the membrane through an oil-water mixture, the liquids stream up the membrane. Water permeates the membrane and forms a layer along its hydrophilic surface, preventing oil from clogging the pores. The large pores at the bottom, which encounter the highest water flux, allow water to flow through faster, Tian explains, while the water-logged small pores at the top repel oil, allowing it to easily flow over the top of the membrane into a container. Though oil may pass through the large pores on the first pass, the system makes multiple sweeps through a contaminated area, capturing more oil with each pass. The researchers tested the system in a 100-cm-long, 10-cm-wide sink filled with a mixture of water and one of a variety of oils: crude oil, diesel fuel, corn oil, or hydraulic fluid. They were able to continually collect oil at a calculated rate of 50 liters per minute for each meter length of the membrane, pushing the membrane along the sink more than 2,000 times over 100 minutes. The efficiency drops by less than 3% after those uses, and Tian says cleaning the membrane would restore its efficiency. By comparison, when the team tested a conventional setup by pouring an oil-water mixture through a 90-µm pore size membrane, the membrane became clogged and unusable after 50 uses. This novel filtration technique could enable “one-step, fast, continuous, and high-throughput spilled oil collection,” says Lin Feng of Tsinghua University. The technique has promise for use in large-scale oil spills, especially on lakes and quiet seas, she says. Waves could be a challenge since the water could spill over the top of the membrane into the oil-collection vessel and reduce the membrane’s efficiency.


News Article | April 26, 2017
Site: www.newscientist.com

An extraordinary chapter has just been added to the story of the First Americans. Finds at a site in California suggest that the New World might have first been reached at least 130,000 years ago – more than 100,000 years earlier than conventionally thought. If the evidence stacks up, the earliest people to reach the Americas may have been Neanderthals or Denisovans rather than modern humans. Researchers may have to come to terms with the fact that they have barely scratched the surface of the North American archaeological record. “We often hear statements in the media that a new study changes everything we knew,” says Chris Stringer at the Natural History Museum in London. “If this result stands up to scrutiny, it does indeed change everything we thought we knew about the earliest human occupation of the Americas.” The evidence comes from a coastal site in San Diego County, California. In the early 1990s, routine highway excavations exposed fossil bones belonging to a mastodon, an extinct relative of the elephant. Researchers moved in to examine the site, and they soon decided that this was no ordinary mastodon fossil. Many of the bones and teeth were fragmented, some with “spiral” fractures that may be produced when humans break open fresh bone. Alongside the broken bones and teeth, the researchers found stone cobbles that had evidence of impact marks on their surfaces. Two were particularly large – about 15 centimetres in diameter – and each was surrounded by small bone and teeth fragments. Taken together, the evidence points to one scenario, says team member Steven Holen at the Center for American Paleolithic Research in South Dakota. A group of early humans stumbled upon a fresh mastodon carcass and then removed bones and broke them open using stones as simple hammers – with the two larger cobbles serving as makeshift anvils. “The distribution of fractured pieces of bone right around the anvils is fairly conclusive evidence,” he says. The mastodon bones would have been a good source of nutritious bone marrow. Alternatively, the early humans might have broken the bones to use as raw material – bone can be worked and sharpened to create tools. None of this would be particularly controversial except for one final detail. Holen’s colleague – James Paces at the United States Geological Survey in Colorado – has used uranium-thorium isotope dating to age the mastodon fossils. The results suggest the remains are 131,000 years old, give or take 10,000 years. The current consensus view is that humans first reached the Americas much more recently, perhaps just 15,000 years ago. “We believe we have a robust and defensible age for early humans being in America more than 100,000 years earlier than people had imagined,” says Paces. Exactly who those people were is impossible to say as there were no human fossils at the Californian site. “But there are a range of possibilities,” says team member Richard Fullagar at the University of Wollongong in Australia. “They could have been Neanderthals or Denisovans.” Both of these groups were probably present in Siberia more than 130,000 years ago. Holen says sea levels were low and a land bridge existed between Siberia and North America just before 130,000 years ago. Either group could in theory have wandered across. Alternatively, it might have been modern humans – Homo sapiens – that made it to the New World 130,000 years ago, says Fullagar. Recent archaeological evidence suggests our species was in China 120,000 years ago, which is far earlier than once thought. Perhaps modern humans were in East Asia even earlier than the Chinese fossils suggest, and moved into the Americas from there. However, given that genetic studies strongly suggest that indigenous populations in North America trace their routes to much later episodes of colonisation, it would seem likely that whoever arrived there 130,000 years ago didn’t survive very long. “The claims are extraordinary and the potential implications staggering,” says Jon Erlandson at the University of Oregon. Dennis Jenkins, also at the University of Oregon, simply describes the work as “mind-boggling”. But both researchers – and many others – express extreme caution about the conclusions. “Broken bones and stones alone do not make a credible archaeological site in my view,” says Erlandson. He singles out the supposed stone hammers and anvils as a particular weak point in the analysis. By 130,000 years ago, hominins elsewhere in the world were making elaborate stone tools. Nothing this complicated was found near the mastodon. “I would expect to find more sophisticated tools and behaviour,” says María Martinón-Torres at University College London, who works on the early archaeological record of China. Simple stone tools of a similar age have been found in only one place: Homo floresiensis, the “hobbit”, left a record of relatively simple stone tools on the Indonesian island of Flores. But even these tools show a level of complexity not seen at the mastodon site, says Adam Brumm at Griffith University in Queensland, Australia, who works on the Flores archaeological record. “If these are indeed humanly modified artefacts they make the typical hobbit tool look like an iPhone,” he says. Brumm’s general reaction to the new study is scepticism. “Most archaeologists will simply never believe it – the dates are too old, the ‘tools’ too untool-like and the implications too mind-boggling.” Fullagar isn’t disheartened by such scepticism, though. “I’ve spent about four years looking at these artefacts and the team has been looking at the evidence for about 24 years,” he says. “It’s understandable that it might be difficult to get your head around the nature of this evidence in a couple of days.” And the reaction to the new evidence isn’t universally sceptical. Gerrit van den Bergh was already aware of the research because he works at the University of Wollongong alongside Fullagar. “I think the team has very strong arguments and good evidence,” he says. Stringer is also prepared to be open-minded. “The paper has come through thorough peer review,” he says. “[But] many of us will want to see supporting evidence of this ancient occupation from other sites before we abandon the conventional model.”


News Article | April 20, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

A new study on UHT milk is helping scientists to better understand Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and type 2 diabetes, opening the door to improved treatments for these age-related diseases. About 500 million people worldwide suffer from these diseases, which cause millions of deaths each year. Co-lead researcher, ANU Professor John Carver, said that two unrelated proteins aggregate in UHT milk over a period of months to form clusters called amyloid fibrils, which cause the milk to transform from a liquid into a gel. He said the same type of protein clusters are found in plaque deposits in cases of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. "Parkinson's, dementia and type 2 diabetes are big problems for the ageing population in Australia and many other countries around the world," said Professor Carver from the ANU Research School of Chemistry. "Our interest in milk proteins led to a discovery of the reason for this gelling phenomenon occurring in aged UHT milk." "The research does not suggest UHT milk can cause these age-related diseases." Professor Carver said milk proteins changed structurally when heated briefly to around 140 degrees to produce UHT milk, causing the gelling phenomenon with long-term storage. He said normal pasteurised milk did not form amyloid fibrils. ANU worked with CSIRO, University of Wollongong and international researchers on the study, which is published in the journal Small. Watch a video interview with Professor John Carver about the study.


News Article | April 17, 2017
Site: www.newscientist.com

It’s a drone of the deep. A soft-bodied robot that swims like a manta ray has been engineered to spy on underwater creatures without disturbing them. The mostly transparent robot has no motor or other rigid machinery and is much faster than other soft robotic fish. The goal is to use the robot to explore underwater areas, says Tiefeng Li at Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, China. It could be used to investigate a submerged ship or plane wreck, or survey coral reefs. “The soft body will make it easy for the robot to sneak through reefs without damaging them,” he says. Robots are increasingly being constructed from soft, stretchy materials to make them more resilient and more compatible with living beings. However, powering them without traditional hard-edged circuit boards and motors is a challenge. To get around using a motor in the manta-ray-inspired robot, Li and his colleagues made artificial fin muscles from a flexible polymer called dielectric elastomer. A silicone-encased lithium battery supplies a cyclic voltage that squeezes and releases that material, causing the muscles to bend up and down. This flaps the ray’s fins, made of a thin silicone film, so that it moves through the water. The rest of the remotely controlled robot – which weighs 90 grams and has a wing span of 22 centimetres – is made of a silicone body and tail for steering. All components are transparent, except for the small battery pack and two electromagnets that help to manoeuvre the tail. At top speed, the robot can swim 6 centimetres per second. This beats the previous record for soft, untethered underwater robots by 3 centimetres per second, but is still significantly slower than similar-sized fish. The researchers showed that the electronic ray can tolerate temperatures between 0.4°C and 74°C, swim for 3 hours with a single battery charge, and carry a small video camera to monitor its surroundings. The flexibility and transparent disguise of the robot ray should allow it to monitor underwater environments without disturbing or damaging them, says Li. “Ocean creatures will feel more comfortable with it than hard, non-transparent robots,” he says. The underwater electronics do not pose an electrocution risk to ocean life because the robot’s circuitry is set up so the surrounding water functions as the grounding electrode – the end that dissipates electrical energy. “This is a very good idea,” says Gursel Alici at the University of Wollongong in Australia. Although other types of robotic swimmers have been made using soft parts – including ones that mimic octopuses, fish and jellyfish – the manta ray is a unique take on this concept, says Alici. It remains to be seen whether it will have practical applications, he says.


News Article | April 17, 2017
Site: www.newscientist.com

A new 4D-printing technique that creates complex structures in minutes could be used to make temperature-activated cardiac stents, drug capsules and flat-pack furniture. 4D printing creates 3D objects that change their shape over time in response to stimuli such as heat, moisture or light. It is useful for making structures that can adapt to their environment, but is often a laborious process. The most common materials used in 4D printing, shape-memory polymers, normally require at least five steps to make them into adaptable objects. Hydrogels are simpler to use, but too soft to fashion into rigid structures. Zhen Ding at the Singapore University of Technology and Design and his colleagues have now developed a way to rapidly print rigid 4D objects with a commercial 3D printer and a heat source. They created a variety of objects, including a delicate flower that closes its petals, a flat star shape that morphs into a dome, and lattices that contract and elongate. The structures were made from flat 3D-printed strips that were then heated to make them curve. The strips, which can be printed in less than a minute, are made from layers of a stiff shape-memory polymer paired with a rubbery elastomer – a polymer with elastic properties. When heated to 45°C, the shape-memory polymer component relaxes and allows the elastomer to bend. As the strip cools, the shape-memory polymer stiffens again and locks the object into its new, curved configuration. One limitation to the technique is that it permanently fixes the structure in place after one heating cycle, says Geoff Spinks at the University of Wollongong in Australia. “This rules out applications that require reversible shape changes, like artificial muscles for robots and prosthetics,” he says. But the method could be used to make complex structures that don’t require such shape-shifting, says Spinks. For example, compact cardiac stents – tubes for placing in blood vessels to keep them open – could open up in an artery in response to body temperature. By fine-tuning the temperature transition point, medicine capsules could also be designed to bend and break open when body temperature rises with infection. And flat-pack furniture could assemble itself when heated. Moreover, the technology could easily be used by people with other ideas, says Spinks. “No new chemistries, materials or equipment are involved, so it’s ready for anyone to start using immediately.”


SUNNY BANK, AUSTRALIA, May 10, 2017-- Walter Martin Benson has been included in Marquis Who's Who. As in all Marquis Who's Who biographical volumes, individuals profiled are selected on the basis of current reference value. Factors such as position, noteworthy accomplishments, visibility, and prominence in a field are all taken into account during the selection process.Recognized for more than five and a half decades of invaluable contributions to his field, Dr. Benson parlays his knowledge into his roles as a part-time teacher and consultant. He prepared for his endeavors by earning a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering from the University of Sydney. After graduation, he started as a professional engineer for John Lysaght, where he stayed until 1978. That year, he transitioned to become a lecturer and head of the department at Lae Tech College, where he worked until 1984, and also earned a Master of Engineering from the University of Wollongong. One of his more recent positions was that of senior lecturer at Papua New Guinea University of Technology, where he remained from 1985 until 1999. Towards the end of his time in that role, he earned a Ph.D. in flammability limits and related phenomena from his employer. His thesis was examined by experts in the field from the Universities of Greenwich and Wisconsin.A shining example of skill in his field, Dr. Benson has been recognized many times for his work in the industry. Notably, he was honored with inclusion in six editions of Who's Who in Science and Engineering and 10 editions of Who's Who in the World. During his spare time, he enjoys participating in activities with his church, as well as gardening and playing chess, piano and violin. In the coming years, Dr. Benson intends to experience the continued growth and success of his career as a mechanical engineering educator and researcher.About Marquis Who's Who :Since 1899, when A. N. Marquis printed the First Edition of Who's Who in America , Marquis Who's Who has chronicled the lives of the most accomplished individuals and innovators from every significant field of endeavor, including politics, business, medicine, law, education, art, religion and entertainment. Today, Who's Who in America remains an essential biographical source for thousands of researchers, journalists, librarians and executive search firms around the world. Marquis now publishes many Who's Who titles, including Who's Who in America , Who's Who in the World , Who's Who in American Law , Who's Who in Medicine and Healthcare , Who's Who in Science and Engineering , and Who's Who in Asia . Marquis publications may be visited at the official Marquis Who's Who website at www.marquiswhoswho.com


Bradstock R.A.,University of Wollongong
Global Ecology and Biogeography | Year: 2010

Aim: Patterns of fire regimes across Australia exhibit biogeographic variation in response to four processes. Variations in area burned and fire frequency result from differences in the rates of 'switching' of biomass growth, availability to burn, fire weather and ignition. Therefore differing processes limit fire (i.e. the lowest rate of switching) in differing ecosystems. Current and future trends in fire frequency were explored on this basis. Location: Case studies of forests (cool temperate to tropical) and woodlands (temperate to arid) were examined. These represent a broad range of Australian biomes and current fire regimes. Methods: Information on the four processes was applied to each case study and the potential minimum length of interfire interval was predicted and compared to current trends. The potential effects of global change on the processes were then assessed and future trends in fire regimes were predicted. Results: Variations in fire regimes are primarily related to fluctuations in available moisture and dominance by either woody or herbaceous plant cover. Fire in woodland communities (dry climates) is limited by growth of herbaceous fuels (biomass), whereas in forests (wet climates) limitation is by fuel moisture (availability to burn) and fire weather. Increasing dryness in woodland communities will decrease potential fire frequency, while the opposite applies in forests. In the tropics, both forms of limitation are weak due to the annual wet/dry climate. Future change may therefore be constrained. Main conclusions: Increasing dryness may diminish fire activity over much of Australia (dominance of dry woodlands), though increases may occur in temperate forests. Elevated CO2 effects may confound or reinforce these trends. The prognosis for the future fire regime in Australia is therefore uncertain. © 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.


Spinks G.M.,University of Wollongong
Angewandte Chemie - International Edition | Year: 2012

Pump it: Materials that show intriguing shape changes induced by simple light exposure are emerging as candidates for artificial muscles. Recent examples are highlighted to illustrate the various molecular conformational changes induced by irradiation. Assemblies of these photoresponsive molecules are now being prepared that show functions that resemble real muscle. Copyright © 2012 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.


Chen J.,University of Wollongong
Obesity Reviews | Year: 2011

Summary: Obesity is increasing worldwide and reaches to a large proportion of the population in developed countries. Thus, obesity-associated cancer has become a major health problem. Multiple cancer risk factors in obesity have been identified including insulin/insulin-like growth factor axis, adipokines and cytokines; and multiple intracellular signal pathways have been studied. However, the role of each signal pathway in obesity-associated cancer is controversial. In this review, the recent studies on signal pathways in obesity-associated cancer are summarized and a unified explanation is provided. Multiple risk factors could initially activate phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K/Akt), mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) and signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) pathways. With increased severity of obesity, mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR), which is down-stream of both PI3K/Akt and MAPK, is highly activated. Activated mTOR in turn inhibits the PI3K/Akt pathway and further activates the STAT3 pathway. This may explain the activation of the PI3K/Akt pathway at the early stage of obesity and its inhibition at the later stage. mTOR inhibition may be used for cancer therapy, but it may be necessary to be combined with the PI3K/Akt inhibitor as decreased mTOR activity will release its feedback inhibition on the PI3K/Akt pathway, which is under the influence of multiple cancer risk factors in obesity. Thus, dual inhibitors of PI3K and mTOR may provide a novel approach. © 2011 The Author. obesity reviews © 2011 International Association for the Study of Obesity.

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