UGPN Research Collaboration Fund (RCF) projects 2016/17

 

Advanced Sodium-Ion batteries (Bi-lateral, NCSU-UOW)

Overview

The goal of this partnership is to develop new cathode materials and fundamental insights for high energy density sodium-ion batteries. Sustainable energy conversion and storage is a global challenge; over the coming decades, countries around the world will grapple with growing demands for energy at the same time as the environmental effects of fossil fuels increase. The partnership connects the existing research efforts in the area of materials for sodium-ion batteries at NCSU and the UOW. The partnership leverages the materials science, electrochemistry, and advanced instrumentation expertise at these two universities to develop a global network on materials for energy storage.

Key contacts:

  • Professor Veronica Augustyn, NCSU
  • Dr Shulei Chou, UOW
  • Dr Wenping Sun, UOW

 

Hexagonal boron nitride nanosheets for advanced nanoscale electronics and radiation shielding (Trilateral, NCSU-UOW-UOS)

Overview

This collaborative project has the aim of growing high‐quality hexagonal boron nitride nanosheets (BNNS) and employing them as a key component in novel nanoscale electronics and radiation shielding, respectively.

The project is built upon highly complementary skillsets among the researchers: boron chemistry (Dr Huang at UOW), electronic devices (Prof Silva at UOS), and radiation shielding (Prof Chang at NCSU). This research will advance the development of new electronic devices that can dramatically improve productivity and quality of life, as well as safe and cost-effective space travel to expedite space exploration.

Key contacts:

  • Professor Chih-Hao Chang, NCSU
  • Dr Zhenguo Huang, UOW
  • Professor Ravi Silva, UOS

 

Inflammation, advancing age and nutrition (Quadrilateral)

Overview

In this proposal, the research team seeks to extend previous findings that pharmacological or nutritional suppression of inflammation improves metabolic health. Quadrilateral collaboration with UOS (Musculoskeletal health), USP (Physiology), and UOW (School of Medicine) sets up an exceptional team to discover new promising targets and develop novel nutritional strategies against inflammation and age-related diseases, and to correlate them to the biomarkers from the UOW human trials.

Key contacts:

  • Professor Karen Charlton, UOW
  • Professor William Festuccia, USP
  • Professor Slavko Komarnytsky, NCSU
  • Professor Ali Mobasheri, UOS

 

Integration of in-vitro and in-silico models for non-animal skin research (Bilateral, UOS-USP)

Overview

This project aims to develop an inter-disciplinary collaboration for advancing non-animal approaches to skin research with active involvement of industrial partners.

Skin research underpins the design and risk assessment of many high-value products including cosmetics and (trans) dermal drugs. Due to ethical and scientific concerns with animal tests, a grand challenge is to innovate with non-animal methods. To address this challenge, we propose a novel approach that integrates in-vitro (experimental) and in-silico (computational) models, which will be able to predict skin penetration without animal use. The collaboration will be fostered through pilot research, exchange activities, joint publications and grant applications leading to a long-term partnership. The aim is to develop an inter-disciplinary collaboration for advancing non-animal skin research, crossing the areas of skin biology, computational biophysics, systems engineering and mathematics. This research is of high priority to a wide range of industries and synergises with worldwide initiatives for 3Rs (Replace, Refine & Reduce animal use), with the potential for global impact on economy, society and environment.

Key contacts:

  • Professor Silvia Berlanga de Moraes Barros, USP
  • Dr Tao Chen, UOS
  • Professor Guoping Lian, UOS
  • Dr Silvya Stuchi Maria-Engler, USP

 

International alliance for Population, Wellbeing and Environment research (Bilateral, NCSU-UOW)

Overview

The Population, Wellbeing and Environment Research Lab (PowerLab) at the University of Wollongong specializes in epidemiological studies of ‘big’ geocoded data to conduct policy relevant research in the social and environmental determinants of health. The NCSU Centre for Human Health and the Environment (CHHE) is designed to build and enhance environmental health science research at NCSU. The proposed project will help foster an alliance between the PowerLab and CHHE.

Key contacts:

  • Associate Professor Dr. Thomas Astell-Burt, UOW
  • Dr. Xiaoqi Feng, UOW
  • Associate Professor Dr. Jane Hoppin, NCSU
  • Associate Professor Dr. David Reif, NCSU

 

Next generation environmental sensing for local to global scale health impact assessment (Quadrilateral)

Overview

This quadrilateral partnership brings together teams from the USP, NCSU, UOW and UOS to tackle a highly topical and interdisciplinary research topic in the area of pollution sensing, air quality and public health. To build upon a collaboration which started in 2014, this proposal expands the team from São Paulo and brings in new partners (Drs Murphy and Wilson) from Wollongong. The new collaborators bring specific expertise in the area of atmospheric chemistry and composition to represent the formation of gaseous and particulate compounds in modelling assessments. The collaboration aims to develop a methodology for assessing the health impact assessment through experimental investigations using low-cost pollution sensors at the local/urban scale and feed this information to numerical models for the regional/global scale assessment.

Key contacts:

  • Professor Maria de Fatima Andrade, USP
  • Dr Prashant Kumar, UOS
  • Dr Clare Murphy, UOW
  • Dr Stephen Wilson, UOW
  • Professor Yang Zhang, NCSU

 

Novel anti-biofilm agents in the fight against multi-drug resistant bacterial pathogens (Trilateral, NCSU-UOS-UOW)

Overview

The objective of this proposal is to take full advantage of the UGPN collaborative network to tackle the global problem of bacterial gastrointestinal foodborne disease caused by infection with nontyphoidal Salmonella. Combined expertise will be harnessed for the first time in pursuit of this objective. Through a high quality research collaboration, with the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Surrey serving as the lead institution, this three-way partnership will assess two distinct types of next-generation antimicrobial compounds for their activity against Salmonella biofilms, with a focus on combating multidrug-resistant (MDR), extended spectrum β-lactamase (ESBL)- producing Salmonella isolates obtained from poultry. If successful, the products developed through this research collaboration could reduce human salmonellosis and the emergence of antibiotic resistant strains of Salmonella.

Key contacts:

  • Professor Mark Chambers, UOS
  • Professor Michael Kelso, UOW
  • Professor Roberto La Ragione, UOS
  • Professor Christian Melander, NCSU

 

Whither youth crime (Bilateral, UOS-USP)

Overview

Violence has grown into a major public policy crisis in Brazil in recent years. In this context, the project aims to compile official data and aim to identify the effects of two recent public policy interventions on youth crime in Brazil. Given the huge social and economic costs of crime and violence among the youth, the prevention of youth crimes is high on the public policy agenda in Brazil. Given the universality of these two public policy interventions (with important externality implications), results from the study might also bear important implications for fighting youth crime beyond the Brazilian border.

Key contacts:

  • Professor Marislei Nishijima, USP
  • Professor Sarmistha Pal, UOS