The main campus is located in the suburb of St Lucia, southwest of the Brisbane City Central Business District, with other major campuses in Gatton, Ipswich and Herston with a number of other satellite facilities. The University of Queensland is a member of the Australia’s Group of Eight, and the international research-intensive universities network Universitas 21.
UQ is colloquially known as a “sandstone university” and is ranked among the top universities in Australia and is named one of the world’s top universities in three key rankings – the QS World University Rankings, the Academic Ranking of World Universities and the Times Higher Education World University Rankings.
University of Queensland research articles from Innovation Toronto
- Breakthrough arthritis treatment developed by University of Queensland researchers – June 4, 2015
- To Save An Entire Species, All You Need Is $1.3 Million – March 17, 2015
- Unlocking the gates to quantum computing with a quantum Fredkin gate – March 26, 2016
- Alzheimer’s breakthrough uses ultrasound technology – March 12, 2015
- Are there enough fish to go around? – October 15, 2014
- Nature’s elegant and efficient vision systems can detect cancer – October 3, 2014
- Arthritis drug breakthrough
- Surprising diversity in aging revealed in nature
- New research shows obesity is an inflammatory disease
- New World Map for Overcoming Climate Change
- SCRAMSPACE team awaits further information on launch
- Australia’s hypersonic scramjet arrives in Norway for launch
- ‘Street-view’ comes to the world’s coral reefs
- Global investigation reveals true scale of ocean warming
- Steerable paper planes and maple seeds the basis for life-saving, disposable UAVs
- Coral reefs suffering, but collapse not inevitable
- Bacteria breakthrough for safer food
- Diamondback Moth Host-Parasite Interaction Unraveled
- Lions in Greece, the Reforestation of the West and the Use of Satire in Environmental Conservation
- Dramatic Simplification Paves the Way for Building a Quantum Computer
A University of Queensland team has made a discovery that could help conquer the greatest threat to global food security – pests and diseases in plants.
Research leader Professor Neena Mitter said BioClay – an environmentally sustainable alternative to chemicals and pesticides – could be a game-changer for crop protection.
“In agriculture, the need for new control agents grows each year, driven by demand for greater production, the effects of climate change, community and regulatory demands, and toxicity and pesticide resistance,” she said.
“Our disruptive research involves a spray of nano-sized degradable clay used to release double-stranded RNA, that protects plants from specific disease-causing pathogens.”
The research, by scientists from the Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation (QAAFI) and UQ’s Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (AIBN) is published in Nature Plants.
Professor Mitter said the technology reduced the use of pesticides without altering the genome of the plants.
“Once BioClay is applied, the plant ‘thinks’ it is being attacked by a disease or pest insect and responds by protecting itself from the targeted pest or disease.
“A single spray of BioClay protects the plant and then degrades, reducing the risk to the environment or human health.”
She said BioClay met consumer demands for sustainable crop protection and residue-free produce.
“The cleaner approach will value-add to the food and agri-business industry, contributing to global food security and to a cleaner, greener image of Queensland.”
AIBN’s Professor Zhiping Xu said BioClay combined nanotechnology and biotechnology.
“It will produce huge benefits for agriculture in the next several decades, and the applications will expand into a much wider field of primary agricultural production,” Professor Xu said.
The project has been supported by a Queensland Government Accelerate Partnership grant and a partnership with Nufarm Limited.
The Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation is a UQ institute jointly supported by the Queensland Government.
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) of the future will be able to visually coordinate their flight and navigation just like birds and flying insects do, without needing human input, radar or even GPS satellite navigation.
A research group at the University of Queensland, Australia is trying to make this future a reality by uncovering flying techniques that budgerigars and bees share, and applying their findings to UAV control programmes. Prof Mandyam Srinivasan, leading the research, explains: “We study how small airborne creatures such as bees and birds use their vision to avoid collisions with obstacles, fly safely through narrow passages, control their height above the ground and more. We then use biologically-inspired principles to design novel vision systems and algorithms for the guidance of UAVs.”
At first glance, insects and birds have very different brains in terms of size and architecture, yet the visual processing in both animals is very effective at guiding their flight. “Bees’ brains weigh a tenth of a milligram and carry far fewer neurones than our own brains; yet the insects are capable of navigating accurately to food sources over 10 km away from their hive,” remarks Prof Srinivasan. “Birds too can perform incredible aerobatics and navigational feats. These animals are clearly using simple and elegant strategies, honed by thousands of years of evolution.”
The mining, navigation, minerals exploration and environmental hydrology sectors are set to benefit from new University of Queensland research into quantum technology.
UQ School of Mathematics and Physics theoretical physicist Dr Simon Haine has demonstrated a technique that can be universally applied to theoretical calculations of matter-wave dynamics and used to improve the sensitivity of measurement devices.
“Until now, there has been no clear way to quantify the sensitivity of these devices, especially when the behaviour of the system is dominated by complicated wave-like dynamics,” Dr Haine said.
“When quantum physics takes over, we can no longer model the movement of atoms by treating them as simple particles. We need to treat them as waves.”
Dr Haine said the research, published in Physical Review Letters, would enable ultra-precise measurements of movement such as accelerations and rotations and of the strength and direction of gravity.
The ultra-precise measurements have applications on land and sea.
“The ability to ultra-precisely measure accelerations and rotations is important for submarines, and by using ultra-precise sensing technology, they can track their movement without needing to reveal their position by surfacing to access the Global Positioning satellites,” he said.
“Similarly, these ultra-precise measurements of gravitational fields can be used by the mining industry to help detect what is beneath the ground.
A University of Queensland researcher has made a big step toward the holy grail of biomedical science — a new form of effective pain relief.
“Translating the venom’s toxins into a viable drug has proved difficult,” Dr Clark said.
“But now we’ve been able to identify a core component of one of these conotoxins (toxins from cone snail venom) during laboratory tests.
“We think this will make it much easier to translate the active ingredient into a useful drug.”
Dr Clark said a sea snail used its venom to immobilise prey and protect itself.
Kim Cobb, a marine scientist at the Georgia Institute of Technology, expected the coral to be damaged when she plunged into the deep blue waters off Kiritimati Island, a remote atoll near the center of the Pacific Ocean. Still, she was stunned by what she saw as she descended some 30 feet to the rim of a coral outcropping.
“The entire reef is covered with a red-brown fuzz,” Dr. Cobb said when she returned to the surface after her recent dive. “It is otherworldly. It is algae that has grown over dead coral. It was devastating.”
The damage off Kiritimati is part of a mass bleaching of coral reefs around the world, only the third on record and possibly the worst ever. Scientists believe that heat stress from multiple weather events including the latest severe El Niño, compounded by climate change, has threatened more than a third of Earth’s coral reefs. Many may not recover.
Coral reefs are the crucial incubators of the ocean’s ecosystem, providing food and shelter to a quarter of all marine species, and they support fish stocks that feed more than one billion people. They are made up of millions of tiny animals, called polyps, that form symbiotic relationships with algae, which in turn capture sunlight and carbon dioxide to make sugars that feed the polyps.
An estimated 30 million small-scale fishermen and women depend on reefs for their livelihoods, more than one million in the Philippines alone. In Indonesia, fish supported by the reefs provide the primary source of protein.
“This is a huge, looming planetary crisis, and we are sticking our heads in the sand about it,” said Justin Marshall, the director of CoralWatch at Australia’s University of Queensland.
Bleaching occurs when high heat and bright sunshine cause the metabolism of the algae — which give coral reefs their brilliant colors and energy — to speed out of control, and they start creating toxins. The polyps recoil. If temperatures drop, the corals can recover, but denuded ones remain vulnerable to disease. When heat stress continues, they starve to death.
Damaged or dying reefs have been found from Réunion, off the coast of Madagascar, to East Flores, Indonesia, and from Guam and Hawaii in the Pacific to the Florida Keys in the Atlantic.
The largest bleaching, at Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, was confirmed last month. In a survey of 520 individual reefs that make up the Great Barrier Reef’s northern section, scientists from Australia’s National Coral Bleaching Task Force found only four with no signs of bleaching. Some 620 miles of reef, much of it previously in pristine condition, had suffered significant bleaching.
In follow-up surveys, scientists diving on the reef said half the coral they had seen had died. Terry Hughes, the director of the Center of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University in Queensland, who took part in the survey, warned that even more would succumb if the water did not cool soon.
Gaps in our information about biodiversity means we are at risk of focussing our conservation efforts in the wrong places.
New research from Newcastle University, UK, University College London (UCL) and the University of Queensland, Australia, highlights the uncertainty around our global biodiversity data because of the way we record species sightings.
The study explains how a lack of information about a species in a particular location doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not there and that recording when we don’t see something is as important as recording when we do.
Publishing their findings today in the academic journal Biology Letters, the team say we need to change the way we record sightings – or a lack of them – so we can better prioritise our conservation efforts in light of the Convention on Biological Diversity.
Dr Phil McGowan, one of the study’s authors and a Senior Lecturer in Biodiversity and Conservation at Newcastle University, said:
“Where there is no recent biodiversity data from an area then we might assume a species is no longer found there, but there could be a number of other possible reasons for this lack of data.
“It could be that its habitat is inaccessible – either geographically or due to human activity such as ongoing conflict – or perhaps it’s simply a case that no-one has been looking for it.
“Unless we know where people have looked for a particular species and not found it then we can’t be confident that it’s not there.”
To test the research, the team used the rigorously compiled database of European and Asian Galliformes – a group of birds which includes the pheasant, grouse and quail.
“Our long-standing love of the Galliformes goes back hundreds of years which means we have records that are likely to be much better than for other groups of animals or plants,” explains Dr McGowan.
“Not only have these birds been hunted for food, but their spectacular colours made them valuable as trophies and to stock the private aviaries of the wealthy. In the late 1800s and the turn of the last century, the Galliformes were prized specimens in museum and private collections and today they are still a favourite with bird watchers.”
Analysing 153,150 records dating from 1727 to 2008 and covering an area from the UK to Siberia and down to Indonesia, the team found that after 1980, there was no available data at 40% of the locations where Galliformes had previously been present.
The study suggests two possible scenarios.
Dr Elizabeth Boakes, the study’s lead author and a teaching fellow at University College London, said:
“We have no evidence of populations existing past 1980 in 40% of our locations. However, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.
“One scenario is that populations have been lost from these areas, probably due to hunting or habitat loss. The other scenario is that the species are still locally present but that nobody has been to look for them.
“Our study shows that which scenario you choose to believe makes a huge difference to measures used in conservation priority-setting such as species richness and geographic range. It’s important that we make the right call and that means a big shake up in the way we currently monitor biodiversity.
“We need to record what we don’t see as well as what we do see and we need to be recording across much wider areas.”
Why send a message back in time, but lock it so that no one can ever read the contents? Because it may be the key to solving currently intractable problems. That’s the claim of an international collaboration who have just published a paper in npj Quantum Information.
It turns out that an unopened message can be exceedingly useful. This is true if the experimenter entangles the message with some other system in the laboratory before sending it. Entanglement, a strange effect only possible in the realm of quantum physics, creates correlations between the time-travelling message and the laboratory system. These correlations can fuel a quantum computation.
Around 10 years ago, researcher Dave Bacon, now at Google, showed that a time-travelling quantum computer could quickly solve a group of problems, known as NP-complete, which mathematicians have lumped together as being hard.
The problem was, Bacon’s quantum computer was travelling around ‘closed timelike curves.’ These are paths through the fabric of spacetime that loop back on themselves. General relativity allows such paths to exist through contortions in spacetime known as wormholes.
Physicists argue something must stop such opportunities arising, because it would threaten ‘causality’ — in the classic example, someone could travel back in time and kill their grandfather, negating their own existence.
And it’s not only family ties that are threatened. Breaking the causal flow of time has consequences for quantum physics, too. Over the past two decades, researchers have shown that foundational principles of quantum physics break in the presence of closed timelike curves: you can beat the uncertainty principle, an inherent fuzziness of quantum properties, and the no-cloning theorem, which says quantum states can’t be copied.
However, the new work shows that a quantum computer can solve insoluble problems, even if it is travelling along ‘open timelike curves,’ which don’t create causality problems. That’s because they don’t allow direct interaction with anything in the object’s own past: the time travelling particles (or data they contain) never interact with themselves. Nevertheless, the strange quantum properties that permit ‘impossible’ computations are left intact.
“We avoid ‘classical’ paradoxes, like the grandfathers paradox, but you still get all these weird results,” says Mile Gu, who led the work.
Gu is at the Centre for Quantum Technologies (CQT) at the National University of Singapore and Tsinghua University in Beijing. His eight other coauthors come from these institutions, the University of Oxford, UK, Australian National University in Canberra, the University of Queensland in St Lucia, Australia, and QKD Corp in Toronto, Canada.
“Whenever we present the idea, people say no way can this have an effect,” says Jayne Thompson, a co-author at CQT. But it does: quantum particles sent on a timeloop could gain super computational power, even though the particles never interact with anything in the past. “The reason there is an effect is because some information is stored in the entangling correlations: this is what we’re harnessing,” Thompson says.
There is a caveat — not all physicists think that these open timeline curves are any more likely to be realizable in the physical universe than the closed ones. One argument against closed timelike curves is that no-one from the future has ever visited us. That argument, at least, doesn’t apply to the open kind, because any messages from the future would be locked.
Read more: Computing with Time Travel