News & Events

Image - The information in the silence: tapping into the sense of touch

The information in the silence: tapping into the sense of touch

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

UNSW neuroscientists have discovered a completely new understanding of how the brain deciphers neural inputs, which could transform the next generation of robotic prosthetics.

When our skin scans a surface, everything we feel is conveyed through the nerves by means of electrical impulses, received by neurons in the brain in signals like Morse code.

Neurophysiologists Ingvars Birznieks and Richard Vickery research the sense of touch, and how we can take so much information – like pressure, shape, texture, and vibration – from one signal.

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Image - Membrane charge sensor to watch the regulation of our T cells

Membrane charge sensor to watch the regulation of our T cells

Monday, 1 May 2017

UNSW researchers with the ARC Centre of Excellence in Advanced Molecular Imaging have built a sensor to measure the membrane charge of our T cells.

T cells are the “brain” of our immune system, so understanding how they sense and respond to antigen is extremely important.

Until now we did not know how antigen binding to the T cell receptor triggers an intracellular activation response, or why the receptor does not signal when it is not bound to antigens.

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Image - Why brain stimulation isn’t what it’s cracked up to be

Why brain stimulation isn’t what it’s cracked up to be

Friday, 28 April 2017

OPINION: Interest in electrical brain stimulation has skyrocketed in recent years, both in the popular media and scientific literature.

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Image - The search to extend lifespan is gaining ground, but can we truly reverse the biology of ageing?

The search to extend lifespan is gaining ground, but can we truly reverse the biology of ageing?

Friday, 31 March 2017

OPINION: It was once a fringe topic for scientists and a pseudo-religious dream for others. But research into the biology of ageing, and consequently extending the lifespan of humans and animals, has become a serious endeavour.

Ageing research is often promoted as the key to the “eternal fountain of youth”, or an “elixir of immortality”. But the true promise of ageing research is that rather than tackling individual diseases one at a time, a single drug would treat all the diseases that arise in old age, at once.

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Image - Explainer: what’s cytomegalovirus and why do pregnant women need to know about it?

Explainer: what’s cytomegalovirus and why do pregnant women need to know about it?

Monday, 3 April 2017

OPINION: Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is a virus transmitted from person to person via body fluids like urine or saliva. For people with a healthy immune system, CMV is likely to cause no more than a temporary fever or headache. But when a pregnant woman is infected, the results can be far more serious. The Conversation

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Image - High-fat diet hurts the microbiota in the oesophagus

High-fat diet hurts the microbiota in the oesophagus

Monday, 3 April 2017

UNSW researchers have observed how microbiota in the oesophagus is affected by a high-fat diet, depleting known beneficial bacteria and increasing the levels of “bad” bacteria.

The team’s paper, published in Scientific Reports, found a high-fat diet affects the microbiota in the oesophagus of rats.

First author Dr Nadeem Kaakoush says two other interesting things were observed.

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Image - Gene research gives new insight on pancreatic cancer

Gene research gives new insight on pancreatic cancer

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

New research shows how invading pancreatic tumours rely on surrounding cells – called stromal cells − to “remodel” tissue for invasion.

Researchers are now using this new knowledge to design more effective drugs to tackle the disease, and by measuring the genes that control this system in patients, they could better predict survival.

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Image - UNSW scientists unveil a giant leap for anti-ageing

UNSW scientists unveil a giant leap for anti-ageing

Friday, 24 March 2017

UNSW researchers have made a discovery that could lead to a revolutionary drug that actually reverses ageing, improves DNA repair and could even help NASA get its astronauts to Mars.

In a paper published in Science today, the team identifies a critical step in the molecular process that allows cells to repair damaged DNA.

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Image - Working towards a drug to limit brain injury

Working towards a drug to limit brain injury

Thursday, 16 March 2017

UNSW researchers are teaming with an Australian drug development company to discover new treatments for the debilitating after-effects of brain injury, including stroke.

The research is focusing on the “cascade” effect that occurs after the primary injury, where damage continues to brain cells for hours and days after the primary injury event.

The collaboration with drug developers Noxopharm could result in the design of a neuroprotective compound that blocks the ability of calcium to enter healthy nerve cells, stemming the tide of damage.

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Image - Probiotics may not always be a silver bullet for better health

Probiotics may not always be a silver bullet for better health

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

To combat the effects of a poor diet, probiotics may be just the thing. However, surprising new research from UNSW suggests probiotics are much less effective when taken alongside a balanced diet, and could even impair certain aspects of memory.

Researchers from UNSW Medicine studied the impact of a commonly used probiotic on the gut health and cognitive function of rats, which were fed either a healthy diet or a “cafeteria diet” high in saturated fat and sugar.

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