Monthly Archives: July 2015

e-Science article “Bad Breath and Laser Combs” by Dr James Anstie and Prof Andre Luiten

What does bad breath say about you?

The first thing that comes into your head is probably something like: “I should really brush my teeth,” and that may well be true! But your breath can tell us more about what is happening inside your body than you might think. Read the full article in e-Science

Dr James Anstie

Dr James Anstie

Prof Andre Luiten

Prof Andre Luiten

Issue 14 of e-Science out now!
In the new and exciting issue of e-Science, discover:

  • How our understanding of soil can help manage recovery after a bushfire
  • Naracoorte’s fossil caves and what they reveal about past biodiversity
  • The battle to stop antibiotic resistant bacteria
  • How lasers and bad breath can help detect diseases early

Plus the latest breakthroughs, classroom resources, and useful apps and websites. Download it now!


Mr Henry Pepper – 2015 Reaxys PhD Prize finalist

Mr Henry Pepper

Mr Henry Pepper

Chemistry student Henry Pepper has been selected as one of the finalists for the 2015 Reaxys PhD Prize, from over 450 submissions around the world. Henry is the only finalist from an Australian university and he will attend the Reaxys PhD Prize Symposium in Hong Kong in September 2015.

Mr John Horsley awarded Deans Commendation for Doctoral Thesis Excellence

Mr John Horsley

Mr John Horsley

Mr John Horsley has been awarded a ‘Deans Commendation for Doctoral Thesis Excellence’ for his PhD thesis ‘The Effects of Macrocyclic Constraints on Electron Transfer in Peptides’.

Dr Jonathan George awarded the RACI Athel Beckwith Lectureship for 2015

Dr Jonathan George

Dr Jonathan George

Dr Jonathan George has been awarded the Royal Australian Chemical Institute (RACI) Athel Beckwith Lectureship for 2015. This is an annual funded lectureship to allow outstanding, recently appointed, organic chemists to travel around Australia and present the results of their research work. The objective is to provide the Lecturer with the opportunity to achieve broader recognition and exposure at an early stage in their career.

Prof Mark Hutchinson awarded 2015 James McWha Award of Excellence


Prof Mark Hutchinson

Professor Mark Hutchinson, Theme Leader for IPAS’s Biological Sensing and Medical Diagnostics Theme and CNBP Director, has been awarded a 2015 James McWha Award of Excellence. This award recognises outstanding alumni who have graduated from the University of Adelaide within the past 15 years and are making a significant contribution as emerging leaders within their profession or their community.

University of Adelaide YouTube clip of Dr James Anstie’s Optical Breath Analysis

IPAS researchers including Dr James Anstie are developing a laser system for fast, non-invasive, onsite breath analysis for disease, potentially enabling screening for a range of diseases including diabetes, infections and various cancers in the future. Dr Anstie is working in the Precision Measurement group under Professor Andre Luiten, IPAS Director and Chair of Experimental Physics in the School of Physical Sciences.

Optical ‘dog’s nose’ may hold key to breath analysis

Dr James Anstie

Dr James Anstie

IPAS researchers including Dr James Anstie are developing a laser system for fast, non-invasive, onsite breath analysis for disease, potentially enabling screening for a range of diseases including diabetes, infections and various cancers in the future. Dr Anstie is working in the Precision Measurement group under Professor Andre Luiten, IPAS Director and Chair of Experimental Physics in the School of Physical Sciences.

The researchers have developed an instrument they equate to an “optical dog’s nose” which uses a special laser to measure the molecular content of a sample of gas.
“Rather than sniffing out a variety of smells as a dog would, the laser system uses light to “sense” the range of molecules that are present in the sample,” says Dr James Anstie, Australian Research Council (ARC) Research Fellow with the University’s Institute for Photonics and Advanced Sensing (IPAS).

“Those molecules are by-products of metabolic processes in the body and their levels change when things go wrong. There have been good studies undertaken around the world which show that diseases like lung and oesophageal cancer, asthma and diabetes can be detected in this way, even before external symptoms are showing.”

Breath analysis is a relatively new field being pursued around the world. But the system being developed offers almost-instant results, high sensitivity and the ability to test for a range of molecules at once ─ making it promising for broadscale health screening.

Published in the journal Optics Express, Dr Anstie and colleagues including Masters student Nicolas Bourbeau Herbert, PhD student Sarah Scholten, senior research associate Dr Richard White and IPAS director Professor Andre Luiten detail their use of optical spectroscopy to detect the light-absorption patterns of different molecules, with high levels of accuracy and speed.

The system uses a specialised laser – an optical frequency comb – that sends up to a million different light frequencies through the sample in parallel. Each molecule absorbs light at different optical frequencies and therefore has a unique molecular fingerprint. “We now have a robust system to be able to detect the presence and concentrations of molecules in a sample,” says Dr Anstie. “The next step is to work out how to accurately sample and interpret the levels which will naturally vary from person to person.”

Dr Anstie believes the group will have a working prototype in 2-3 years and a commercial “plug and play” product could be available in 3-5 years. Other potential applications include measuring trace gasses, such as atmospheric carbon dioxide, and detecting impurities in natural gas streams.

The research is funded through the ARC, the Premier’s Research and Industry Fund and a South Australian Government Catalyst Research Grant.

University of Adelaide Media Release

Dr James Anstie being interviewed by Channel 7

Dr James Anstie being interviewed by Channel 7 in the Precision Measurement Laboratory

Prof Andre Luiten

Prof Andre Luiten

Position Available: Chair of BioPhotonics, Centre for Nanoscale BioPhotonics

Job no: 493717
Work type: Continuing – Full-time
Location: Adelaide
Categories: Faculty of Health Sciences

  • Prestigious international university
  • ARC Centre of Excellence
  • Wide range of employee benefits
  • Career development opportunities

The University of Adelaide is one of Australia’s leading Group of Eight, research-intensive universities and is consistently ranked among the top 1% of universities in the world. Established in 1874, it is Australia’s third oldest university with a strong reputation for preparing educated leaders and delivering research outcomes that contribute to local, national and global wellbeing.

The University of Adelaide is seeking to appoint an outstanding individual at Professorial level to the position of Chair of BioPhotonics within the ARC Centre of Excellence for Nanoscale BioPhotonics.

The Centre (2014-2021) is a $38 million collaboration between the University of Adelaide, Macquarie University and RMIT University in partnership with 11 other international institutions. The mission of the Centre is to discover new approaches to the measurement of nano-scale dynamic phenomena in living systems.

CNBP researchers are driving the development of new devices to measure and sense at a nanoscale level – providing new ways of understanding cellular processes within the human body.  The Centre brings together expertise in physics, material science, chemistry, biochemistry, embryology, neuroscience and cardiovascular science – to work in a truly transdisciplinary environment.

The CNBP is seeking a Chair of BioPhotonics to join the team to lead the BioPhotonics portion of Centre activities. In addition the successful candidate will be offered a leadership role in the Biological Sensing and Medical Diagnostics theme of the Institute for Photonics and Advanced Sensing.

Position requirements

To be successful you should have:

  • An outstanding international research record in a field relevant to BioPhotonics, as evidenced by publications, citations, competitive grant success and recognition by the international/national science communities.
  • Experience in the translation of BioPhotonics to biological applications in a transdisciplinary environment.
  • Demonstrated proven record of building and leading effective research teams, working collaboratively across sectors and disciplines.
    Well-developed communication skills.
  • Demonstrated ability to provide leadership in a research organisation.

The Chair of BioPhotonics is a tenurable Professorial position with a generous start up package.

Please address and upload your responses to the full list of selection criteria. If you have any queries regarding this position, please contact Prof Mark Hutchinson, Director, CNBP; telephone: +61 8 8313 0322 or email: Further information, position description and selection criteria.

Recently Published Research by IPAS member Mel Mcdowall

Redox and anti-oxidant state within cattle oocytes following in vitro maturation with bone morphogenetic protein 15 and follicle stimulating hormone

We demonstrated that the metabolic activity of cattle oocytes (eggs) varies in response to different hormones and growth factors, namely follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and bone morphogenetic protein 15 (BMP15), two common additives used to culture oocytes in vitro. Specifically, BMP15 influences the activity and characteristics of mitochondria (the power stations of the cell) in a manner that is associated with improved health of oocytes and subsequent embryos.

This study is unique in that custom made, fluorescence markers of metabolism, plus autofluorescence (the natural glow of cells, hence no chemicals were used to create the signal) were used to not only look at the total activity of the cells, but the localisation of activity and patterns of expression, with in live cells. Most techniques involve toxic labelling or the cells to be fixed.

This work is a collaboration with The University of Melbourne, Macquarie University, University of New South Wales and University of Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Authors: Sutton-Mcdowall, M.L., Purdey, M., Brown, H.M., Abell, A.D., Mottershead, D.G., Cetica, P.D., Dalvit, G.C., Goldys, E.M., Gilchrist, R.B., Gardner, D.K., Thompson, J.G.

Molecular Reproduction and Development 82 (4) 281–294 (2015)

2015 - Sutton

IPAS board member wins an ATSE Clunies Ross Award

Institute for Photonics and Advanced Sensing (IPAS) Board member Dr Cathy Foley, Chief Research Scientist  at Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) was a recipient of the prestigious ATSE Clunies Ross Award, Australia’s premier innovation commercialisation awards.

These awards were given to a select group of Australia’s pre-eminent innovators who persisted with their ideas to provide broad economic, social or environmental benefits. Congratulations Cathy. To who else sits on the IPAS board please visit our website.

Dr Cathy Foley

Dr Cathy Foley