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Dwindling resources and radical environmental change is putting access to essential services like food and water at risk, according to the Victorian Eco-Innovation Lab (VEIL).

The University of Melbourne’s Department of Forest and Ecosystem Science has recently welcomed their new Head of Department, Associate Professor Gerd Bossinger, a leading expert in tree genetics, to be based at the Creswick campus. The department is Australia’s largest combined research, development and education provider dedicated to forests, forest products and forested landscapes, and is based in the Melbourne School of Land and Environment.

Electricity providers and governments need to do more to change how people think if more people are to take up green electricity, according to a new study.

A new study has revealed that lizard, snake and frog populations in Melbourne have declined dramatically since human settlement, and in order to conserve our reptiles and amphibians it is the quality, and not just the quantity of habitat that will help maintain biodiversity in our cities.

University of Melbourne mathematicians have developed a software tool to help maximize investment and minimize the cost of carbon emissions compliance.

Increased numbers of students applying for the University of Melbourne's Bachelor of Science shows that students believe science is important to the future of our society, according to the Dean of the Faculty, Professor Robert Saint.

"The dramatically increased demand for Science at the University of Melbourne tells us...that students are recognising the importance of science to the future of our society, and that they recognise the quality of science education and research going on at the University of Melbourne."

Just over 5700 students will receive an offer of a Commonwealth Supported Place at the University of Melbourne when first round offers are released this afternoon.

For full details about the University's offers, please go to the media release here: http://newsroom.melbourne.edu/news/n-232.

Have you received an offer and want to share your excitment? Head to the University of Melbourne's official Facebook page http://bit.ly/unimelb.

Researchers are a step closer to developing new antimalarial drugs after discovering the normal function of a set of proteins related to the malaria parasite protein, which causes resistance to the front-line drug chloroquine. The findings also provide a novel tool for studying the malarial chloroquine-resistance factor.

Leading Australian researchers have welcomed an announcement today by the Australian Government of $42M in funding for the development of a bionic eye capable of restoring vision to the blind.

Bionic Vision Australia is a consortium including the University of Melbourne, the University of New South Wales, the Bionic Ear Institute, Centre for Eye Research Australia and NICTA. The project is also supported by researchers from the Australian National University and the University of Western Sydney.

 Bionic Vision Australia Chairman, Professor Emeritus David Penington AC says the consortium is honoured to have been selected by the Australian Research Council for this funding.

 “This opportunity will allow our team to use its outstanding know-how and expertise to develop a functioning retinal implant that will deliver profound benefits to sufferers of degenerative vision loss such as retinitis pigmentosa and age-related macular degeneration,” he says.

 Research Director of Bionic Vision Australia and Professor of Engineering at the University of Melbourne, Professor Anthony Burkitt, says the research program to develop a retinal implant is ambitious but that the expertise in the team makes it achievable.

 The new device will use a video camera - fixed to a patient’s glasses - to capture images which are then translated into electrical impulses that stimulate electrodes inserted into the retina. The resulting electrical impulses stimulate the same area of the retina usually activated by visual cues, and over time the patient learns to interpret these nerve signals as useful vision.

 Professor Nigel Lovell from UNSW’s Graduate School of Biomedical Engineering says this funding means life-changing bionic vision is now a step closer.

Head of the Macular Research Unit at the Centre for Eye Research Australia (CERA), and Professor of Ophthalmology at the University of Melbourne, Dr Robyn Guymer says the new device will provide a greater benefit for patients than existing bionic eyes. “This advanced bionic eye will not only provide users with increased mobility and independence, but hopefully also enable them to recognize faces and read large print,” she says.

 Professor Rob Shepherd, the Director of the Bionic Ear Institute, says that Australia has been a world leader in medical bionics with the development of the bionic ear.  “The funding announced today by Senator Carr promises to continue our nation’s leadership in innovation, discovery and commercialization in medical bionics”, he says.

 Chief Executive Officer of Australia’s Information and Communications Technology Research Centre of Excellence (NICTA) Dr David Skellern, says he is thrilled that NICTA will be applying its advanced microelectronics and visual signal processing expertise to the bionic eye device development program. NICTA will collaborate with other BVA members to develop the implant’s hardware, communications and visual processing system.

 The first human implant is likely to occur in 2013 and take place at the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital in Melbourne. 

 

Victorian researchers have warned that plans to extend Melbourne’s urban growth boundary could destroy important conservation areas.

Thousands of pairs of female twins are needed for a world-first cervical cancer study.
More than 7000 pairs of female twins from around Australia are needed to help explore the link between cervical cancer and the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV).

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