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Eavesdrop on Experts

University of Melbourne

6
Followers
24
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Eavesdrop on Experts

Eavesdrop on Experts

University of Melbourne

6
Followers
24
Plays
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About Us

Overhear researchers talk about what they do and why they do it. Hear them obsess, confess and profess - changing the world one experiment, one paper and one interview at a time. Listen in as seasoned eavesdropper Chris Hatzis follows reporters Dr Andi Horvath and Steve Grimwade on their meetings with magnificent minds. Made possible by the University of Melbourne.

Latest Episodes

The tiny world of peptides

"As humans we tend to think in pictures, so using that approach you could think of peptides as segments of protein," says Dr Troy Attard, from the Melbourne Protein Characterisation platform at the Bio21 Institute at the University of Melbourne. "You can think of protein like a ball of twine, a long linear string that is all scrunched up into a ball or various shapes. If you took a pair of scissors and snipped little bits of a segment of that string, that would be your peptide," Dr Attard says. "They're basically short proteins, which are chains of amino acids that are joined head to tail, a little bit like links in a chain." Dr Attard explains that insulin is an example of a peptide, it's two peptide chains that are joined by a couple of bridges. "There are a lot of small proteins that you would consider peptides and they have all manner of functions in the body including metabolism and communication." Dr Attard synthesises, or makes, specific peptides for research. "You can manipu...

22 min1 w ago
Comments
The tiny world of peptides

The brain benefits of music

"The experience of music is really a whole-brain activity," says Professor Sarah Wilson, Head of the Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences at the University of Melbourne. "When we're listening to music, what we see when we put people in the scanner is that large areas of their brain light up - both hemispheres. That's because music involves many different networks or systems in the brain," Professor Wilson says. "There's all sorts of debate in the research literature as to why we are even musical," she adds. "When we think about music, it is something unique to being human. Other species, animals, they don't really use music in the way that we do. They might have song, or calls, but these are more simple, for mating purposes, or the like." "No other species uses a complex musical system like we do." Professor Wilson explains that while you're listening to music, you're giving your brain a general workout. "You're not only exercising the music-related bits, you're also exercisin...

28 min3 w ago
Comments
The brain benefits of music

New targets for epilepsy treatment

Associate Professor Chris Reid was working as a hospital pharmacist when he saw a series of patients in a neurological ward who were not treatable. "I thought well I can only do so much as a pharmacist. I would like to actually do something at a more fundamental level," says Associate Professor Reid, Principal Research Fellow, member of Faculty and Head of the Neurophysiology of Excitable Networks Laboratory at the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health. "I've been very fortunate to be part of the genetic revolution which was started by Professor Sam Berkovic and Professor Ingrid Scheffer from the University of Melbourne. I joined Professor Steve Petrou's lab at a time when that was very new. "Things have moved incredibly quickly over the last 25 years, which is when the first epilepsy gene was discovered, to a point now where gene therapy is becoming a reality." Associate Professor Reid is currently developing a new treatment for epilepsy. His research project is part o...

16 minSEP 16
Comments
New targets for epilepsy treatment

The state of democracy, before and during COVID-19

"We're facing what has been called this global democratic recession," says Associate Professor Tom Daly, Deputy Director of the Melbourne School of Government at the University of Melbourne and Associate Director of the Edinburgh Centre for Constitutional Law at the University of Edinburgh. "What we had for decades was - especially from the mid-1970s, was an overwhelming trend - it wasn't the universal trend, but an overwhelming trend towards democracy becoming more widespread, globally," he says. "But if you look at every major democracy assessment organisation, they all started to register declines from about 2005 onwards. We're not dealing with the old fashioned sort of issues like military coup d'état, we're looking at a deterioration of democracy that happens step by step, some people call it death by a thousand cuts." Associate Professor Daly explains that the trend in recent years is a narrative that democracies are inefficient, that they're incapable of producing public goo...

29 minSEP 2
Comments
The state of democracy, before and during COVID-19

Catching sight of dark matter

"I would say we have millions of dark matter particles passing through our bodies every day, continuously," says Elisabetta Barberio, Professor of Physics at the University of Melbourne and the Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Dark Matter Particle Physics. "The dark matter particle gets its name because it doesn't emit light. So, if you have a telescope, you cannot see it. But it does not only not emit light in the visible spectrum, it doesn't emit any electromagnetic radiation, so radio waves, infrared, ultraviolet. "No matter which kind of astronomical instrument you try to look at the sky, you cannot see it," Professor Barberio says. She explains that we know that galaxies have been formed at a certain time in the history of the universe, and they've been formed where there were pockets of this dark matter. So, we know that dark matter is there. "To catch dark matter that is all around us in the galaxy, we need to go deep underground because we don't want all these co...

25 minAUG 19
Comments
Catching sight of dark matter

Why are there so few drugs to treat viruses?

"There just aren't that many different ways we can think of to attack viruses." This is according to Associate Professor Stuart Ralph, Acting Head of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in the School of Biomedical Sciences at the University of Melbourne. "We've got lots and lots of drugs for parasites and bacteria, which have lots of potentially susceptible targets, but in the case of viruses - there aren't that many things that they actually do. "So we're limited to a handful, maybe only a dozen, discrete processes... that would cause the virus to either stop replicating or stop our bodies getting sick because they've got virus inside them." Dr Craig Morton is a Senior Research Fellow, based at the Bio21 Molecular Science & Biotechnology Institute at the University of Melbourne. He says "In the case of COVID-19, [the drugs] remdesivir and dexamethasone have both been shown to have significant impacts on medical outcomes." "Remdesivir is a drug that targets viral re...

25 minAUG 5
Comments
Why are there so few drugs to treat viruses?

Launching the SpIRIT satellite

"If you think about the history of humanity, exploring new frontiers has always been a key driver of our pursuit for knowledge and I think it reflects intrinsic curiosity of us as a species," says Associate Professor Michele Trenti from the University of Melbourne's School of Physics. "Space today is the ultimate frontier for exploration... looking up at the night sky seeing stars, planets and wondering what is our place in the cosmos. "That's the part that took me towards being today at the University of Melbourne studying the universe and how we can build small satellites to help us with that." Professor Trenti is the lead investigator of the Space Industry Responsive Intelligent Thermal satellite or SpIRIT satellite - a joint project between the Australian Space Agency, Australian space industry companies and the Italian Space Agency. Dr Airlie Chapman is a senior lecturer in mechatronics from the Melbourne School of Engineering at the University of Melbourne and co-investigator ...

28 minJUL 22
Comments
Launching the SpIRIT satellite

How better data on death can improve lives

"You don't know what health problems a population has unless you can measure them, and that's what I try to do," says Alan Lopez, Laureate Professor of Global Health at the Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, University of Melbourne. "If you're going to improve a population's health, then you need to know which are the leading causes of death, and particularly which ones are increasing so that you can match interventions to those health problems," he says. Professor Lopez specialises in descriptive epidemiology, which looks at not the causes, but the measurement of disease and mortality patterns in populations. He says getting the measurement right on lung cancer, heart disease, COVID-19, measles, TB or road traffic accidents, matters a lot to health policy. "If you can demonstrate that death rates from a particular condition or disease are rising rapidly, or falling rapidly, then you're either doing something wrong, or something right and policy can be calibrated acco...

21 minJUL 8
Comments
How better data on death can improve lives

Towards faster treatment for major depressive disorder

Major depressive disorder is common and costly - one in seven Australians will experience depression in their lifetime. So understanding what's going on in the brain and using that knowledge to identify new, faster-acting therapeutic strategies for treatment makes sense. "Our job is to record the electrical activity of nerve cells, the excitable cells in the brain, by way of eavesdropping on their function," says Professor Scott Thompson, Professor and Chair of the Department of Physiology and Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. "Our research is focused on the neurobiology of depression, what goes wrong in the brain when there is a case of depression and we would like to use that knowledge to offer up ideas for better, more effective, faster acting antidepressant drug treatments," he says. While current antidepressants - that include SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors) like Prozac - are effective in two thirds of patients, they typic...

21 minJUN 24
Comments
Towards faster treatment for major depressive disorder

What's behind COVID-19 conspiracy theories?

"The work on conspiracy theories surprises me every day because I'm troubled by the general lack of trust in so many institutions - political and health institutions - that have been trusted for a long time," says Dr Robin Canniford, Senior Lecturer in Management and Marketing in the Faculty of Business and Economics at the University of Melbourne. "As to why this is happening now, I would draw on the climate of fear that people are experiencing," Dr Canniford says. "In addition to the fight or flight response that we know psychologically as a response to fear, I think one thing that humans tend to do is to make up stories to rationalise that which they afraid of and that which they can't control." But Dr Canniford adds that some of the questions raised by the public are fair and relevant. "If we take the United Kingdom as an example, the SAGE Committee -the group of scientists who were put together to advise on the response to COVID-19 - remained a closed shop. Now the questions th...

29 minJUN 10
Comments
What's behind COVID-19 conspiracy theories?

Latest Episodes

The tiny world of peptides

"As humans we tend to think in pictures, so using that approach you could think of peptides as segments of protein," says Dr Troy Attard, from the Melbourne Protein Characterisation platform at the Bio21 Institute at the University of Melbourne. "You can think of protein like a ball of twine, a long linear string that is all scrunched up into a ball or various shapes. If you took a pair of scissors and snipped little bits of a segment of that string, that would be your peptide," Dr Attard says. "They're basically short proteins, which are chains of amino acids that are joined head to tail, a little bit like links in a chain." Dr Attard explains that insulin is an example of a peptide, it's two peptide chains that are joined by a couple of bridges. "There are a lot of small proteins that you would consider peptides and they have all manner of functions in the body including metabolism and communication." Dr Attard synthesises, or makes, specific peptides for research. "You can manipu...

22 min1 w ago
Comments
The tiny world of peptides

The brain benefits of music

"The experience of music is really a whole-brain activity," says Professor Sarah Wilson, Head of the Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences at the University of Melbourne. "When we're listening to music, what we see when we put people in the scanner is that large areas of their brain light up - both hemispheres. That's because music involves many different networks or systems in the brain," Professor Wilson says. "There's all sorts of debate in the research literature as to why we are even musical," she adds. "When we think about music, it is something unique to being human. Other species, animals, they don't really use music in the way that we do. They might have song, or calls, but these are more simple, for mating purposes, or the like." "No other species uses a complex musical system like we do." Professor Wilson explains that while you're listening to music, you're giving your brain a general workout. "You're not only exercising the music-related bits, you're also exercisin...

28 min3 w ago
Comments
The brain benefits of music

New targets for epilepsy treatment

Associate Professor Chris Reid was working as a hospital pharmacist when he saw a series of patients in a neurological ward who were not treatable. "I thought well I can only do so much as a pharmacist. I would like to actually do something at a more fundamental level," says Associate Professor Reid, Principal Research Fellow, member of Faculty and Head of the Neurophysiology of Excitable Networks Laboratory at the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health. "I've been very fortunate to be part of the genetic revolution which was started by Professor Sam Berkovic and Professor Ingrid Scheffer from the University of Melbourne. I joined Professor Steve Petrou's lab at a time when that was very new. "Things have moved incredibly quickly over the last 25 years, which is when the first epilepsy gene was discovered, to a point now where gene therapy is becoming a reality." Associate Professor Reid is currently developing a new treatment for epilepsy. His research project is part o...

16 minSEP 16
Comments
New targets for epilepsy treatment

The state of democracy, before and during COVID-19

"We're facing what has been called this global democratic recession," says Associate Professor Tom Daly, Deputy Director of the Melbourne School of Government at the University of Melbourne and Associate Director of the Edinburgh Centre for Constitutional Law at the University of Edinburgh. "What we had for decades was - especially from the mid-1970s, was an overwhelming trend - it wasn't the universal trend, but an overwhelming trend towards democracy becoming more widespread, globally," he says. "But if you look at every major democracy assessment organisation, they all started to register declines from about 2005 onwards. We're not dealing with the old fashioned sort of issues like military coup d'état, we're looking at a deterioration of democracy that happens step by step, some people call it death by a thousand cuts." Associate Professor Daly explains that the trend in recent years is a narrative that democracies are inefficient, that they're incapable of producing public goo...

29 minSEP 2
Comments
The state of democracy, before and during COVID-19

Catching sight of dark matter

"I would say we have millions of dark matter particles passing through our bodies every day, continuously," says Elisabetta Barberio, Professor of Physics at the University of Melbourne and the Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Dark Matter Particle Physics. "The dark matter particle gets its name because it doesn't emit light. So, if you have a telescope, you cannot see it. But it does not only not emit light in the visible spectrum, it doesn't emit any electromagnetic radiation, so radio waves, infrared, ultraviolet. "No matter which kind of astronomical instrument you try to look at the sky, you cannot see it," Professor Barberio says. She explains that we know that galaxies have been formed at a certain time in the history of the universe, and they've been formed where there were pockets of this dark matter. So, we know that dark matter is there. "To catch dark matter that is all around us in the galaxy, we need to go deep underground because we don't want all these co...

25 minAUG 19
Comments
Catching sight of dark matter

Why are there so few drugs to treat viruses?

"There just aren't that many different ways we can think of to attack viruses." This is according to Associate Professor Stuart Ralph, Acting Head of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in the School of Biomedical Sciences at the University of Melbourne. "We've got lots and lots of drugs for parasites and bacteria, which have lots of potentially susceptible targets, but in the case of viruses - there aren't that many things that they actually do. "So we're limited to a handful, maybe only a dozen, discrete processes... that would cause the virus to either stop replicating or stop our bodies getting sick because they've got virus inside them." Dr Craig Morton is a Senior Research Fellow, based at the Bio21 Molecular Science & Biotechnology Institute at the University of Melbourne. He says "In the case of COVID-19, [the drugs] remdesivir and dexamethasone have both been shown to have significant impacts on medical outcomes." "Remdesivir is a drug that targets viral re...

25 minAUG 5
Comments
Why are there so few drugs to treat viruses?

Launching the SpIRIT satellite

"If you think about the history of humanity, exploring new frontiers has always been a key driver of our pursuit for knowledge and I think it reflects intrinsic curiosity of us as a species," says Associate Professor Michele Trenti from the University of Melbourne's School of Physics. "Space today is the ultimate frontier for exploration... looking up at the night sky seeing stars, planets and wondering what is our place in the cosmos. "That's the part that took me towards being today at the University of Melbourne studying the universe and how we can build small satellites to help us with that." Professor Trenti is the lead investigator of the Space Industry Responsive Intelligent Thermal satellite or SpIRIT satellite - a joint project between the Australian Space Agency, Australian space industry companies and the Italian Space Agency. Dr Airlie Chapman is a senior lecturer in mechatronics from the Melbourne School of Engineering at the University of Melbourne and co-investigator ...

28 minJUL 22
Comments
Launching the SpIRIT satellite

How better data on death can improve lives

"You don't know what health problems a population has unless you can measure them, and that's what I try to do," says Alan Lopez, Laureate Professor of Global Health at the Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, University of Melbourne. "If you're going to improve a population's health, then you need to know which are the leading causes of death, and particularly which ones are increasing so that you can match interventions to those health problems," he says. Professor Lopez specialises in descriptive epidemiology, which looks at not the causes, but the measurement of disease and mortality patterns in populations. He says getting the measurement right on lung cancer, heart disease, COVID-19, measles, TB or road traffic accidents, matters a lot to health policy. "If you can demonstrate that death rates from a particular condition or disease are rising rapidly, or falling rapidly, then you're either doing something wrong, or something right and policy can be calibrated acco...

21 minJUL 8
Comments
How better data on death can improve lives

Towards faster treatment for major depressive disorder

Major depressive disorder is common and costly - one in seven Australians will experience depression in their lifetime. So understanding what's going on in the brain and using that knowledge to identify new, faster-acting therapeutic strategies for treatment makes sense. "Our job is to record the electrical activity of nerve cells, the excitable cells in the brain, by way of eavesdropping on their function," says Professor Scott Thompson, Professor and Chair of the Department of Physiology and Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. "Our research is focused on the neurobiology of depression, what goes wrong in the brain when there is a case of depression and we would like to use that knowledge to offer up ideas for better, more effective, faster acting antidepressant drug treatments," he says. While current antidepressants - that include SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors) like Prozac - are effective in two thirds of patients, they typic...

21 minJUN 24
Comments
Towards faster treatment for major depressive disorder

What's behind COVID-19 conspiracy theories?

"The work on conspiracy theories surprises me every day because I'm troubled by the general lack of trust in so many institutions - political and health institutions - that have been trusted for a long time," says Dr Robin Canniford, Senior Lecturer in Management and Marketing in the Faculty of Business and Economics at the University of Melbourne. "As to why this is happening now, I would draw on the climate of fear that people are experiencing," Dr Canniford says. "In addition to the fight or flight response that we know psychologically as a response to fear, I think one thing that humans tend to do is to make up stories to rationalise that which they afraid of and that which they can't control." But Dr Canniford adds that some of the questions raised by the public are fair and relevant. "If we take the United Kingdom as an example, the SAGE Committee -the group of scientists who were put together to advise on the response to COVID-19 - remained a closed shop. Now the questions th...

29 minJUN 10
Comments
What's behind COVID-19 conspiracy theories?
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