Five University projects that are a gift to the world

Across the University, more researchers are making breakthroughs and more graduates are taking their skills into the world, because our donors give what they can to help us make a difference.

Here are just five research projects of many, where a donation to the University can become a gift to the world.

1) The gift of a longer, better life
A cocker spaniel called Timmy has caused a radical rethink on the idea that the brain isn’t very good at repairing itself.

Timmy had “doggie dementia”, which is very like the human version. University veterinary hospital researchers suggested trying an experimental stem cell treatment and what followed was something of a miracle.

Timmy’s damaged brain matter actually recovered.

Considering dementia is the number 2 killer of Australians, Timmy is inspiring a new line of research that could help thousands of people and their families. The University and its donors will help take the research forward.

2) The gift of a species saved from extinction
When a Tasmanian Devil contracts Devil Facial Tumour Disease (DFTD) it will very likely be dead within six months. So virulent is DFTD that it could actually wipe out the entire species.

As the hunt is on for a cure, the University Faculty of Veterinary Science is also looking at preserving the Devils by helping to support Australia’s largest captive Tasmanian Devil breeding program.

The program has to screen out animals susceptible to DFTD, which requires costly and labour-intensive genome sequencing. Saving the Devil is a race against time and the University is using support from its donors to help keep up the pace.

3) The gift of a better recovery from serious burns
Injuries from fire are usually treated with skin grafts. This saves lives, but it can also leave patients open to infection, reduced mobility, severe scarring and ongoing chronic pain.

Professor Tony Weiss and his team of researchers are breaking ground on research to improve the elasticity and quality of skin and organ repair. This amazing research focuses on elastin, the essential protein that gives the skin, organs and connective tissues their strength and elasticity.

Rapid healing and growth of skin to replace scar tissue also means less surgery and significantly improved results for the patient.

4) The gift of insights into a growing cancer threat
Oropharyngeal squamous cell cancer (OSCC) doesn’t get many of the headlines, but more Australians are being diagnosed with the condition. It’s a throat cancer caused by a virus that transforms normal cells into cancerous agents.

The first step to early diagnosis and a cure is knowledge. Our donors are helping researchers as they work to understand how the virus works and how it can be beaten.

5) The gift of super-powerful, next generation communication
Computer chips are evolving. One day, your mobile phone could send and receive so much data instantly, it would be like having an entire medical lab in the palm of your hand.

The technology is called photonics which uses the properties of light at the nanoscale to create incredible communication and information capabilities.

Professor Ben Eggleton is part of an international effort to advance this transformative technology and our donors are helping him and his team in their work.


With tax time fast approaching, you can help the University support many more projects like these by making a donation before 30 June.