The PRWIRE Press Releases https:// 2019-11-13T05:40:34Z New drug that breaks down the ‘barbed wire’ around some cancers 2019-11-13T05:40:34Z new-drug-that-breaks-down-the-barbed-wire-around-some-cancers Some solid tumours are so stiff they make a cracking noise when they are cut by researchers on the laboratory bench.   The fibrous nature of liver, pancreatic and some breast cancers make them difficult to treat. However, five years of research by a team of Perth scientists has resulted in the development of a novel, non-toxic agent that can deliver drugs to the cancer cells embedded in the fibrous matrix.   Research published in EMBO Molecular Medicine showed a non-toxic therapeutic agent boosted immune cells to selectively remove the fibrous scar tissue allowing cancer treatments to reach their target.    Dr Juliana Hamzah, head of the Targeted Drug Delivery, Imaging and Therapy Laboratory at the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research said by breaking down the fibrous matrix of stiff tumours the patient’s own immune system paved the way for drug treatments to take effect.   “The cancer is like a wound, and a way that our body tries to repair the wound is to grow a scar tissue around it, but that scar tissue makes it very difficult to get to the cancer cells to destroy them.    “It is stiff, non-cellular, has very few blood vessels and impenetrable. The scar tissue is not only a physical barrier but it constricts blood vessels which are key pathways for delivering cancer treatment.    “The barrier around some cancers, such as liver cancer, pancreatic cancer and some breast cancers is like barbed wire.    “We have developed a non-toxic agent that does not affect surrounding healthy tissue.    “The agent activates immune cells to release enzymes that digest the scar tissue. This allows more cancer killing immune cells to enter the tumour. Our results show that removal of the fibrous tissue dramatically eliminates the drug delivery barrier.     “Tumours treated with the drug we’ve developed are more permeable to anti-tumour immune cells and cancer treatments”, Dr Hamzah said.   The research data have been validated in four laboratories including the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research in Perth, the School of Engineering at The University of Western Australia, Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute, California, USA, and the University California Davis, California, USA. Dr Hamzah says that now the drug has been proven to have a positive impact on fibrosis, or scar tissue, she is investigating whether it can be used to prevent malignant cancer by treating the early stages of fibrosis in liver cancer.  “If you take liver cancer, it doesn’t start immediately as cancer, it starts as fibrosis, cirrhosis, which then develops into liver cancer.    “Because chronic tissue fibrosis can lead to cancer we aim to investigate whether early treatment with our drug of the pre-cancerous stage, such as liver fibrosis, could prevent development of malignant cancer.   Testing of the drug is due to commence using human tissue biopsies. Brisbane’s Microba represented at international competition in Berlin 2019-11-12T01:45:36Z brisbane-s-microba-represented-at-international-competition-in-berlin Brisbane biotech Microba were chosen to participate in international pitching competition, the Falling Walls Venture in Berlin, based on their world-leading work in analysing gut bacteria. Microba CEO, Blake Wills, represented one of 20 pioneering young companies chosen to attend the global pitch competition, with an audience of over 750 industry leaders, decision makers and media representatives. Falling Walls Venture is held each year in Berlin, with universities and research institutions from across the world called upon to nominate their most innovative science startups who present their business models in five minutes. Mr Wills presented the company’s innovative Metagenomic Analysis Platform (MAP™), which powers the gut microbiome analysis capabilities of Microba, to the audience. The gut microbiome (community of microorganisms living in the gut) has been linked to numerous disease conditions and is thought by many to be a new frontier in medicine. Microba’s MAP™ recently won the Brisbane Lord Mayor’s Award for Product Innovation, for its ability to produce high-resolution gut microbiome profiles to consumers, health care practitioners and researchers. Mr Wills said it was a privilege to compete against international innovators and have Microba recognised as a world-leader. “To be able to showcase Microba’s capabilities as an innovative hub to international leaders and subject-matter experts is an excellent outcome,” he said. “Our technology is world-leading, innovative and growing its reach rapidly, allowing us to expand into international markets. “To fly halfway across the world and present our work at a globally-renowned conference is a great indicator that we are on the right track and can continue to grow in our research and impact on the global health care industry.” Microba is a home-grown Brisbane-based startup, with its roots coming from research of Co-founders Professors Phillip Hugenholtz and Gene Tyson at The University of Queensland. The company recently announced expansion into the United States with its MAP™ platform through a partnership with DNA sequencing company, Macrogen. Kids & nature in Melbourne’s north missing out – more bush kinders needed now says Friends of Merri Creek 2019-10-28T04:33:19Z kids-amp-nature-in-melbourne-s-north-missing-out-more-bush-kinders-needed-now-says-friends-of-merri-creek The children of Melbourne’s northern suburbs are missing out on the health and social benefits of interacting with nature as the result of a bush kindergarten shortage said Friends of Merri Creek’s (FoMC) President Nick Williams.   As access to open space and parklands is diminishing as the result of Melbourne’s population and building boom, there has been a dramatic shift from childhood activities from outdoor to indoor play.  The consequences of spending time in front of TV screens and computers instead of playing outdoors is seen in increased rates of obesity, diabetes and mental illness in youngsters.   The development of bush kindergartens reflects the mounting body of evidence that outdoor activities such as exploring natural environments, are good for children and improve their health and wellbeing said Nick Williams.   There are over 350 bush kinders or nature playgroup programs in Victoria, and the number is growing rapidly.   Demonstrating the growing popularity of nature play, Nature Play Week in April 2019 included 150 events across Victoria with an estimated 15,000 participants.   A study by the Kids in Nature Network in 2016-17 identified a growing and unmet demand for nature play, outdoor learning and bush kinder programs in Victoria.  It found that 90% of programs were delivered in Eastern Melbourne – indicating a major gap in the northern suburbs.   The Kids in Nature Network study report outlines the benefits of nature play and active outdoor learning: “When children are outside, they move more, sit less and play longer. These behaviours are associated with improved physical and mental health and improved cognitive and social skills.   “Children are more curious about and interested in natural play spaces than pre-fabricated play structures.   “Children who engage in active outdoor play in natural environments demonstrate resilience, self-regulation and develop skills for dealing with stress later in life.  Outdoor play in minimally structured, free and accessible local environments facilitates socialisation and connection with peers, the community and the environment, reduces feelings of isolation, builds interpersonal skills and facilitates healthy development.”    Parks and reserves are fantastic places for children to run, jump, explore and learn.  Research shows it’s good for them.  Children who learn outdoors are less disruptive, show improved social skills, motor skills and physical health, and develop resilience, self-awareness, self-esteem, independence and the list goes on.   An ideal outdoor classroom is an open space amongst natural bushland with low grass and minimal ground cover.  This allows children to explore independently while remaining within the supervisors’ line of sight.   It also allows easy identification of any ground hazards and minimises trampling, which can damage the undergrowth.   Nick Williams concluded, “FoMC would like to see a strategy prepared that identifies potential nature play sites and how they can be made accessible and resilient, along the Merri Creek from Clifton Hill to Craigieburn and in the new suburbs to the north.  Local Councils are best placed to develop this strategy, along with Merri Creek Management Committee”.   “A site that has great potential as a bush kinder / nature play site with some tree planting, logs and basic visitor facilities is 1 – 17 Leonard Street Fawkner that was recently purchased by Moreland City Council from the State Government”.   ENDS   Issued by:                  Friends of Merri Creek       www.friendsofmerricreek.org.au   Media enquiries:                 Mr. Joe Perri, T: 0412 112 545   E: jperri@joeperri.com.au Microba: Could one of the secrets to high-performing NRL players lie in the gut? 2019-10-21T04:18:20Z microba-could-one-of-the-secrets-to-high-performing-nrl-players-lie-in-the-gut Brisbane-based gut health testing specialists Microba, have partnered with Australian National Rugby League teams the Kangaroos and Jillaroos to investigate whether one of the secrets to high performance in sport can be found in the gut. Microba has administered their home-testing kit, Microba Insight™ to Kangaroo and Jillaroo players ahead of their 2019/2020 representative season, to discover if making changes to their diet and influencing their gut microbiome can assist in driving performance. The local biotech is a world leader in gut microbiome testing which looks at the bacteria living in a person’s gut, the functions they are performing, the potential of that bacteria and how they can improve gut microbiome health with dietary and lifestyle changes. Microba CEO Blake Wills said that working with elite athletes provided a great opportunity to test how effective influencing the gut microbiome could be on performance. “Working with the NRL has given us a mutually beneficial chance to investigate the best ways to impact sporting performance by influencing the gut microbiome with diet and lifestyle,” he said. The athletes will have their individual gut microbiomes tested, with personalised reports, tailored dietary suggestions and the opportunity to talk with Microba’s team of scientists, Accredited Practising Dietitians and Nutritionists about changes they can make to boost performance based on how their gut microbiome absorbs nutrients, the capacity of their gut bacteria to produce beneficial substances and their metabolism function. Recent research has shown that a certain species of bacteria in the gut microbiome appears to be more abundant after exercise in some individuals, impacting the way that bacteria break down lactate. This study on the Veillonella bacteria has opened up a world of possibility around simple, accessible ways that athletes could potentially increase performance. Australian Kangaroos Elite Performance Manager Troy Thomson has championed the efforts, seeking the best possible natural advantage for his players in the coming season. “Microba are providing a great opportunity to find ways we can alter our athletes’ diets while in camp and on the road to see if we can find even a small way to increase their performance,” he said. “It is our hope that this type of intervention could translate across other teams in the NRL as a best practice for healthy, high-performing players.” Microba’s experts and the NRL will look at the test results and decide on the best dietary changes going forward to boost the teams’ performance and ensure player gut microbiome health is at a high level. ENDS Customers get deeper into discovery with the new version of JMP 2019-10-15T23:55:08Z customers-get-deeper-into-discovery-with-the-new-version-of-jmp TUCSON, AZ (Oct 14, 2019) From Pleistocene fossils to infrared technology on a mission to map the surface of a near-Earth asteroid, JMP® statistical discovery software from SAS is helping scientists, engineers and other data analysts make a difference. In JMP Pro 15, the advanced analytics version of JMP, data scientists have more predictive modeling tools than ever. Both JMP 15 and JMP Pro 15 are launched today, 30 years after the first version of the software was released. "The higher the volume of data we collect, the greater the chance we will get some signals from them that add value and build knowledge…. It can be complicated to visualize. I really like JMP for this, especially Graph Builder, which is very practical and efficient,” said Augustin Cathignol, Principal Engineer for Product Reliability and Data Science, at Lynred, which designs high-performance infrared detector technology for probes traveling deep into space. For Sherri Gust, founder and Principal Paleontologist at Cogstone, the ability to interact with data is key. “The interactivity is one of my favorite things about JMP. You can say, ‘I’d like to explore that more and then do this,’” said Gust, who is conducting research on Ice Age fossils at Rancho La Brea in California. “Our customers can explore and understand their data even more fully with JMP 15,” said John Sall, co-founder and Executive Vice President of SAS and head of SAS' JMP business unit. “And they get instant graphical gratification with new visualization enhancements.” Sall marks the launches and 30th anniversary of JMP with his keynote speech “Import. Understand. Communicate” at analytics conference Discovery Summit Tucson this week.  JMP® 15 highlights ·         New column header graphs in the data table that show linked histograms for a quick view of the distribution of table variables. ·         Import wizard for importing and processing XML, JSON and PDF file formats. ·         Many enhancements to Graph Builder, including for Heatmap and Box Plot. ·         New hover label options that extend information available in graphs. ·         New Explore Patterns platform for investigating data integrity. ·         New Group Orthogonal Supersaturated Design platform for creating and analyzing designs with more factors than runs that have groups of correlated effects. ·         Publishing to JMP Live, a secure, private online portal for collaborating with analytics. JMP® Pro 15 highlights ·         Functional Data Explorer with workflow improvements to bypass intermediate table creation, reshaping and joins. ·         Structural Equation Modeling, a new predictive modeling platform, for modeling relationships among observed and unobserved variables. ·         New Support Vector Machines platform, providing another nonlinear machine learning technique. What other customers say about JMP® and JMP® Pro “The Functional Data Explorer platform has potential to significantly change the way we look at designing new products.” – Dan Fortune, Six Sigma Black Belt, Hexion “The PDF Import Wizard is breathtaking! I have complicated scanned PDFs with many tables, and the ability to manually select tables is just awesome!” – John Madden, Associate Professor of Pathology, Duke University “I could see the distribution of the data immediately in the header of the data table… users will find it powerful because they can check the structure of new data quickly and easily.” – Seonjin Kim, Senior Scientist, Samsung BioLogics “JMP is what has helped us be able to see the big picture more clearly and in real time.” – Tyler Wise, Project Analyst for Global Business Services, Diebold Nixdorf “I’ve never seen any single software application as transformative to scientific learning as JMP. With JMP you start seeing patterns and relationships in your data you never thought possible. It takes the guesswork and mystery out of statistics.” – Timothy Gardner, CEO and Founder, Riffyn, Inc. A fully functional 30-day trial of JMP is available free on the JMP website. About JMP SAS created JMP (pronounced “jump”) in 1989 to empower scientists, engineers and other data analysts to explore and analyze data visually and interactively. Since then, JMP has grown from a single product into a family of statistical discovery tools, each one tailored to meet specific needs. John Sall, SAS co-founder and Executive Vice President, leads the JMP business unit. About SAS SAS is the leader in analytics. Through innovative software and services, SAS empowers and inspires customers around the world to transform data into intelligence. SAS gives you THE POWER TO KNOW®.   Congratulations to Dr Megan Clark AC 2019-10-14T02:09:50Z congratulations-to-dr-megan-clark-ac The Board of the Space Industry Association of Australia extends their congratulations to Dr Megan Clark AC on receiving the prestigious award from the Australian Academy of Science in recognition of her contribution to Australian science and technology. Dr Clark has been honoured with an Australian Academy of Science medal. “The medal is awarded to a person outside the Fellowship who has, by sustained efforts in the public domain, significantly advanced the cause of science and technology in Australia or who has made a substantial contribution to the Academy,” President of the Australian Academy of Science, Professor John Shine said. Chair of the SIAA, Mr Rod Drury, said “I am extremely pleased that the immense contribution of Dr Clark to science and technology in Australia has been recognised by this eminent body. I commend the Academy of Science on their selection of Dr Clarke AC and businessman Peter Yates AM. Hand-Washing More Effective Than Hand Sanitiser 2019-10-10T03:34:48Z hand-washing-more-effective-than-hand-sanitiser A new study has found washing your hands under running water removes the flu virus much faster than alcohol sanitizer – suggesting hand sanitizer might not be as effective as people think when fighting against the flu. The influenza A virus (IAV) remains infectious in wet mucus from infected patients, even after being exposed to an ethanol-based disinfectant (EBD) for two full minutes, report researchers at Kyoto Profectural University of Medicine, in Japan. Fully deactivating the virus, they found, required nearly four minutes of exposure to the EBD. The secret to the viral survival was the thick consistency of sputum, the researchers found. The substance’s thick hydrogel structure kept the ethanol from reaching and deactivating the IAV. “The physical properties of mucus protect the virus from inactivation,” said physician and molecular gastroenterologist Ryohei Hirose, PhD, MD., who led the study with Takaaki Nakaya, PhD, an infectious disease researcher at the same school. “Until the mucus has completely dried, infectious IAV can remain on the hands and fingers, even after appropriate antiseptic hand rubbing.” The study suggests that a splash of hand sanitizer, quickly applied, isn’t sufficient to stop IAV. Health care providers should be particularly cautious: If they don’t adequately inactivate the virus between patients, they could enable its spread, Hirose said. The researchers first studied the physical properties of mucus and found — as they predicted — that ethanol spreads more slowly through the viscous substance than it does through saline. Then, in a clinical component, they analyzed sputum that had been collected from IAV-infected patients and dabbed on human fingers. (The goal, said Hirose, was to simulate situations in which medical staff could transmit the virus.) After two minutes of exposure to EBD, the IAV virus remained active in the mucus on the fingertips. By four minutes, however, the virus had been deactivated. Previous studies have suggested that ethanol-based disinfectants, or EBDs, are effective against IAV. The new work challenges those conclusions. Hirose suspects he knows why: Most studies on EBDs test the disinfectants on mucus that has already dried. When he and his colleagues repeated their experiments using fully dried mucus, they found that hand rubbing inactivated the virus within 30 seconds. In addition, the fingertip test used by Hirose and his colleagues may not exactly replicate the effects of hand-rubbing, which through convection might be more effective at spreading the EBD. For flu prevention, both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization recommend hand hygiene practices that include using EBDs for 15-30 seconds. That’s not enough rubbing to prevent IAV transmission, said Hirose. The study wasn’t all bad news: The researchers did identify a hand hygiene strategy that works, also sanctioned by the WHO and CDC. It’s simple: Wash hands, don’t just rub them. Washing hands with antiseptic soap, they found, deactivated the virus within 30 seconds, regardless of whether the mucus remained wet or had dried. Source: mSphere. Original Post https://myosh.com/blog/2019/10/03/hand-washing-more-effective-than-hand-sanitiser/ Renewable Energy Cup Yacht Race Gathers Phenomenal Support 2019-10-08T08:29:15Z renewable-energy-cup-yacht-race-gathers-phenomenal-support The Renewable Energy Cup committee has had a successful few months ahead of their inaugural industry event, a charity yacht race with proceeds going towards Donalea Patman’s AM, organisation “For the Love of Wildlife”.   The Hon. Matt Kean MP, NSW Minister for Energy & the Environment and a vocal supporter of the Australian Renewable Energy industry has confirmed his attendance at the event.   Furthermore, the event also secured their Gold Sponsor. The committee thanks Enel Green Power for being an avid supporter of the Renewable Energy Cup from the start of the process. Hamish Wall, founder and committee member commented by saying, “Enel Green Power is a true global leader in the Renewable Energy sector and a key player involved in Australia’s transition away from fossil fuel to clean generation”. He went on to also say, “as the Gold Sponsor Enel Green Power secures the naming rights, so the event is now known as the Enel Green Power Renewable Energy Cup Yacht Race”.     Javier Blanco, Head of Enel Green Power Australia, said: “Australia’s unique biodiversity, together with its wealth of renewable energy sources, represent true assets that should be preserved and enhanced as they generate tremendous value for the country. Enel’s pursuit of a zero-carbon future shares a common path with the protection of the environment and endangered species. Through our sponsorship of the Renewable Energy Cup, Enel green Power is further underscoring its commitment to sustainability in Australia.”      The event has now been locked down with 25 companies and all available sponsorship positions have been filled, with corporate sponsors Lendlease, Pinsent Masons and KPMG, along with Canadian Solar and Signal Energy secured as silver sponsors, and Longi, Vestas, SMEC and Consolidated Power Projects coming on board as bronze sponsors.   The event promises to be a fun-filled day of friendly competition between industry colleagues, and is a key opportunity to celebrate the success of the Renewable Energy Industry in Australia. About Enel Green Power Enel Green Power Australia Pty Ltd, is a part of the Enel Group’s global business line Enel Green Power, and a Sydney-based owner and operator of renewable energy plants in Australia with projects both operating and under development currently in 4 Australian States. Enel Green Power is the global business line of the Enel Group dedicated to the development and operation of renewables across the world, with a presence in Europe, the Americas, Asia, Africa and Oceania. Enel Green Power is a global leader in the green energy sector with a managed capacity of more than 43 GW across a generation mix that includes wind, solar, geothermal and hydropower, and is at the forefront of integrating innovative technologies into renewable power plants.   Microba and Google Cloud use innovation and AI to level up gut microbiome testing 2019-10-03T23:39:28Z microba-and-google-cloud-use-innovation-and-ai-to-level-up-gut-microbiome-testing-1 CEO of gut health testing specialists Microba, Blake Wills, presented at the Google Cloud Summit in Sydney last week to share how working with global powerhouse Google Cloud allowed the startup to combine expert scientific knowledge with high-powered analytics and machine learning capabilities. In March this year Microba first announced it had turned to hyperscale computing from Google Cloud to expand Microba’s capabilities within Australia and overseas in the microbiome research and biotechnology fields. Since Microba launched its customer test, Microba Insight™ in June 2018, over 10,000 samples have been pushed through their proprietary bioinformatics pipeline – Metagenomic Analysis Platform (MAP™). The collaboration with Google Cloud and Partner Max Kelsen has thus far reduced storage costs by 20 per cent, allowed for computing scalability up to thousands of CPUs when processing is required and down to zero when not, moved workload storage into cloud native architecture and reduced time for sequence run processing from 48 hours to under 12 hours. Mr Wills said that working with Google Cloud allowed the company to bring the best cloud engineering talent together to optimise the use of Google Cloud services. “The use of Cloud Storage for production pipelines and data storage is recognised as an important business requirement to keep Cloud Storage costs down for a small startup that relies heavily on using 100TBs of data,” he said. “Microba has enabled thousands of customers in Australia to grasp a deeper understanding of their gut microbiome and provided diet-based interventions to make a positive change since launch. “Microba has also assisted practitioners to use new insights and world-leading research to assist in making informed decisions for patient health.” The world-leading biotech are building the world’s largest database of metagenomic gut microbiome samples and assisted health and lifestyle data using innovative technology. Microba’s Lead Bioinformatician Dr David Wood said that as the database grows, Google Cloud’s machine learning technology will be used to identify increasing numbers of significant associations between specific microorganisms and genes which can accurately predict different disease states. “Deploying artificial intelligence allows us to explore complex relationships between bacteria and human health, delivering promising leads for new diagnostic tools using the gut microbiome and AI,” he said. “Providing computing at the scale and elasticity required by Microba was an exciting challenge for Max Kelsen, by leveraging Google Cloud Platform’s particular capabilities, including specific instance sizing and high throughput networking, and Kubernetes, we achieved a state that ticks the technical requirements at the same time as delivering significant cost reductions,” CEO and Co-founder of Max Kelsen, Nicholas Therkelsen-Terry said. Colin Timm, ANZ Country Director of Google Cloud said, “Genomic data is growing significantly and we’re honoured to play a role in the work Microba and Max Kelsen are doing to accelerate breakthroughs in gut microbiome research.” Microba’s MAP™ is up for the Brisbane Lord Mayor’s Award for Product Innovation in October 2019.   ENDS Brisbane-based Microba partners with UNSW Sydney’s Microbiome Research Centre to deliver world-class analysis 2019-09-23T05:54:02Z brisbane-based-microba-partners-with-unsw-sydney-s-microbiome-research-centre-to-deliver-world-class-analysis Australia’s leading gut microbiome testing specialists Microba have partnered with the Microbiome Research Centre (MRC) at UNSW to power new gut microbiome research to discover new links with disease states and potential therapeutics. The collaboration between Microba and the MRC combines world-class microbiome analysis with leading clinicians and scientists, sharing a vision to not only discover new links with disease states, but with the ultimate goal of developing new diagnostics and therapies to help patients. Launched in 2018, Microba is leading the way with next generation analysis investigating the role the gut microbiome plays in overall health. MRC held its official opening 12 August and will investigate how disturbance in the microbiome occurs and how it causes disease – a critical step in preventing it. Microba co-founder and microbiome research pioneer, Professor Phil Hugenholtz welcomed the partnership, explaining that this opportunity would enable some of Australia’s best researchers to access the best analytical tools available. “We hope that by furthering our knowledge of the gut microbiome, we will be able to improve the health and wellbeing of individuals. This collaboration allows all parties involved to contribute to this vision,” he said. “With at least half of the population complaining of a digestive issue each year, high-powered research is essential to provide diagnostics and therapeutics into the future.” The MRC is directed by UNSW Medicine Professor Emad El-Omar, a well recognised clinical gastroenterologist specialist with 20 years of gut microbiome research experience.  Professor El-Omar is also the Editor in Chief of the highly reputable journal, Gut. “We are delighted to collaborate with Microba, a company underpinned by outstanding scientists at the cutting edge of research in the microbiome field,” he said. “Our complementary strengths will deliver real benefits to patients the world over. “The microbiome is an exciting new frontier in medicine and together we will harness its power to treat and prevent disease.” Microba’s team were pleased to host Professor El-Omar on a tour of the Microba lab when he spoke at Brisbane’s Translational Research Institute on 13 August.   ENDS Gut health testing biotech Microba up for the 2019 Lord Mayor’s Innovation Award 2019-09-23T05:46:14Z gut-health-testing-biotech-microba-up-for-the-2019-lord-mayor-s-innovation-award Brisbane-based world leaders in metagenomic testing, Microba, are among 56 finalists competing for a Lord Mayor’s Award in October this year, as a finalist in the product innovation category. Microba are one of five finalists for the 2019 Queensland Urban Utilities Award for Product Innovation for their Metagenomic Analysis Platform (MAP™) which provides quality, high-resolution analysis of the human gut microbiome. MAP™ is the company’s own proprietary sample processing and bioinformatic analysis pipeline which uses the gold standard in gut microbiome processing – metagenomic DNA sequencing – to provide a significant innovation to industry. Launched in 2018, Microba has grown rapidly in the last 14 months, with over 7,000 Australians exploring their gut bacteria, several key research projects underway with respected partners and well-known investors such as Korea’s Macrogen. CEO Blake Wills said that the company was pleased to be a finalist in the Lord Mayor’s Awards and looked forward to attending the Awards dinner to see who took out the awards for each category. “Microba is a home-grown innovative start up in Brisbane, and it’s great to see our contribution to industry and the local business community being recognised by our Lord Mayor,” he said. “MAP™ provides customers with affordable access to deep information about the gut microbiome that was previously not readily accessible. “The information we are accessing through MAP™ is advancing our understanding of how the gut microbiome influences health and will accelerate the discovery of new diagnostics and therapeutics.” Brisbane’s Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner said in his official press release that there was an incredibly strong group of finalists this year. “These businesses and individuals make a positive impact on our local economy and community, but also internationally with ground-breaking research, products and services,” he said. The Lord Mayor’s Awards will be announced on 18 October at a Gala Dinner held in Brisbane.   ENDS NASA AND AUSTRALIAN SPACE AGENCY FORM NEW PARTNERSHIP 2019-09-22T00:00:09Z nasa-and-australian-space-agency-form-new-partnership-1 The Space Industry Association of Australia (SIAA) welcomes today’s announcement of a partnership between the Australian Space Agency and NASA, formalising future cooperation in space. “This is a tremendous step forward for Australia’s growing space industry, and will provide a significant injection of funding, which will underpin both jobs and growth in our space sector,” said Mr Drury CSC, Chair of the SIAA. Mr Drury went on to say “The Australian space industry has been growing steadily, as reflected in the exponential growth in our membership. Strong leadership and support from the Federal Government has accelerated this growth in the domestic space industry. A partnership with NASA will provide the next big incremental step needed to ensure continued expansion in the industry, encouraging the development of local skills and expertise and enabling a host of job opportunities for both current and future participants in the space sector, as well as motivating and encouraging our budding space enthusiasts.” We congratulate our Prime Minister the Hon Mr Scott Morrison MP, Minister for Industry Science and Technology the Hon Karen Andrews MP, and the Australian Space Agency on this key initiative which outlines and enables a path for growth for the Australian space industry. Australian Company Boasts 5.0 GPA Internationally-Accredited Space Learning Programs 2019-09-11T05:55:44Z australian-company-boasts-5-0-gpa-internationally-accredited-space-learning-programs-1 SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES – Friday 9 August 2019   ·      Australian company Actura’s California Association for STEAM Education (CASE) International Space School Study Program is a University of California (UC) approved college preparatory course and is 5.0 GPA accredited. ·        Actura’s FlipRobot Program is 5.0 GPA accredited. Australian company Actura’s programs are officially accredited and recognised internationally. The California Association for STEAM Education (CASE) International Space School Study Program is a 5.0 GPA accredited program and has been independently accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), offered through Legend College Preparatory. Actura’s FlipRobot Program can boast the same – with it being 5.0 GPA accredited. Official accreditation demonstrates academically-robust programs. The CASE Space School International Study Program assists students to build a profile and provides universities with evidence students are not just classroom-savvy but that they can learn in a variety of environments. CASE graduates are recognised as having completed a full semester college preparatory course. Students with these internationally-recognised preparatory courses have a competitive advantage over their peers without the same. Students can receive academic transcripts to facilitate their university applications. This is attractive to those students who aspire to demonstrate initiative and innovation to future employers or those who intend to study internationally or apply for internships. Actura is proud to boast and promote its FlipRobot “Comprehensive Robotic STEAM Learning” solution in its FlipRobot offerings as a curriculum that is also 5.0 GPA accredited. As a package, the FlipRobot learning kits in conjunction with the CASE Robotic Curriculum are designed to provide students with essential STEAM skills for their future. Being University of California approved, means public recognition from the United States of America college system. Actura’s diverse programs are broad, covering both out-of-class and in-class environments. The programs are 5.0 GPA accredited, demonstrating academic-robustness. A solid, collegial or university education in a top-tier university is an investment for a student’s entire future. This puts Actura at the forefront of being one of the leading STEAM educational learning solution providers. Established in Australia in 2014, Actura provides the leading STEAM learning solution comprising of in-class to out-of-class solutions. Our FlipRobot range provides the ultimate robotic STEAM learning solution for the in-class environment. Actura continues to seek to fulfil its mission to become the most trusted STEAM education solution provider. With offices in Sydney, Melbourne, Auckland, Shanghai and Taipei and with further international expansion on the horizon, Actura seeks to achieve its mission on a global scale.   Download Logos, Photos and Videos:   Media and Resources File Contact: Actura Australia Nerilee Chen – Marketing and Communications Specialist  Phone: 1300 303 402 | Mobile: 0422 071 905 Email: nerilee.chen@actura.com.au       Company Name: Actura Australia Company Address: Sydney Office - Suite 2B, Level 2, 802 Pacific Highway, Gordon, NSW, 2072 Phone Number: 1300 303 402 Email Address: media@actura.com.au Website Address: http://www.actura.com.au   Vaping Is Ending The Cigarette Industry 2019-09-05T19:18:14Z vaping-is-ending-the-cigarette-industry E-cigarettes were invented by business, not medicine. But as more smokers make the switch, some health experts believe we’ve finally hit on something that could eliminate smoking for good. Electronic cigarettes have become a serious threat to traditional cigarette makers. Many of you reading this article have switched away from smoking traditional cigarettes thanks to vaping, or some of your are about to make the switch and cigarette manufacturers are feeling the pinch. As people are now switching over to vaping on a daily basis the result is. A 16 per cent drop in share prices for the Marlboro manufacturer, which Altria called their “worst day in a decade”. Early last year CNBC Mad Money host Jim Cramer stated that “we saw the market’s sudden recognition that the cigarette industry seems to be in serious trouble, disrupted by the rise of vaping”. The cigarette industry has been falling year-on-year in sales volume for some time now, but in a very predictable manner. Generally the volume sales of cigarettes fall between 3 to 4 per cent each year, which is offset by manufacturers with a price hike. Wells Fargo Securities estimated in 2013 that sales of electronic cigarettes would surpass traditional cigarettes in 2022, but from all the information we have it looks like this could happen a lot earlier. Talking regionally, Australia had the biggest drop at 18.3 per cent. Eastern Europe was down more than ten per cent, and the European Union was down 6.7 per cent. The only gain was made in South and Southeast Asia, up 6.1 per cent. When one-third of worldwide cigarette sales are made in China, that’s not difficult to understand. If you have any questions or would like further information on vaping please send us an email or follow our upcoming articles. See How Local Company Creatively Engages Students in STEAM Effectively 2019-09-02T01:04:30Z see-how-local-company-creatively-engages-students-in-steam-effectively-1 HOUSTON, TEXAS   ·        Local company delivers creative Space School STEAM program. ·        Students are stimulated and inspired through the program’s immersive experiential activities. ·        Unique Space School program empowers youth to pursue STEAM for the future.   Students from schools around the world, including Australia, New Zealand, China and Taiwan recently took part in local company Actura’s CASE Space School program. Over 390 students participated in the fourteen-day expedition at NASA’s headquarters in Houston, Texas. The students have recently returned home engaged, invigorated and inspired by the Space School program which focuses on critical STEAM skills. Through the program’s creative design – a combination of practical and theoretical STEAM-based elements, the students have been empowered for their future success. The fourteen-day CASE Space School program includes Junior and Senior elements for students in Years 7-9 and Years 10-12. For the Juniors, among the activities, students explore NASA’s latest technologies and learn about astronaut training. They participate in practical laboratory activities and perform shark dissections and cellular analysis to understand how the human body survives in space. The Senior program focuses on leadership and management skills and gives students the opportunity to manage a $600 million Mission to Mars Project and to participate in the ChallengeX project to solve real space industry problems. Both programs include presentations from inspirational guest speakers from within the space industry and NASA. The specifically-developed STEAM program aims to broaden the mind, cultivate drive and instill curiosity and the spirit of exploration in the students. The program’s foundation of key learning outcomes is the basis for its success. The program is based on Dr Tony Wagner’s (Harvard University) Seven Survival Skills - Critical Thinking and Problem Solving; Collaboration Across Networks and Leading by Influence; Agility and Adaptability; Initiative and Entrepreneurialism; Effective Oral and Written Communication; Accessing and Analyzing Information and Curiosity and Imagination. Detailed post-tour reviews for all participating schools are currently being conducted, with the aim of ensuring the program’s quality. Surveys and results have been overwhelmingly positive so far. For example, one hundred percent of parents and students from Pittwater School responded to and recommended the Space School program.   “We are again astounded by the phenomenal success of the CASE Space School and the way that the expeditions have continued to inspire our students”. Charles Chung, CEO, Actura “I really enjoyed my experience at Space School. Everyone who talked to us inspired me and motivated me. I feel like I have come out of this experience with a more positive mindset. I also gained a lot of interest in STEAM subjects on the trip. Hearing so many incredible people tell me to follow my dreams, no matter how big they are, was really reassuring and powerful. Overall, I learned so much about STEAM and myself as a person”. Charlotte Walsh, Student, Korowa Anglican Girls’ School “Space School was a very interesting experience for me in which I learnt many ‘firsts’ about space. Doing activities so closely related to what people at NASA or other people involved in space do, as well as meeting those sorts of people, has inspired me to pursue a STEAM career, particularly one which could allow me to work in the space industry later in life”.   Timothy Hugh Barrett, Student, Sydney Church of England Grammar School (Shore)   “The overall experience was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that has given my daughter the knowledge and confidence that she is capable of doing anything that she puts her mind to”.  Tania Thompson, Parent, Senior Space School “Wow! Just again a big thank you to all those involved in taking, caring for, and safely bringing back our now highly inspired, creative and more confident daughter, Lucy. Myself and my husband will never forget this trip. Oh! And just so you know, Lucy has been wearing the NASA & Space Camp T-shirts nearly every day since she’s been back! Love it!!”. Susan Barber, Parent, Junior Space School   Local company Actura has unlocked the key to inspiring our youth to reach their potential. CASE Space School’s high-impact experiential study program has resulted in students returning from the program enlivened and inspired for their future. Offering enriched STEAM activities, inspiring leadership and personal development that is not possible in an in-class learning environment, the CASE Space School is truly a unique experience. Established in Australia in 2014, Actura provides the leading STEAM learning solution comprising of in-class to out-of-class solutions. Actura is the exclusive global partner of the California Association for STEAM Education (CASE). Headquartered in Cupertino, California, CASE was established by educators, industry leaders and entrepreneurs to advocate excellence in STEAM education through the development and implementation of innovative in-classroom curriculum and extra-curricular education programs.   Download Logos, Photos and Videos: Media and Resources CONTACT: Name - Nerilee Chen - Marketing and Communications Specialist Phone - Office: 1300 303 402 | Mobile: 0422 071 905 Email - nerilee.chen@actura.com.au Company Name: Actura Australia Company Address: Sydney Office - Suite 2B, Level 2, 802 Pacific Highway, Gordon, NSW, 2072 Phone Number: 1300 303 402 Email Address: media@actura.com.au Website Address: http://www.actura.com.au