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Otago Biochemistry research in the media

Revealing the mystery of New Zealand's glowworm

Screen grab from video of a glowworm in its slime hammock, glowing.Woah! - Animals that make light! How do they do that? Dr Miriam Sharpe and Professor Kurt Krause explain their research on what makes glowworms glow on National Public Radio's Science Friday in the USA.

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"Calming" bacteria before the storm

Dr Monica Gerth.Many of our most deadly bacteria hang out on our skin or in our noses, but do not cause disease. When they get excited they go from co-existing to disease-causing. Dr Monica Gerth is aiming to block bacteria communicating with each other before they start getting ‘excited’, thus preventing a serious infection from occurring.

Visit the story on the Otago Daily Times website

How do you sequence a genome?

Scientist's face reflecting on the front of a DNA sequencing machine.Humans have more than 3 billion DNA bases in each of their cells, containing a full set of instructions on how to build a body. How do you find out the entire sequence of this genome? Professor Peter Dearden, Dr Becky Laurie, Dr Aaron Jeffs and others talk to RNZ National's Our Changing World about how to sequence a genome.

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How queen bees control their worker fertility

Bee apis imageBee hives have evolved to have a complex, fascinating social hierarchy, and although we know about Royal Jelly and pheromones, how exactly does the queen bee control the fertility of the rest of the hive? Research into the molecular mechanism behind this control by Professor Peter Dearden and Drs Elizabeth Duncan and Otto Hyink has been profiled on BBC Radio 4's "Inside Science" programme.

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Squid that glow using crystals

Firefly squid glowing blue in the dark.The Japanese firefly squid makes intense blue light to distract its predators, and is considered a great delicacy in Japan. Dr Miriam Sharpe talks about her research into the crystals that the squid uses to produce the light, and Professor Kurt Krause talks about bioluminescence - light made by living organisms - on RNZ National's Our Changing World.

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Genetics of truffle-like fungi

Picture of six specimens of purple pouch fungus.Some fungi, like mushrooms, have umbrella-like caps, others, like truffles, have a lumpy potato-like appearance. Still others resemble truffles, but strangely are more closely related to mushrooms than truffles. Dr Chris Brown, along with collaborators in the Botany Department, are sequencing the DNA from truffle-like and pouch fungi to find out how they have evolved. They talk to RNZ National's Our Changing World about their research.

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Battling breast cancer at the molecular level

Breast cancer cells as viewed through a microscope.Dr Anita Dunbier’s research into breast cancer has shown that immune cells can play a `Jekyll and Hyde' role, either attacking and destroying a tumour or helping it to grow.

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Lipoprotein little a … a high risk for heart disease

Micrograph of a cell that has ‘swallowed’ lipoprotein(a) particles.Research into lipoproteins, molecules that carry fats and cholesterol in the blood, is showing us new ways to develop drugs to treat heart disease. Professor Sally McCormick tells us more about a type of lipoprotein that she has been studying in detail.

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