AMMRF - Media Releases

Media Releases

12 April 2012, University of Western Australia (UWA)
Magnetic navigation – putting the cat among the pigeons
Iron-containing cells in the beaks of pigeons were thought to be the magnetic field receptors responsible for the pigeon's famous navigational abilities. However, research published today in Nature shows that this is not the case and the search for the elusive magnetoreceptors must go on.

The international team showed that the cells are macrophages (an immune cell) and not the nerve cells that magnetoreceptors are likely to be. By using sophisticated microanalysis in the Australian Microscopy & Microanalysis Research Facility at the University of Western Australia authors Dr Jeremy Shaw and Prof. Martin Saunders showed that the iron inside the cells was not in the mineral form that might be expected for a magnetoreceptor. Macrophages all over the body contain iron from the breakdown of old red blood cells. The macrophage cells in the beak are no different.

Dr Shaw worked on this project with Dr David Keays, an Australian who now works at the Institute of Molecular Pathology in Vienna. "It took a team of Australians and Austrians to show that the established dogma in the field was completely wrong. The mystery of how animals detect magnetic fields, has just got more mysterious" said Dr Keays.

"Our contribution confirmed that the iron in the pigeon beak macrophage cells was a normal iron deposit, composed primarily of protein-bound iron in the form of ferrihydrite, similar to that found in many other animals. Magnetite is thought to be the likely candidate magnetic material," Dr Shaw said.

The search for the actual mechanism that allows migratory birds, and many other animals, to respond to the Earth's magnetic field and navigate around their environment therefore remains an intriguing puzzle to be solved.

Contact Dr Jeremy Shaw (+61 8) 6488 8058

5 March 2012, Sydney University
EU looks to Australian Research Infrastructure as a model of success

Prof Simon R and EU commissioner

The Australian Microscopy & Microanalysis Research Facility (AMMRF) today hosted a visit by Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, European Union Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science. Selected by the Commonwealth Department of Innovation, Industry, Science, Research & Tertiary Education (DIISRTE) as examples of highly successful Australian collaborative research infrastructure, both the AMMRF and the Australian National Fabrication Facility (ANFF) made clear to Ms Geoghegan-Quinn the nature of the infrastructure and the breadth of research that it enables.

In establishing a bilateral relationship with Australia Ms Geoghegan-Quinn clearly recognises that the distributed network, that is so effective in Australia, is an excellent model for the EU research environment. Its capacity to add value to academic research and industry alike and enrich the capacity to innovate in areas such as climate change, developing sustainable transport, renewable energy, food safety and security, and improving health outcomes can have a major influence on the economy and quality of life in the long term.

Europe is already recognising the value of the AMMRF by seeking to implement collaborative partnerships and the AMMRF is already making an impact in this area. This is evidenced through the recent formalisation of a Collaborative Framework with EuroBioImaging.

Of today's meeting Ms Geoghegan-Quinn said, "The work that is being undertaken here at the AMMRF and ANFF is an excellent example of the importance of creating critical mass in key technologies, which is crucial to enable us to respond globally to the grand challenges facing the planet."

Prof. Simon Ringer, Executive Director and CEO of AMMRF said "We were honoured that the Commissioner was able to visit the AMMRF. We have a vision to develop collaborative links with EU infrastructure that will be beneficial for both Australian and European researchers. The visit brings us significantly closer to realising this vision." The AMMRF is an initiative of the Federal Governments National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS) provided through the Australian Government's Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education (DIISRTE).

12 July 2010, Sydney, NSW, Australia
Navigating Microscopy
Today, researchers have a new tool to help them navigate their way to world-class microscopy and microanalysis capability. Developed in conjunction with Intersect Australia, the Australian Microscopy & Microanalysis Research Facility (AMMRF) has launched its new Technique Finder, a web-based application that makes it easy for researchers to find the right microscopic or microanalytical technique for their specific research needs.
Read more

Technique Finder Animation

07 September 2010, Sydney, NSW, Australia
Nanostructures give alloy super strength
Today, work on a new super-strength light alloy has been published in Nature Communications. The alloy is much stronger than expected and the reasons behind this are being revealed by top-end microscopy and microanalysis at the University of Sydney node of the Australian Microscopy & Microanalysis Research Facility (AMMRF). Dr Peter Liddicoat and Prof. Simon Ringer at the Australian Centre for Microscopy & Microanalysis (ACMM), working together with Dr Xiaozhou Liao of the School of Aerospace, Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering, at the University of Sydney, have headed up this international collaborative project. Its purpose is to understand the relationship between the alloy's properties and its structure at the atomic level.
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Tomographic view of solute nanostructures on grain boundaries of the 7075 alloy. Scale bar is 10 nm.

Tomographic view of solute nanostructures on grain boundaries of the 7075 alloy. Scale bar is 10 nm.


04 December 2009, Sydney, NSW, Australia
$5.4 million LIEF success will extend AMMRF capability

It has just been announced that AMMRF nodes have attracted $4.61 million of LIEF funding for new, advanced microscopy instrumentation that will extend their capability in the face of increasing user demand and exciting new collaborations. In addition, the AMMRF Linked Lab at the Queensland University of Technology has attracted $0.8 million.
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28 August 2009, Sydney, NSW, Australia
Launch of the Cameca IMS 1280 by Kim Carr

The AMMRF is pleased to announce the launch of its latest multi-million dollar flagship instrument, the Cameca IMS 1280 ion probe, by the Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research, Senator, the Hon. Kim Carr, on Friday 28 August 2009.
Located in the AMMRF at the University of Western Australia (UWA), this impressive and highly sensitive instrument, weighing in at 7.5 tonnes, is the only one of its kind in the southern hemisphere. The combination of the IMS 1280 and its sister instrument, the Cameca NanoSIMS 50, creates the only imaging and analysis facility of its type in the world.
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Senator the Hon. Kim Carr at the 1280 Flagship Launch
The Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research, Senator, the Hon. Kim Carr and Assist/Prof. John Cliff, 1280 Flagship Manager at the University of Western Australia.

11 August 2009, Sydney, NSW, Australia
Roadshow spreads the word on world-class research infrastructure
The AMMRF has recently participated in two successful roadshows to spread the word on the national characterisation capabilities available to researchers throughout Australia.
Many of the techniques required for advanced characterisation rely on sophisticated infrastructure, instrumentation and expertise, much of which is found at the four national characterisation facilities. These being the Australian Synchrotron, the Australian Microscopy & Microanalysis Research Facility, the National Imaging Facility, and the National Deuteration Facility. These four facilities have been working together at the National Characterisation Roadshows in Perth and Adelaide to inform the states' researchers of exactly what is available to them. An intensive afternoon of seminars and discussion sessions in each location enabled researchers to incorporate the most appropriate techniques into their future research strategies.
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30 July 2009, Sydney, NSW, Australia
Nanotoxicology under the microscope
The Australian Microscopy & Microanalysis Research Facility (AMMRF) has partnered with the Australian Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (AIBN) to form the first AMMRF Linked Centre.
AMMRF Linked Centres are established in conjunction with a concentration of specialist researchers who are supported by a dedicated and experienced microscopist who can advise the researchers on the most appropriate techniques and facilities to support their research.
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11 March 2009, Sydney, NSW, Australia
Donation boosts AMMRF mineral analysis capability
BHP Billiton has generously donated a Qemscan automated mineral analysis system to the Australian Centre for Microscopy & Microanalysis, the University of Sydney node of the AMMRF. This donation makes a very valuable instrument available to the entire Australian research community, significantly increasing the AMMRFs capability in the area of mineral analysis. As with all AMMRF instrumentation, the Qemscan will be available to researchers in universities, research labs and industry.
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24 February 2009, Sydney, NSW, Australia
Australia Fellowship supports development of new drug delivery system
Professor Rob Parton, Deputy Director of the AMMRFs University of Queensland node has been awarded a prestigious Australia Fellowship from the NHMRC. This will support work investigating the development and application of a new nanoscale drug delivery system. It has the potential to deliver drugs only into specific target cells, greatly increasing their effectiveness and minimising adverse reactions.
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11 August 2008, Sydney, NSW, Australia
Getting emergency animal disease under the microscope
Australias ability to respond to the threats posed by emergency animal disease will be strengthened with the establishment of the Australian Biosecurity Microscopy Centre (ABMC), a specialist service and Linked Laboratory of the Australian Microscopy and Microanalysis Research Facility (AMMRF).
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08 February 2008, Sydney, NSW, Australia
Launch of the South Australian Research Facility (SARF)
The South Australian Research Facility (SARF) was launched yesterday by the Hon Paul Caica MP, South Australian Minister for Science and Information Economy. SARF is the South Australian node of the Australian Microscopy and Microanalysis Research Facility, the peak Australian facility for the nanometric analysis of the structure and chemistry of materials in physical and biological systems.
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27 September 2007, Sydney, NSW, Australia
Minister Launches the Australian Microscopy & Microanalysis Research Facility
The Australian Microscopy & Microanalysis Research Facility (AMMRF), a $41 million national research facility to provide cutting-edge microscopy and microanalysis capability to all Australian researchers, was launched by the Federal Minister for Education, Science and Training, the Hon Julie Bishop MP, at the University of Sydney today.
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5 July 2007, Sydney, NSW, Australia
NSW State Government announces $4M for the Australian Microscopy & Microanalysis Research Facility
The Hon. Verity Firth MP, Minister for Science and Medical Research, has announced funding of $4M for the Australian Microscopy & Microanalysis Research Facility (AMMRF).
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For information please contact:

Dr Jenny Whiting

Dr Jenny Whiting
AMMRF Marketing & Business Development Manager
Tel: +61 2 9114 0566
Fax: +61 2 2 9351 7682

AMMRF Headquarters
Australian Centre for Microscopy & Microanalysis
Madsen Building, F09
The University of Sydney
NSW 2006