Defeating the deadly Clostridium difficile is no easy task but, step-by-step, microbiologist Associate Professor Dena Lyras is helping piece together the puzzle. Monash University microbiologist Associate Professor Dena Lyras has many significant relationships in her life: with her husband, her son and daughter, and her parents. She also has an important ongoing relationship with ‘Dif’, as she and her colleagues call Clostridium difficile – a hospital superbug. This bug has been the focus of her work as a medical researcher for more than a decade. It causes severe diarrhoea in elderly patients and has become increasingly more deadly over the past decade.
South Africa was the first country to dismantle its nuclear weapons – weapons that the world did not know it had. Historian Dr Anna-Mart van Wyk has tracked her country’s journey from international pariah to role model.As the world expert on the political history of the South African apartheid regime’s secret nuclear weapons program, Monash South Africa’s Dr Anna-Mart van Wyk has become familiar with government and defence force archives in both South Africa and the US. The documents she has tirelessly tracked down and studied have cast new light on the politics behind the program, which remained hidden through the 1980s until it was voluntarily – but still secretly – dismantled in 1990. Confirmation that the program ever existed only came in 1993 when then-President F.
Facing a linguistic crisis that threatens the oral traditions that pass on indigenous knowledge, culture and identity, Aboriginal elders have turned to 21st-century animation technology to help sustain intergenerational remembering.From a Western perspective, the songlines of Indigenous Australians can seem like simple origin myths; tales of ancestral beings whose ‘Dreamtime’ actions animate Australia’s creation story. Only more recently have ‘white fellas’ come to realise that songlines defy Western concepts and categories by passing on an encyclopedic knowledge of Australia’s eco-biology, bound up in kinship laws that are embedded in cultural and spiritual traditions. Over thousands of years people have become adept at this unique way of learning, knowing and being. Songlines remain a vast, living archive comprising some 270 distinct languages and about 600 dialects.
It takes at least 10 times as many generations for a mouse to reach elephantine proportions as for the reverse transition, reveals a vast study of mammalian evolution over the past 70 million years.Between two and five million years ago, something akin to a giant guinea pig roamed South America. Weighing about a tonne, it would have loomed large over its modern relatives – diminutive rodents such as mice and rats. Such extraordinary contrasts in body mass are part of the story emerging from an international study led by Monash University and published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS). The research tells the story of mammalian body size over the past 70 million years
Bionic eye technology that could restore vision to millions is the goal of the Monash vision group, a research team whose expertise spans engineering, neurosurgery and physiology. Its creation, a device that stimulates the brain rather than the retina, is on track for trial in just two years. Ever since Steve Austin ran across our screens in the 1970s television series The Six Million Dollar Man, the notion of a ‘bionic eye’ that allows the blind to see has tantalised our imaginations.
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