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.

Sydney may have failed to deliver some sunshine on the last day of a slightly extended summer, but this didn’t dampen the spirits of Sydney’s microbiology community who turned out in numbers for the Inaugural JAMS Anniversary half-day meeting at the Australian Museum. This special meeting celebrated the first birthday of JAMS, an ASM special interest group that aims to bring together research microbiologists, post-docs and PhD students working in non-clinical research from all institutes.

Special thanks must go to the sponsors of the meeting: POCD scientific; Becton, Dickinson and Company; Macquarie University; The University of Sydney; The University of NSW; The University of Technology, Sydney, and; The University of Western Sydney. Another special thank you must also go to Federico Lauro (UNSW) and other members of the JAMS steering committee for organising the anniversary meeting and for their continued commitment to JAMS. The steering committee would also like to thank the Australian Museum who kindly provided the venue for our regular meetings and who hosted this special event.

Last week’s ABC Science Show had a large chunk on microbial ecology, with interviews with Janet Jansson, Jack Gilbert, and Tiffany Nelson from UNSW at the AAAS meeting.
Here’s a link to the podcast

Event Date: 
Thursday, April 12, 2012 - 09:00 - 17:30

JAMS goes west.
In the best JAMS tradition to foster collaborations and interactions the JAMS community heads to the brand new Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment (HIE) on april 12th. Here researchers from each institute/university will summarize their work and what facilities are available in their organizations. This will be followed by lunch and a round table meeting to discuss the possible collaborations and sharing the facilities. The program for the event is the following:
10:00am              Arrivals and introductions
10:15-12:15pm   Short research presentations
12:30-1:30pm     Lunch sponsored by HIE
1:30-2:30pm       Tour of the facilities available at HIE
2:30-4:00pm       Roundtable table discussion to explore synergies and collaborations
4:00pm                Departure

Despite miserable weather conditions, a sizeable crowd gathered at the Australian museum for the first JAMS meeting of 2012.

Dean Procter from the University of Sydney kicked off with our first virology talk of the year at JAMS. He introduced us to the live virus vaccine used to eradicate smallpox, Vaccinia virus. It encodes three BTB-Kelch protein orthologues in the Ubiquitin-Proteasome System, where host cell proteins are selectively degraded. This mechanism can prevent the establishment of an antiviral immune response enabling it to become a viral production factory enhancing viral spread. The identification of the substrates may indicate new mechanisms by which these viruses overcome cellular defenses to cause infection.

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