Science in focus: Three short talks on microalgae, the brain and gunshot residue

Be challenged, enlightened, and surprised all in one night as three of Australia’s smartest thinkers give a short, sharp talk at the free UTS Science Focus event for Ultimo Science Festival 2014.

On September 11, Dr Dominic Hare will take audiences on a journey exploring the idea that a combination of age, our genetic makeup and the world around us all serve to turn the cells within our brain against themselves. And it’s something we just might set ourselves up for as children.

“It challenges the popular view of the brain and how our body works, but the idea that things which are important to our brain, like iron, can actually work against us, needs to be explored,” Dr Hare said.

Dr Hare will also discuss the challenges with conducting research in the area of degenerative diseases, like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Dr Hare is an analytical chemist who completed his PhD in 2009 at UTS, and recently returned as a Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellow in 2014 after a stint at the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health in Melbourne. Originally focused on developing new analytical technology for studying metals in health and disease, he’s now using this technology to uncover the root cause of Parkinson’s disease.

Far from being an intensely academic lecture, Dr Tamburic said he was excited to be able to share ideas from his research to a wider audience.

“My talk will appeal to people with a knowledge of biofuels but will also be interesting to those who have never heard anything about it before,” he said.

“I will give some scientific background to my research, but also touch on the global energy challenge and why we need sustainable energy. I will go through the scientific, environmental and economic challenges of biofuel – yes, it requires space and is quite expensive, but it is definitely worthwhile.”

Bojan Tamburic PhD, is a Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellow at UTS and second-in-command of the Algal Biofuel and Bioproducts research program within the Plant Functional Biology and Climate Change Cluster. His research focuses on the production of sustainable biofuels from microalgae to address the global energy challenge.

The Ultimo Science Festival is brought to you by the Powerhouse Museum, the University of Technology Sydney, the ABC and Ultimo TAFE. The Festival is also supported by the Office of the Chief Scientist & Engineer of NSW, the City of Sydney and the Australian Government through the Inspiring Australia Program.

Join the festival conversation #usfsyd14 on Facebook and Twitter (@ultimoscience). Check out the website for the full festival program.

When: 6:00-7:45pm, Thursday 11 September
Where: UTS City Campus, The Great Hall, UTS Building 1, Level 5
Ages: Recommended for 18+
Cost: Free, bookings essential