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Superbugs may kill 10 million people a year by 2050

(from left to right): Andrew Giltrap and Luke Dowman who synthesised teixobactin, and Rich

L-R: Andrew Giltrap, Luke Dowman & Richard Payne

A recent 18-month review into antimicrobial resistance warns that superbugs may kill 10 million people a year by 2050 if new antibiotics are not forthcoming.

A new paper by Richard Payne’s research group led by Andrew Giltrap and Luke Dowman, together with their collaborators at the Centenary Institute and Simon Fraser University (Canada), reports the first total synthesis of an antibacterial natural product called teixobactin using solid-phase peptide synthesis. Read more.


A more open approach to combating tropical diseases may help to overcome a pharmaceutical market failure

Nature

Nature

"He didn't know it at the time, but when chemist Matthew Todd posted a request for help on The Synaptic Leap, a website devoted to open-source biomedical research, he was sowing the seeds for a rivalry between an open initiative and a contract-research organization hired by the World Health Organization to reach the same goal." Read more.


Open source removes secrecy in drug research

Dr Alice Williamson

Dr Alice Williamson

Traditional research is often a world of secrecy. A small group works on a project and when there’s a result, a paper might be published. Now, the open source approach, familiar in software development, is being used in drug research. As Alice Williamson reports, the collaborative approach of open source science breaks down barriers and facilitates open discussion as projects are underway. Read more.


Can open-source drug development deliver?

A/Prof Mat Todd

A/Prof Mat Todd

Open-source drug development involves open data sharing, collaboration, and results sharing. The aim is to produce new drugs for neglected diseases. But can it work? Read more.


$11m UK investment in nano start-up boon for eco energy

Thomas Maschmeyer

Thomas Maschmeyer

An ambitious plan to make commercially viable, nanostructured, gel-based batteries to lead the renewable electricity revolution is closer to becoming a reality, with the multimillion-dollar investment by the UK’s major utility-scale solar energy company into a pioneering University of Sydney start-up.

“The idea is to build houses with batteries inherently included as part of their structure, ready to take advantage of rapidly improving, solar energy technology and also to serve as a buffer for the grid, enabling an ever greater share of renewables to be connected, while grid stability is maintained” Professor Maschmeyer, from the School of Chemistry said. Read more.


Inaugural Westpac Bicentennial Foundation Research Fellowship

Dr Liz New

Liz New

Dr Liz New has been named inaugural recipient of the Westpac Bicentennial Foundation Research Fellowship. The Research Fellowship recognises outstanding early career researchers in technology and innovation; strengthening Australia-Asia ties; and enabling positive social change. It is valued at up to $460,000 over three years. Read more.


David McDonald at the HOPE meeting in Japan

David McDonald

David McDonald

PhD candidate David McDonald attended the 8th HOPE meeting in Tsukuba Japan in March 2016 enabling him to have an amazing experience hearing lectures from many Nobel Prize laureates and meeting many other young enthusiastic scientists. Read more.


K computer provides new insights into fullerenes

Bucky ball

Bucky ball

The University of Sydney in collaboration with a group of Scientists from the RIKEN Advanced Institute for Computational Science (AICS) in Japan have made use of the tremendous power of the K computer to provide new insights into the properties of fullerenes. Dr Bun Chan from the School of Chemistry at Sydney University and author of the study describes the important contribution this study has made to the study of nanomaterials. Read more.


Superhydrophobicity is child’s play

Wrinkled teflon

A team of chemical researchers from The University of Sydney have developed a new robust nanostructured material that is extremely repellent to water droplets due to its highly wrinkled surface.

The team in the School of Chemistry, led by A/Prof Chiara Neto, developed a surface with a special roughness, combining micro-scale and nanoscale features, which mimics the surface structure of the leaf of the Sacred lotus. Droplets of water placed on the Sacred lotus leaf bead up in a spherical shape, a sign that the petal is highly water-repellent; the droplets roll off the petals very easily, and in doing so remove contaminants and dust from the surface. The mechanism behind this behaviour is due to the special surface structure of the lotus leaf, made up of micrometric bumps covered with even smaller nanometric ones, engineered to trap air on the surface and therefore repel water. Read more.

Photo insert: A scanning electron micrograph shows a crinkled, water-repellent layer of Teflon deposited on polyolefin. (Credit Chiara Neto).


Gold nanoparticles riddle solved – offering medical hope

Gold nanoparticles

Products based on nanoparticles are not new, with gold nanoparticles used by the Ancient Egyptians to make paints lasting for millennia - but they are promising to deliver a wide range of new medical imaging and treatment technologies.

An international group of researchers including the University of Sydney have solved the riddle in work published today in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Science of the United States of America. It is all in the glue that binds the surface of the gold nanoparticles to keep potentially destructive chemicals out of contact range. Read more.


Research raises concerns over long-term use of chromium diet pills

The synchrotron’s high energy x-ray beam.

Concerns have been raised over the long-term use of nutritional supplements containing chromium, after an Australian research team found the supplement is partially converted into a carcinogenic form when it enters cells.

The team, led by Professor Peter Lay from the University of Sydney’s School of Chemistry and Dr Lindsay Wu, now with UNSW’s School of Medical Sciences, travelled near to Chicago to Argonne National Laboratory to perform the experiments in collaboration with colleagues at Argonne’s, the Advanced Photon Source, a US Department of Energy Office of Science User Facility that generates ultra-bright, high-energy x-rays. Read more.


Women making strides in chemistry

Dr Alice Williamson

Alice Williamson

Women in STEM: On UN International Day of Women and Girls in Science, meet five scientists making strides, including our very own Postdoctoral Research Associate, Dr Alice Williamson. Read more.

Alice was also named one of ABC’s RN and UNSW’s ‘Top 5 Under 40’ - a nationwide competition to find the next generation of passionate science communicators. Read more.