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Congratulations Erica – Finalist of the Falling Walls Science Breakthroughs of the Year – Science in the Arts

The Falling Walls Science Breakthroughs of the Year ( 1-10 November) will highlight breakthrough thinking from around the world. Over the past months, they have received over 900 nominations from 111 countries.

They are delighted to introduce the finalists and present their science breakthroughs of the year in these ten categories: Life Sciences, Physical Sciences, Engineering & Technology, Social Sciences and Humanities, Science in the Arts, Digital Education, Science and Innovation Management, Emerging Talents, Science Start-Ups, Science Engagement Initiatives.

Breaking the Wall of Disabled Access to Science – Erica Tandori (Artist in residence, Rossjohn lab, Monash university)

Lying at the intersection between art, science and blindness, Tandori’s exhibitions use interactive sculptures to engage and inspire audiences of all ages and abilities. Her breakthrough is making art and science exhibitions inclusive, accessible and available to everyone globally.

Tags: Artificial Intelligence, Discrimination, Diversity, Education, Science Communication

Watch Erica’s presentation of her breakthrough below:

Erica Tandori is a legally blind artist, researcher and academic. She explores the intersections of art, vision loss and science. Tandori’s PhD focused on capturing the entoptic effects of her retinal disease through art, conveying an ‘eye-witness’ account of blindness. As resident artist at the Rossjohn Lab, Monash University, Erica creates multi-sensory, multi-modal artworks communicating biomedical research to blind and low-vision audiences. This inspires people of all ages and abilities to learn, understand and appreciate the wonders of science.

 

Other Science in the arts finalists

Further information:

FALLING WALLS AND BERLIN SCIENCE WEEK, THE WORLD SCIENCE SUMMIT:

Falling Walls and Berlin Science Week invite you to this year’s World Science Summit, held remotely from 1 – 10 November 2020. This year we shift from physical events to a global virtual showcase, with free digital access for everyone. We acknowledge the combined effort of scientists worldwide to overcome the pandemic, and its many effects. Make sure to attend this event, where some of the world’s best researchers gather to discuss and celebrate the most recent breakthroughs in science and society from all over the world.

WHEN

1 – 10 November 2020, with a daily science highlight programme at Noon GMT (13.00 Berlin Time) and the Grand Finale on 9 November

WHAT

500+ speakers, 200+ sessions, 1 digital platform with live-streamed breakthroughs, expert panels, workshops and lectures

WHERE

Completely remote – Free digital access from wherever you are plus selected physical events in Berlin

Congratulations Rachel – Winner of the BDI Student Symposium 5 minute talk category

The annual BDI student symposium looked a bit different this year, with face-to-face being replaced with face-to-screen. Despite these changes, we were so happy to see such a huge turnout of students from across the BDI showcasing their research through talks and poster presentations.

Thank you to all the students and assessors who made the day run smoothly and congratulations again to our winners!

Student talks: Hot off the plate reader – be the first to hear about the exciting results our students are generating.

WinnerNicholas Choo 

Runner up: Bob Leung 

5-minute talks: With just five minutes, students will give you the highlights of what their research can achieve.

WinnerRachel Farquhar

Runner-upYusun Jeon 

Image: Rachel delivering her talk via zoom.

Posters: A chance to have a chat with our students about their exciting new data.

WinnerMariam Bafit

Runner-up: Kerry Mullan

The BDI Student Symposium was held on Friday, September 25th and showcased the work of BDI Graduate Students.

Adapted from Monash BDI Notices.

Unlocking Your Inner Eye. Artistic Intelligence with Erica Tandori, a Legally Blind Artist

Artist in residence, Dr Erica Tandori is expanding the frontiers of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Art. Her work at Monash University in the Rossjohn lab focuses on communicating science through art for the visually impaired. She is now expanding this work and utilising robotics in her artistic creations to create a multi-sensory experience. AI and robotics have the potential to transform lives and promote social good. Harnessing these technologies to create art exhibitions exploring science and biomedicine is enabling greater inclusion, accessibility and education for low vision, blind and diverse audiences. Erica’s work and her personal story provide an impressive example of AI for social good, promoting diversity and inclusion in science and technology.

Art is not in the retina. It’s in the imagination. Hear the story of Erica Tandori, a visually impaired artist, who is using AI to create multi-sensory art experiences showcasing the wonders of biological life.

TOPICS DISCUSSED IN THIS EPISODE:
– Art is not in the retina, it’s in the imagination
– Natural intelligence
– Tapping into the soul to power AI and art
– Art for good
– Fostering wonderment to think differently

Panelists include Neil Sahota, World Wide Business Development Leader, IBM Watson and Michael Ashley, Screenwriting Professor at Chapman university

Original article

Novel immune-oncology approach for potential cancer treatment

A research collaboration between Monash University and Lava Therapeutics details a novel immune-oncology approach for the potential treatment of cancer. Instrumental to the study was co-first author Dr Roeland Lameris from Amsterdam UMC and colleagues from the University of Melbourne.

Published in Nature Cancer, the study, co-led by Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute’s ARC Laureate Fellow Professor Jamie Rossjohn and Dr Adam Shahine,  highlights the synergy between an antibody fragment, known as a nanobody, that not only acts as a bridge helping to link together two key immune cell receptors but also takes advantage of their interaction, enabling the body to enhance its immune response to cancer.

These antibody fragments, denoted as nanobodies, act by targeting the interaction between a molecule known as CD1d and Natural Killer T cells (NKT) in a stable and long-lasting manner, against tumour samples of patients with multiple myeloma and acute myeloid leukemia.

The new findings will serve as a model for the potential generation of new and effective therapies against a broad range of cancers.

Using the Australian Synchrotron, the team at Monash University provided detailed atomic insight into how the nanobodies exerted their effect on immune cells in a cancer model. “We were able to precisely visualize how the nanobody simultaneously recognized CD1d and the NKT TCR, thereby providing a molecular basis for their anti-tumour properties” Professor Rossjohn stated.

Hans van der Vliet, professor in medical oncology at Amsterdam UMC and chief scientific officer of Lava Therapeutics says “By targeting and boosting natural immune cells that are inherent in all humans, such as NKT cells and gamma-delta T cells, for an enhanced therapeutic effect, we believe our approach could ultimately translate into a broadly applicable immunotherapeutic approach for a range of cancer indications.”

“This collaborative work paves the way for rationally developing improved therapeutics to treat a range of cancers” said co-first author Dr. Shahine.

Read the full paper in Nature Cancer titled: “A single domain bispecific antibody targeting CD1d and the NKT T cell receptor induces a potent anti-tumour response
DOI: 10.1038/s43018-020-00111-6

Original paper

Front cover image

Image: Nanobodies targeting of a tumour cell.

Image Credit: Erica Tandori

Discovery of new T-cell raises prospect of ‘universal’ cancer therapy

Researchers at Cardiff University have discovered a new type of killer T-cell that offers hope of a “one-size-fits-all” cancer therapy.

T-cell therapies for cancer – where immune cells are removed, modified and returned to the patient’s blood to seek and destroy cancer cells – are the latest paradigm in cancer treatments.

The most widely-used therapy, known as CAR-T, is personalised to each patient but targets only a few types of cancers and has not been successful for solid tumours, which make up the vast majority of cancers.

Cardiff researchers have now discovered T-cells equipped with a new type of T-cell receptor (TCR) which recognises and kills most human cancer types, while ignoring healthy cells.

This TCR recognises a molecule present on the surface of a wide range of cancer cells as well as in many of the body’s normal cells but, remarkably, is able to distinguish between healthy cells and cancerous ones, killing only the latter.

The researchers said this meant it offered “exciting opportunities for pan-cancer, pan-population” immunotherapies not previously thought possible.

How does this new TCR work?

Conventional T-cells scan the surface of other cells to find anomalies and eliminate cancerous cells – which express abnormal proteins – but ignore cells that contain only “normal” proteins.

The scanning system recognises small parts of cellular proteins that are bound to cell-surface molecules called human leukocyte antigen (HLA), allowing killer T-cells to see what’s occurring inside cells by scanning their surface.

HLA varies widely between individuals, which has previously prevented scientists from creating a single T-cell-based treatment that targets most cancers in all people.

But the Cardiff study, published today in Nature Immunology, describes a unique TCR that can recognise many types of cancer via a single HLA-like molecule called MR1.

Unlike HLA, MR1 does not vary in the human population – meaning it is a hugely attractive new target for immunotherapies.

See original article here

Image: T-cells attacking cancer