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Griffith Sports College is celebrating the success of its members this week with 10 student athletes qualifying for the Rio Olympics.
Griffith student athletes qualify for Rio
Obituary: One of Griffith University's most generous supporters, Mr Jock McIlwain OAM DUniv, has passed away at the age of 89.
Vale John Robert (Jock) McIlwain OAM DUniv, friend of Griffith, 1926-2016
The vegetation that grows alongside creeks and rivers, known as the riparian–zone, is one of our most valuable ecosystems. Dr Samantha Capon from Griffith University’s Australian Rivers Institute (ARI) has led the production of a new book, which explores the inner workings of our native Australian riparian vegetation and provides a one-stop shop for researchers and managers of these important systems. Dr Capon together with co-editors Dr Cassandra James from James Cook University and Dr Michael Reid from the University of New England, launched the book, ‘Vegetation of Australian Riverine Landscapes’ in Brisbane last week (20 April 2016). Dr Capon’s passion for riverine vegetation and the ecosystems, which surround them, have been a driving force for her research over the past two decades. “Riparian vegetation plays an important-role in providing ecosystems services and has been recognised for some time as functionally significant for its capacity to provide habitat and food resources to terrestrial and aquatic organisms.” She explains. Professor Stuart Bunn, Director of Australian Rivers Institute added, “This book represents a major synthesis of research achievements over the past 25 years or so.” “Not only does it highlight the importance of riparian lands, but stresses they are among the most threatened ecosystems on the continent. Degraded and poorly managed riparian land is still the primary cause of water quality problems that threaten water security, the health of river ecosystems and coastal environments, and drive up the costs of water treatment.” This collection of research explores the incredibly diverse Australian riverine vegetation, which exhibits an amazing capacity to persist and adapt to constantly changing and often-unpredictable conditions found across the continent. Furthermore, research has shown that the threat posed by human pressures and the effects of these on riverine vegetation have far-reaching implications for other biodiversity and ecological functions at large scales. “Riverine vegetation is likely to be one of the most important elements of our landscapes under a hotter, drier future. Conserving and restoring its ecological diversity and dynamism should therefore be paramount in any catchment management plans.” “‘Vegetation of Australian Riverine Landscapes’ provides a wealth of information on riverine vegetation and its proper management across Australia. In addition, it will also serve to greatly stimulate future research in addressing some of the more pressing knowledge gaps that we currently face,” Dr Capon concludes. Know More: Australian Rivers Institute
A One-Stop Shop for Riparian Vegetation Management
Griffith University researchers are tackling the enormous global health problem of malaria through innovative approaches to develop new vaccine and drug candidates. At Griffith’s two leading biomedical research institutes – the Institute for Glycomics and the Eskitis Institute for Drug Discovery– research teams are firmly focused on, and are making progress towards the global goal of malaria elimination. This major research focus from Griffith University is a timely reminder with World Malaria Day being marked on April 25. Malaria is caused by Plasmodium parasites and transmitted by certain species of mosquito found in tropical and sub-tropical regions. About half the worlds’ population is at risk of malaria and in 2015 the World Health Organization reported that 438,000 people died of this disease, mainly children under five years of age. Institute for Glycomics malaria vaccine research team have just finished clinical trials conducted at Griffith’s Gold Coast campus this year and have been working closely with expert infectious disease clinicians at Gold Coast University Hospital. This is the second round of clinical trials to be conducted by the Institute for Glycomics to examine malaria vaccine strategies in humans. Malaria vaccine team leader Professor Michael Good said in order to achieve malaria elimination his team needs to think differently in their approach to research. “To develop new vaccines, new drugs and new ways to deliver these therapies and to monitor their effects,” he said. Eskitis Institute for Drug Discovery Associate Professor Dr Kathy Andrews and her team are working with Australia’s CSIRO and the international Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV) organization to develop new drugs to prevent malaria. The importance of this work was recognised through award of almost $1.2million in National Health and Medical Research Council funding beginning in 2016. “In the past decade, the number of deaths due to malaria has more than halved, however now more than ever we need to ensure that this momentum is maintained,” Associate Professor Andrews said. “It is essential that we develop next generation therapies for malaria if we are going to achieve elimination.” Professor Vicky Avery, also from Eskitis, and her research group have played a significant role in the identification and development of new clinical candidates including MMV39048; ELQ300; SJ733: DSM 265 and DDD498. Utilising highly sophisticated image based assays spanning the plasmodium life cycle which her team has developed, millions of compounds have been screened during the past 10 years in collaboration with MMV, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and numerous industry partners. “It is highly rewarding to see these candidate anti-malarials, which we were involved with in someway throughout their development, now entering clinical trials. It definitely makes it all worthwhile and highlights the incredible expertise we have here at Griffith,” she said. Griffith University is ranked as one of Australia’s most comprehensive research and teaching universities. In October 2015 it was named among the world’s top 300 universities in the Times Higher Education World Rankings for 2015-2016 which includes research as a performance indicator.
Researchers use innovative approaches to tackle malaria