Kerensa McElroy (UNSW) started us off immersing the audience in deep sequencing in order to understand pathogen evolution in biofilms. Two model pathogens, Phaeobacter gallaeciensis and Pseudomonas aeruginosa, were used to grow biofilms under conditions that select for reproducible phenotypic diversification. Variations in the genetic structure were revealed addressing different stages of biofilm development. Kerensa could describe genetic variation accurately and comprehensively within evolving populations using her established approach in genome-wide deep sequencing.
 

So we're going ahead with an exhibition booth! JAMS will exhibit to primary school kids from 7th to 9th August, to the public on the 11th of August and to highschool kids from the 14th to 16th August. We need people to occupy the booth, if you're keen contact Cathy Burke. We also need images for production of posters and banners. Send to Mike Manefield if you have any you want to include. If you have display ideas please contact Michael Kertesz. Game on!

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).

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.
 

Report by Jeff Powell

On 12 April, the 'cowboys' at the Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment played host to the 'aliens' from the Sydney region for JAMS Goes West. The mood was both enthusiastic and informative and approximately 30 people participated. The morning consisted of five short talks by representatives of five Sydney-based institutions.

JAMS attendees started off the night well lubricated thanks to the free beers courtesy of some happy financial planning in our favour. The evening started with Anna Simonin from the University of Sydney discussing Neurospora crassa, a filamentous fungus that forms extensive networks by fusion of the hyphae. Anna presented some amazing live imaging of the heady flow of cytoplasm between the fungal filaments. This clever architecture is thought to influence how nutrients are distributed around the colony. To explore how these streams of nutrient traffic may be contributing to Neurospora’s substrate utilisation, the movement of stable isotope labelled amino acids was tracked within a mutant unable to fuse filaments, a mutant that had lowered fusion ability and the wild type.
 

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