May 2012

JAMS Meeting Report – April 2012
by Thomas Jeffries
 
There was a good turnout on ANZAC day eve for three interesting talks, pizza and free local beer.
 
Kicking off the evening was John Lee, from the University of Georgia, with his ambitiously titled talk “Bioluminescence: The First 3000 Years”.  After a historical introduction to the long running observation of bioluminescence, via the discovery in 1672 that oxygen was necessary for bacterial luminescence, John told us how it was determined that bioluminescence is an enzyme mediated chemical reaction involving “luciferase” and "luciferine". In the modern age of biochemistry it was determined that ATP is the substrate in this reaction.  Following the elucidation of the structure of firefly luciferase in 1959, modern techniques (i.e. picosecond dynamic fluorescence spectroscopy and NMR) have allowed researchers to uncover the enzymes and processes involved in bioluminescence.  One of the most important of these enzymes Green-fluorescent protein (GFP) was discovered in jellyfish by Shimomura (who evidently has a lab at his house!) and led to his Nobel prize in 2008.  Due to GFP’s widespread use in research, it is regarded as one of the most important proteins in science.
 

As a starting point in the quest to establish a microbiology exhibition at the Australian Museum JAMS has been invited to register to present a show or expo booth for Science Unleashed.
 
Science Unleashed is a fresh take on the Australian Museum’s approach to science outreach. It aims to build on over a decade of successful science programs run by the Science Communication Unit and reinvigorate and streamline previous successful programs such as the annual Science in the City, Science in the Bush and Science in the Suburbs events that have touched the lives of over 100,000 people, into a unifying concept of scientific celebration.
 
For those of you interested in participating in the production and/or presentation bring your ideas along to the next JAMS meeting (30th May). We'll meet at 5 pm to have a chat and put together some ideas for the registration form (see atatched).