Category Archives: General Interest

1000 words to describe complex stuff, simply!

We tasked our Honours students to explain their research project using the 1000 most common (simple) English words as established by Randall Munroe, e.g. food-heating radio box = a microwave!  See if you can guess their research and what creature/organism they are studying.


GMOs: not just for dinner

By Raphael Eisenhofer

Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are a controversial topic. Broadly speaking, they can be defined as “any organism whose genetic material has been altered using genetic engineering techniques”. In this case, “genetic material” refers to an organism’s DNA, which is the heritable blueprint of life. DNA has four “letters”: A, C, G, and T. Different combinations of these create “words” (called genes) which can be read by our cell’s machinery to build proteins. Proteins are the workhorse molecules of life, performing a diverse set of important tasks in the body, such as producing energy and providing structure to your cells. Continue reading

Recovery and identification of missing servicemen

By Jeremy Austin

As we approach the commemoration of ANZAC Day, we are reminded of the more than 25,000 Australian servicemen missing in action who have yet to be recovered and identified. On the 17th June 1917, British and Australian forces launched an offensive against German lines at Messines in Belgium.  Made famous by the film “Beneath Hill 60” , the Battle of Messines  was one of the most successful campaigns by the Allies on the Western Front during World War 1. However, success came at a terrible price with more than 13,500 Australian casualties. Continue reading

Micro-magicians make the cheese

By Raphael Eisenhofer

Microbes get a bad rap. Like many things in life, we focus on their negative aspects—ignoring the positives. While some microbes can make us sick, most of them do not, and many actually help us! One tasty example of humans and microbes working together is the production of cheese.


Fig. 1: A tiny subset of the varieties of cheese! Credit:

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