7 August 2009

Talking scientists, animals being born and helping us celebrate our 100th birthday are just some of the things being showcased by UQ at this year’s Ekka.

If you’re a UQ graduate or former staff member, come along to the Centenary stand at this year’s Ekka to find out about what’s planned for UQ’s 100 year celebrations in 2010.

The Centenary stand will be located next to the UQ Science display as part of the National Science Week exhibition in Pavilion Number 6.

As part of the centenary celebrations, a Community on Campus Day will be held on April 18, 2010, and an Alumni Reunion Weekend will run from July 2 to 4, 2010.

UQ Vice-Chancellor Professor Paul Greenfield said the events would be both a celebration of individuals and teams making outstanding contributions to society, and a platform for a second century of high-impact learning, discovery and engagement.

“From a cancer vaccine and new generation jet engine technology, through to an Oscar-winning actor and umpteen fine works of literature, UQ’s first century is characterised by remarkable contributions to the Queensland, national and international communities,” Professor Greenfield said.

A number of UQ scientists will be taking part in the State Government’s Talking Scientists Program in the National Science Week Pavilion.

This program features short talks by Queensland scientists each day at 11am, 12 noon and 1pm, to promote the value of scientific research to the wider community. UQ’s talking scientists are:

• On Saturday, August 8, Dr Akshat Tanksale, from UQ’s Australian Institute for Bioengineering & Nanotechnology, will discuss the development of alternative fuels and energy carriers which will replace the fossil fuels in the future.

• On Sunday, August 9, Mr Ben Sivyer, from UQ’s Queensland Brain Institute, will discuss his research into how the brain processes information through the retina, with a view to future development of a bionic eye to restore blindness, and ultimately for understanding how the rest of the brain functions.

• On Monday, August 10, Dr Nick Lavidis, from UQ’s School of Biomedical Sciences, will discuss how prolonged stress induces harmful effects like over-activation of the flight-fight response and memory loss. He will also talk about his work in using aromas such as grass that can reduce the harmful effects of stress.

• On Wednesday, August 12, Margaret Gentz, a PhD student from UQ’s Institute for Molecular Bioscience will discuss using novel, environmentally-friendly insecticides from the venom of funnel-web spiders and native Australian tarantulas.

• On Thursday, August 13, Lydie Couturier, a PhD student from UQ’s Centre for Marine Studies, will discuss the biology and ecology manta ray occurring in eastern Australia.

• On Friday, August 14, Paul Gardiner, from UQ’s Cancer Prevention Research Centre will discuss the link between prolonged sitting and obesity and other risk factors for heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

• Dr Vittal Mogasale, from UQ’s School of Population Health, was the first talking scientist yesterday who spoke about whether flu vaccines should be provided free to people over the age of 50.

UQ’s Faculty of Science will also have a stall in the Pavilion, for anyone interested in learning more about the wonderful world of science at UQ.

UQ vet students will help bring a unique experience to the Ekka this year with the Sunny Queen Little Miracles Newborn Corner where lambs will be born, giving city visitors a real taste of country life.

The ‘new life’ centre will be located in the Sunny Queen Smile Zone at the southern end of the RNA Showgrounds.

Equine students from UQ’s Gatton campus will be taking five Australian Stockhorses) down to the Ekka on August 12 to compete in both led and ridden breed classes.

The students have been competing at local shows and have done very well against some top professional competitors, which reflects the breeding program established by Judy Cawdell-Smith where temperament and confirmation was a priority.

UQ’s Faculty of Natural Resources and Veterinary Science will also have a display in the Brisbane Markets Agricultural Hall and students from the Cattleman’s Club will be showing cattle and also working at the Ekka.

Media: Andrew Dunne at UQ Communications (3365 2802 or 0433 364 181).