2017

May 

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How science, nature and school teachers inspired Australia’s best scientists—22 May 2017

Twenty-one of Australia’s best scientists—including 17 who have received ARC funding support—have been elected to the Australian Academy of Science, a rare and esteemed honour, for their outstanding contributions to science. 

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Nanotech breakthrough reduces car exhaust pollution—19 May 2017

Researchers at the University of Wollongong (UOW)—including an ARC Future Fellow—and Australian Nuclear Science Technology Organisation (ANSTO), working with colleagues in Japan, Turkey and Bangladesh, have developed a nanomaterial that can be used to make markedly more effective catalytic converters for vehicles. 

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A muffin a day might just keep the doctor away—19 May 2017

A ‘good heart’ muffin—developed by researchers within The University of Queensland (UQ) node of the ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Cell Walls—could help lower the risk of heart disease.

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Islands of language enter virtual reality—11 May 2017

Linguists from the Australian Research Council’s Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of Language are breathing new life into endangered languages with virtual reality (VR) technology.

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Griffith researchers date South Africa’s peculiar Homo naledi fossils—11 May 2017

ARC Future Fellow, Dr Mathieu Duval, working with a team of scientists from Griffith University’s Australian Research Centre for Human Evolution (ARCHE) have helped discover Homo naledi’s surprisingly young age, opening up more questions on where we come from.

 

 

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Gender action toolkit to assist with gender diversity journey10 May 2017

The ARC Centre of Excellence for All-Sky Astrophysics (CAASTRO)—drawing on their own experience—has developed a Gender Action Toolkit to assist other groups with their gender and diversity journey. 

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Voyage to an Antarctic polynya sights rare ‘Dragon-skin’ ice—5 May 2017

An autumn voyage to the heart of an Antarctic polynya has rewarded expeditioners on a US icebreaker—including ARC Future Fellow, Dr Guy Williams, from the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS) at The University of Tasmania—with a glimpse of a rarely seen type of sea ice.

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Smart windows for a more energy efficient future—5 May 2017

Supported by the Australian Government through the Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage Projects scheme, Professor Huijun Zhao at Griffith University is set to lead research into a new kind of low-cost, energy-saving 'smart window' that contains a glass that is able to change its colour and the amount of light or heat it transmits. 

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Comparing indigenous-settler relations across 'New World' sites—5 May 2017

A research team, led by Dr Katharine Fullagar, at Macquarie University has received a new Linkage Projects grant of $330,000 to investigate indigenous and settler experiences in Australasia and North America. 

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Silver materials may unlock golden opportunities, new research suggests—4 May 2017
 

 Curtin University research, led by ARC Future Fellow, Dr Mark Paskevicius, has uncovered a series of new silver materials that possess a dynamic range of properties, which could potentially open up new avenues in solid-state batteries, anti-bacterial agents for medical use, and flexible touchscreens in smart phones.

 
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Unearthing the basis of autoimmune disease—4 May 2017

Researchers at the ARC Centre of Excellence in Advanced Molecular Imaging (Imaging CoE) based at Monash University have discovered the mechanism that explains how key genetic risk factors cause or protect people from autoimmune disease such as type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and Crohn’s disease. 

 

April

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Bacteria with Midas touch for efficient gold processing—28 April 2017

Dr Frank Reith—an ARC Future Fellow in The University of Adelaide’s School of Biological Sciences and Visiting Fellow at CSIRO Land and Water at Waite—is part of a team of researchers that have been investigating the role of microorganisms in gold transformation.

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Seeing the electricity inside graphene for the first time—27 April 2017

A research team, led by Professor Lloyd Hollenberg from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Quantum Computation and Communication Technology (CQC2T) at The University of Melbourne, has used a special quantum probe based on an atomic-sized ‘colour centre’ found only in diamonds to “see” the flow of electric currents in graphene for the first time. No-one has previously been able to see what is happening with electronic currents in graphene, said Professor Hollenberg. According to Professor Hollenberg, this new technique overcomes significant limitations with existing methods for understanding electric currents in devices based on ultra-thin materials.

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Expert Nation: Universities, War and 1920s and 1930s Australia—24 April 2017

The First World War was a new kind of war, arguably the first 'modern war' in which science and knowledge were to play a critical role.  In a conflict that was fought as much by experts as by expeditionary forces, Australian university graduates played an important part. Expert Nation, a 2016 ARC Discovery Project—led by Dr Tamson Pietsch, an ARC Discovery Early Career Researcher Award recipient from The University Technology, Sydney—is looking at how war transformed the nature and status of expertise both on the battlefield and in interwar Australia.

 

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War in the Digital Age—24 April 2017

Scientia Professor Dennis Del Favero from The University of New South Wales led the production of ‘Retrospect: War, Family, Afghanistan’—an interactive online, television, radio and cinema work that explores the relationship between the experiences of Afghanistan veterans and their families. The 2012 ARC Linkage Project used cutting-edge visual technology to communicate the experience of war using modern day forms of digital communication.

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Serving in silence? The history of LGBTI inclusion in Australian military service—24 April 2017

An Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Project led by historian, Associate Professor Noah Riseman from the Australian Catholic University, is examining the histories of Australian lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) servicemen and women from the end of the Second World War until the present. 

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Origins of Indonesian ‘hobbits’ finally revealed—21 April 2017

The most comprehensive study on the bones of Homo floresiensis, a species of tiny human discovered on the Indonesian island of Flores in 2003, by researchers at The Australian National University (ANU) has found that they most likely evolved from an ancestor in Africa and not from Homo erectus as has been widely believed. The study found that Homo floresiensis, dubbed ‘the hobbits’ due to their small stature, were most likely a sister species of Homo habilis—one of the earliest known species of human found in Africa 1.75 million years ago.

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Commercialising a New Gas Separation Technology—21 April 2017

Discovery Early Career Researcher Award recipient Dr Kevin Li and Professor Eric May, Director at the ARC Training Centre for Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Futures, have announced that they have secured close to $1 million in funding to commercialise their gas separation technology developed at The University of Western Australia.

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New breakthrough for smaller electronic devices—19 April 2017

Curtin University researchers, supported by ARC Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA) scheme funding, have created a diode—the basic component of most modern electronic devices—out of a tiny single molecule, which will help continue the downsizing trend of electronic devices. Diodes, which are responsible for directing electric currents in most common electronic devices, allow currents to flow in one direction while blocking currents in the opposite direction.

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Unique database details 5.8 trillion-tonne global fishing catch—12 April 2017

University of Tasmania (UTAS) researchers at the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS) have developed a unique fisheries database that is providing unprecedented insights into global fishing catches between 1950 and 2014. The database brings together every major international statistical collection of fisheries data since comprehensive records began, providing unique insights into the industry.

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Super sensitive devices work on recycling atoms—12 April 2017
 

Researchers at The University of Queensland (UQ) node of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Engineered Quantum Systems, working with the University of Sussex, have developed next-generation sensors that will be able to be used in fields as diverse as mineral exploration and climate change.

 
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Step towards a sustainable future using microfactory technology—12 April 2017

In a breakthrough in recycling technology invented by ARC-funded researchers at The University of New South Wales (UNSW), a simple replica of Mahatma Gandhi’s spectacles has been created using common waste plastics from electronic goods that we usually throw away. The waste plastics have been recycled into plastic filaments, enabling the glasses to be ‘printed out’, as well as other potential products in the future made from composite waste. This latest research represents a remarkable step towards a sustainable future using microfactory to produce value-added green materials and products that are made from 100 per cent waste materials.

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Researchers have uncovered prehistoric art and ornaments from the Indonesian ‘Ice Age’—4 April 2017

ARC-funded archaeologists at Griffith University are part of a joint Indonesian-Australian team that has unearthed a rare collection of prehistoric art and ‘jewellery’ objects from the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, dating in some instances to as early as 30,000 years ago, shedding new light on ‘Ice Age’ human culture and symbolism.

March 

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Photonics breakthrough paving the way for improved wireless communication systems—31 March 2017

Researchers from the ARC Centre for Ultrahigh Bandwidth Devices for Optical System (CUDOS) in The University of Sydney’s Australian Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology have made a breakthrough achieving radio frequency signal control at sub-nanosecond time scales on a chip-scale optical device.

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Fanged fish’s heroin-like venom could lead to pain treatments—31 March 2017

Researchers from The University of Queensland (UQ), supported by an ARC-funded Discovery Project, have found that a fearless fanged coral reef fish that disables its opponents with heroin-like venom could offer hope for the development of new painkillers. UQ researcher, Associate Professor Bryan Fry, said the venomous fang blenny was found in the Pacific region, including on the Great Barrier Reef.

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Malaria parasites ‘walk through walls’ to infect humans—30 March 2016

Researchers at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, assisted by ARC Discovery Project funding, have identified proteins that enable deadly malaria parasites to ‘walk through cell walls’—a superpower that was revealed using the Institute’s first insectary to grow human malaria parasites. The research has identified two parasite proteins that are the key to this superpower. The proteins could be targeted to develop much-needed antimalarial drugs or vaccines.

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Nanoscale sensor to spot disease—28 March 2017

ARC Centre of Excellence for Nanoscale BioPhotonics (CNBP) has announced that they have developed a new nanoscale sensor that can help detect cytokines—molecules that play a critical role in cellular response to infection, inflammation, trauma and disease—which, until now, have been extremely hard to measure and quantify due to their small size and their dynamic and transient nature.

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Breakthrough in energy harvesting with clear glass—27 March 2017

A research team, led by ARC-funded researcher Professor Kamal Alameh, at Edith Cowan University has developed a breakthrough new technology, in a clear glass that harvests energy directly from the sun while letting most of the visible light through.

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ARC fellows shine at the L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science awards—24 March 2017

Quantum physicist, ARC Laureate Fellow Professor Michelle Simmons, and cognitive neuroscientist, ARC Future Fellow Associate Professor Muireann Irish, are two prominent ARC-funded female researchers who have received prestigious L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science awards in Paris.

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Environmental researchers at ARC Centre of Excellence win Mahathir Science Award—21 March 2017

Work by a trio of ARC-funded researchers and their teams from the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED) at The University of Queensland have been announced as the winners of Malaysia’s 2016 Mahathir Science Award

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Aboriginal hair shows 50,000 years connection to country—9 March 2017

New research led by Australian Laureate Fellow, Professor Alan Cooper, at The University of Adelaide’s Australian Centre for Ancient DNA (ACAD) has produced the first detailed genetic map of Aboriginal Australia prior to the arrival of Europeans. Researchers analysed mitochondrial DNA from hair samples collected during the early 20th Century, to establish that Australia’s Aboriginal people were continuously present in the same discrete geographic areas for up to 50,000 years. These findings reinforce Aboriginal communities’ strong connection to country and represent the first detailed genetic map of Aboriginal Australia prior to the arrival of Europeans.

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Researchers find the dark matter of the bread wheat genome—6 March 2017

Researchers from The University of Western Australia (UWA), supported through an ARC-funded Linkage Project, have identified 21,000 new genes in bread wheat. The discovery is a big step forward in the continued improvement of bread wheat, which provides roughly one fifth of the world’s food.

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New study doubles estimate of functional genes in our genome—6 March 2017

A group of researchers from Japan and Australia, through Stem Cells Australia—an ARC Special Research Initiative in Stem Cell Science—have completed a landmark study where they revealed that long non-coding RNAs, a poorly understood and highly controversial class of genes, may link with major diseases, including inflammation and cancer. The group generated a comprehensive atlas of 27,919 long non-coding RNAs and summarised their expression patterns across the major human cell types and tissues—the first time this has been achieved.

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Australian Silicon Photonics and Luceda Photonics launch new photonics toolset—1 March 2017

Researchers at the ARC Centre of Excellence, the Centre for Ultrahigh Bandwidth devices for Optical Systems (CUDOS), partnering with Luceda Photonics, have launched a comprehensive toolset of electromagnetic simulators for photonic devices, called REME. REME is the first commercially launched product from a range of silicon photonics technologies being developed by the Australian Silicon Photonics team, situated at CUDOS within RMIT University.

 
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ARC Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Science forging powerful partnerships—1 March 2017

The ARC Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Science (ACES) and the Australian National Fabrication Facility (ANFF) have forged a powerful partnership that is catapulting fundamental research into practical and useful structures and devices. 

February

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A breathtaking finding: ancient bacteria have flexible genetic responses to extreme oxygen levels—27 February 2017

New research by the ARC Centre of Excellence for Translational Photosynthesis has found that the tiny bacteria responsible for transforming Earth three billion years ago into the oxygen-rich atmosphere you are breathing, are able to adapt to extreme levels of oxygen by having different genetic responses.

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Understanding the effects of mild dementia on driving ability—24 February 2017

Led by Professor Lynn Meuleners, a team of researchers at Curtin University of Technology—with support through the ARC Linkage Projects scheme—will investigate the effect of mild dementia on a person’s ability to drive a vehicle.


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Improving water safety through better surveillance—24 February 2017

A team of researchers at The University of Melbourne will work closely with the Melbourne Water Corporation, the statutory authority that controls much of Melbourne’s water system, in an ARC Linkage Project to develop an integrated monitoring and surveillance program that will enhance water safety.

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3D printing a ‘lab on a chip’—24 February 2017

Led by Professor Michael Breadmore, researchers at the University of Tasmania will push the limits of current 3D printing technology in an ARC Linkage Project.

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Barcode scanner microscope films neurons firing—23 February 2017

The Australian National University (ANU), supported through the ARC Centre of Excellence in Advanced Molecular Imaging, has built an advanced microscope using barcode laser scanner technology that can film moving blood cells and neurons firing in living animals. 

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New nanoparticle discovery to aid super-resolution imaging—23 February 2017

ARC Future Fellow Professor Dayong Jin has led a team of researchers—from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Nanoscale BioPhotonics (CNBP), Macquarie University, The University of Technology Sydney, Peking University and Shanghai Jiao-tong university—to develop a new kind of highly sensitive microscopy that can visually study biological objects in much higher detail than was previously possible.

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Rice sun protection and diversity can be key to more food production—14 February 2017
 

A team of scientists at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Translational Photosynthesis has decided to combine old and new ways to produce more efficient plants. They focused on rice’s natural diversity by using traditional breeding techniques to select cultivated varieties—or cultivars—that are better at converting sunlight into food.

 
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A message from your muscles—14 February 2017

New research from The University of Queensland has revealed the way human muscles recover after fatigue. ARC Future Fellow, Dr Bradley Launikonis, said most people knew all too well the feeling of muscle soreness after unaccustomed exercise, but until now no one had fundamentally described the cell physiology of the recovery process.

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Bees give up searching for food when we degrade their land—8 February 2017

A new study into honey bees has revealed the significant effect human impact has on a bee’s metabolism, and ultimately, its survival. In an ARC-funded Linkage Project, researchers from The University of Western Australia, in collaboration with Kings Park and Botanic Garden, Curtin University and CSIRO, have completed a world-first study on insect metabolism in free flying insects—focusing on the honey bee. 

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Teaching plants to be better spenders—8 February 2017

Energy is an all-important currency for plants, and researchers from the ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology at The University of Western Australia have now calculated the cost of one of their biggest expenses. The knowledge could be a key to creating more energy efficient crops. 

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Unearthing immune responses to common drugs—7 February 2017

Australian researchers are a step closer to understanding immune sensitivities to well-known, and commonly prescribed, medications. A multidisciplinary team of researchers from the ARC Centre of Excellence in Advanced Molecular Imaging—with nodes at Monash University, The University of Melbourne and The University of Queensland—accessed national research infrastructure, including the Australian Synchrotron, to investigate what drugs might activate a specialised type of immune cell, the MAIT cell (Mucosal associated invariant T cell). 

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Business opportunity—6 February 2017

New research is looking at the experiences and benefits for the economy and society of entrepreneurship—a source of empowerment for refugees, for people with disability, and for Indigenous Australians.

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Acid trip makes clumsy cone snails miss their prey—1 February 2017

New research from the ARC Centre of Excellence in Coral Reef Studies, published in Biology Letters, reveals deadly cone snails are too clumsy to catch their prey when exposed to the levels of ocean acidification expected under predicted climate change. 

 

January

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Improving our rail network by understanding the process of “mud pumping”—30 January 2017

Distinguished Professor Buddhima Indraratna will be leading a research team at the University of Wollongong to determine underlying causes of a process known as ‘mud pumping’ which is highly destructive to railway lines. 

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Extracting more valuable minerals from low grade and waste ore deposits—30 January 2017

A research team led by Associate Professor Yongjun Peng at The University of Queensland will lead a project that aims to understand the reactions taking place on the most important waste mineral that interferes with the recovery of base-metal and precious minerals from ore deposits. 

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New project expands horizon of USQ space exploration—29 January 2017

ARC Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities (LIEF) funding has enabled the University of Southern Queensland (USQ), in collaboration with The University of New South Wales and The University of Sydney, to start building a dedicated multi-telescope facility at Mount Kent Observatory on Queensland’s Darling Downs.

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Sci-fi holograms a step closer with ANU invention—24 January 2017

Funding support from the ARC has enabled ANU physicists to invent a tiny device that creates the highest quality holographic images ever achieved, opening the door to imaging technologies seen in science fiction movies such as Star Wars.

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New ‘smart needle’ to make brain surgery safer—20 January 2017

A new high-tech medical device to make brain surgery safer has been developed by researchers at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Nanoscale BioPhotonics (CNBP) at The University of Adelaide.

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Adopted babies can remember their birth language—19 January 2017

In a collaborative international study, involving the Australian Research Council's Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of Language, researchers have discovered that early language learning in children adopted internationally can be subconsciously retained, even when they can no longer remember the learning experience. 

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Seeing the quantum future—14 January 2017

Researchers the ARC Centre of Excellence for Engineered Quantum Systems (EQUS), based at The University of Sydney, have demonstrated the ability to ‘see’ the future of quantum systems, and used that knowledge to pre-empt their demise. 

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High-sugar diets found to significantly reduce the lifespan of flies—11 January 2017

International research by University College London (UCL) with Monash University, with support from the ARC Future Fellowships scheme, has found that flies with a history of eating a high sugar diet live shorter lives—even after their diet improves.

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Sneak peek into the nanoworld of brain cells—8 January 2017

Researchers from The University of Queensland (UQ), with support from the Australian Research Council, are among the first in neuroscience to see the brain’s tiniest molecules in action and plot their movements

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Discovery of how healthy cereals can lower heart disease—7 January 2017

Researchers at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Plant Cell Walls, Professor Mike Gidley and lead researcher Dr Purnima Gunness, have identified a new mechanism for how healthy cereals such as oats reduce the amount of cholesterol in the blood stream, thereby lowering the risk of heart disease. 

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Eco-driving and safe driving technology to save lives, environment and money—3 January 2017

Researchers at Queensland University of Technology (QUT) have designed an in-car device that aims to persuade drivers to adopt a fuel efficient and safe driving style. The innovative in-vehicle technology will improve safety and save dollars at the petrol pump, and will soon be tested out on Brisbane drivers.

 

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