Cutting-Edge: Massey Prof’s Chromosome Work Earns Countrywide Recognition, Macquarie Researcher Studies Molecules Via Nano-Diamonds
New Zealand Professor Named “Top 10 New Zealander” For Research Showing Chromosome Damage In Nuclear-Exposed Veterans
A retired Massey University professor is one of the “Top 10 New Zealandars of the Year” for his work finding chromosome damage in former military personnel exposed to nuclear testing, according to a university news article.
Dr. Al Rowland, who retired earlier this year from the Institute of Molecular Biosciences on Massey University’s Manawatu campus, conducted research that found unequivocally that the veterans exposed to nuclear tests suffered genetic damage.
The veterans then won the right to sue the British Ministry of Defence for compensation for radiation exposure in Operation Grapple, the 1950s nuclear bomb tests in the Pacific.
Rowland, recognized earlier this year for his work by the New Zealand Herald newspaper, studied the cells of 50 veterans for damage at the request of the New Zealand Nuclear Test Veterans’ Association.
He found the veterans’ group averaged 29 chromosome translocations – when fragments of chromosomes are broken off and attached to other chromosomes – per 1000 cells vs. 10 chromosome translocations per 1000 cells for a control group of men the same age. Chromosome translocation is often a precursor to cancer and other health problems. By comparison, workers near the Chernobyl nuclear accident or involved in the clean up had 20 translocations per 1000 cells.
Rowland also was honored in 2008 as the inaugural winner of the Massey University Students’ Association (Manawatu) “Lecturer Of The Year” award.
Massey University attracts international students from more than 100 countries and is highly regarded for its innovation and research-lead education.
Macquarie Professor’s Use Of Nano-Diamonds In Imaging Garners Attention For Prospects Of Exploring Single Cells
For James Rabeau, nano-diamonds are proving a telling window into the behaviors of molecules to help researchers better understand complex diseases such as cancer.
Rabeau, an associate professor at Macquarie University outside Sydney, Australia, is using nano-diamonds – tiny particles of carbon with impurities that make them susceptible to magnetic fields – as a new imaging technique to explore the tiniest detail of a single cell.
“There’s so much information in single molecules and proteins and they are so important to the many functions of life,” Rabeau said in a Macquarie University news article. “The point of my project is to use nano-diamonds, which are sensitive to magnetic fields placed on probe tips as an imaging device.”
By exploiting the impurities in nano-diamonds, Rabeau hopes to eventually contribute to the creation of a super microscope.
“That is the big dream – to build a nano-diamond probe that biologists can use to take a picture of a single molecule,” he said. “From that you would look at engineering it into a real and practical device and eventually benefit people in the medical field or in drug therapy.Print