Posts Tagged ‘Microbiology’

I blogged about my first day of volunteering at the World Science Festival Brisbane here. Now for a rundown on Day Two of volunteering. 

My one and only shift for the day was with the Microbiologist Apprentice program at QIMR Berghoffer where high school kids and their parents looked at the anti-microbial properties of plants, and used a fluorescent product to detect if the bacterial cells were alive or dead. The attendees even got to do a sixteen streak inoculation of an agar plate with the sample bacterial culture. 

I helped seal their plates and clean up the lab afterwards. It was very cool to be back in a micro lab. It all came rushing back. And I got to catch a glimpse of some small agarose gel tanks and PCR machines. It takes me back! It’s been eleven years since I was in a lab!

Then it was on to Southbank to catch up with a good friend and some Street Science. We saw some fluorescent coral, some starfish, hermit crabs, a 3D printer and all kinds of cool science and engineering stuff. I would have loved this stuff when I was a kid and a teenage science nerd! No wonder the kids love Street Science! 

Can’t wait to be involved in the Festival next year!


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Australian science show Catalyst (on theAustralian Broadcasting Corporation network) is showing a story tonight about the tropical bacterial disease, Meliodosis, caused by the bacterium Bulkholderia psuedomallei. The bacteria live in soli and water and can cause pneumonia and systemic infections. Actually the university where I undertook research towards my Masters of Philosophy had a research group that was looking into the pathogenesis of Bulkholderia.

Check out the link for the transcript – http://www.abc.net.au/catalyst/stories/3623445.htm

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It was announced today over numerous news networks, that a vaccine against the Hendra virus for horses has been released.

The Equivac HeV vaccine was developed collaboratively by the CSIRO’s Australian Animal Health Laboratory (AAHL) and Pfizer Animal Health along with other US organizations.

Check out the below links for information regarding the vaccine and it’s use.




Source – ‘Vaccine arrives to boost the frontline fight against Hendra virus’ – http://www.csiro.au/en/Organisation-Structure/Divisions/Animal-Food-and-Health-Sciences/Hendra-vaccine-arrives.aspx

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What a day it was for the amateur mycologist in me. Wet humid weather and an eye for spotting fungi. I am now a little obsessed! I borrowed a field guide to Australian fungi from the university library yesterday and I set about trying to identify the fungi I have observed over the last few weeks. And with my eyes now keen to see more fungi I was on the look out today. This morning I observed the following garden beds – the yellow mushrooms seen yesterday, now paler and the large one had disappeared; two pale brown conical and ribbed capped toadstools with slender stalks; one small toadstool with a very ball like brown-black cap and slender stalk; numerous clusters of approx 5 – 8 beige-brown mushrooms with large curved flat to convex caps with dark grey depressions in the centre and distinct gills; white conical toadstools with white stalks; one brown moist looking mushroom with a convex cap; a few conical brown moist looking capped toadstools and last but not least some bright pale yellow mushrooms with large flat caps with striated along the edge of the bottom along with a stalk with a volva (sac-like structure at the base). What a day filled with wonderful fungi!

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I find fungi fascinating. I’ve had an interest in fungi for years.

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On my walk to work this morning I observed approximately 50 or so delicate pale grey delicate sporophores (mushrooms) on what looked like a decaying log in a shady. The caps were not flat but conical and the gill were visible. I thought “how cool is that!” And I ended up thinking about fungi and bacteria while climbing the five flights of stairs to my office. As I walked to the bus the afternoon, I looked out for the mushrooms. I couldn’t see them at first, but then I saw the log and it looked like the mushrooms had shrivelled. It had been a hot sunny day, maybe the sun was too strong for them? Then I thought that maybe the log wasn’t actually a log, but the mycelium (fungal mass) of the fungus and it had sent out the mushrooms ready to realise spores. I wished I had taken a photo. Now I want to try to identify what type of fungus it was.

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The current multiple outbreaks in South-East Queensland, Australia of the bat-borne Hendra virus sparked has my keen interest. Reading article on the web, including the transcript of the ABC’s program Australian Story, I was interested and inspired to find that a key researcher on the virus is woman. Her name is Deborah Middlemen and she works at the CSIRO’s Australian Animal Health Laboratory in Geelong, Victoria. As a scientist, microbiologist, a woman and a feminist I think this is rather cool. She certainly an inspiration.

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