As New Year celebrations give way to plans for the year ahead, 2010 is shaping up to be a busy year for the Australian Synchrotron with major projects and new challenges.
The Australian Synchrotron team is being strengthened by two recent appointments: a new Head of External Relations, Dr Christine Latif, and a new Quality Manager, Dr Kathleen Muscat.
Throughout the year we will continue to grow the synchrotron’s industry engagement program, begin regular user operations on the imaging and medical beamline, and introduce new capabilities on several beamlines (x-ray absorption spectroscopy, powder diffraction and x-ray fluorescence microprobe). We will enhance our workplace health and safety programs, move closer to operating the synchrotron light source in ‘top up’ mode for enhanced photon beam stability, and deliver key milestones in high-speed computing, data networks and remote access.
Work will also continue towards obtaining accreditation of the Australian Synchrotron’s occupational health and safety (OHS) management system to the AS/NZS 4801 standard, procuring a site-wide uninterruptable power supply (UPS) and upgrading the earthing infrastructure for the technical systems.
The $36.78 million Education Infrastructure Fund (EIF Round 2) funding agreement signed by the synchrotron in December 2009 is expected to be signed by the Federal Government representative in February 2010. This will enable completion of the detailed designs of the five new buildings, with construction to commence mid-2010.
Beamtime submissions open on 10 February 2010 for round 2010/2 (June – August 2010).
Key dates for beamtime submissions are listed on the synchrotron website here.
If you would like to discuss your ideas for future beamline proposals with the beamline scientists at the Australian Synchrotron, please allow plenty of time.
For more information about applying for beamtime at the Australian Synchrotron, contact the User Office: email@example.com
A collaborative research team from Melbourne has performed the first radiotherapy experiments on the Australian Synchrotron’s imaging and medical beamline.
The team is investigating an experimental form of radiotherapy for cancer treatment called microbeam radiation therapy (MRT), which is only possible at synchrotrons. Animal studies have shown that this form of radiation is remarkably well tolerated by normal tissue, but can destroy entire tumours. Although MRT research is still in the experimental stage, researchers hope it will eventually lead to more effective treatments for cancer.
In November 2009, the team used MRT at the Australian Synchrotron to treat laboratory mice with malignant tumours. The study, which was fully compliant with strict animal ethics requirements, found MRT significantly reduced tumour growth compared to untreated control tumours – with minimal side effects to normal tissue.
The collaborative MRT research team is led by Monash University scientists and includes researchers from Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, The Alfred Hospital, CSIRO and the Australian Synchrotron. The team is already planning its next MRT experiments on the synchrotron’s imaging and medical beamline, which is one of only four facilities around the world that can do MRT studies.
Diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis at age 10, Allyson Croxford is close to finishing a PhD that could potentially lead to new treatments or earlier diagnosis for this debilitating condition.
Around one in 100 Australians suffers from rheumatoid arthritis. The body’s immune system attacks the lining of ankles, wrists and other joints, causing joint pain, swelling and stiffness. Although there is currently no cure, new medicines have helped improve quality of life.
Led by Merrill Rowley, Allyson’s research group at Monash University is investigating how antibodies to collagen (type II) affect rheumatoid arthritis in mice. Collagen is a major component of cartilage, the joint tissue affected by rheumatoid arthritis.
The group is collaborating with Swedish researchers, who have identified where the antibodies bind to collagen in mouse cartilage. Different binding sites are associated with different degrees of severity.
Allyson is using the infrared microspectroscopy beamline at the Australian Synchrotron to investigate minute chemical changes that precede any visible sign of cartilage damage.
Her synchrotron work suggests that the damage done by the antibodies occurs before inflammation. This could help lead to new drugs or more effective early detection methods.
In 2009, Allyson’s passion for her research was highlighted when she won a competition in which Monash University PhD students had to present their research in just three minutes.
She plans to submit her PhD thesis later this year.
Guest speakers Ian Madsen, Michael James and Brendan Kennedy provided insights into everything from preparing for synchrotron beamtime to understanding the information contained within PD data, and from data acquisition to using data analysis software.
After completing the workshop, participants said they felt confident that they were better equipped to approach powder diffraction data analysis in the future. We look forward to seeing them at the beamline soon.
Late February 2010 marks an important anniversary for the Australian Synchrotron: five years since the first staff moved into their offices in the synchrotron building.
On 28 February 2005, 30 synchrotron staff moved to the Clayton building from their offices in Nauru House in Melbourne’s central business district. Seventeen of those 30 people still work at the synchrotron.
In December 2009, Australian Synchrotron staff made light work of hot weather to participate in the inaugural social club fun run.
Supported by generous quantities of encouragement and refreshments, 67 staff members ran, jogged or walked for between 12 and 36 minutes around the facility sporting ring (aka the ring road).
Notable individual performances included Rachel Williamson and Rohan Dowd who ran for the maximum 36 minutes, and Kerry Hayes and George Borg who walked for the maximum 36 minutes.
The event was organised by the social club and other volunteers, and managed by principal mechanical engineer Mick Küsel.
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The Australian Synchrotron offers a unique working environment for a wide range of specialists. More information on job postings.
This month our short interview features Hock Ch’ng, who heads the Australian Synchrotron’s occupational health, safety and environment (OHSE) team.
Describe your job in 25 words or less.
Best aspect of your job?
Worst aspect of your job?
Apart from the Australian Synchrotron, what's the coolest job you've ever had?
Best things about living in Melbourne and why?
Your favourite overseas destination and why?
A little-known fact about the Australian Synchrotron?
What is your group’s biggest achievement so far?
What is the single most important piece of advice you give people who are coming to the synchrotron?
What is the most surprising OHSE issue you’ve encountered at the synchrotron?
What is the biggest challenge facing your group?
EVENTS IN AUSTRALIA
BSR/MASR 2010 Meetings
BSR 2010 session themes include protein structure and function, biomaterials, spectroscopic techniques and non-crystalline diffraction.
MASR 2010 session themes include x-ray imaging, radiology, dosimetry and radiation biology, oncology, and pathology and diagnostics.
Sponsored by Monash University Centre for Synchrotron Science and CSIRO.
EVENTS OUTSIDE AUSTRALIA
For additional information and listings, see here
The First International Particle Accelerator Conference combines the three regional particle accelerator conferences previously held in Europe, America and Asia.
Deadline for early registration is 23 March 2010. Standard registration deadline is 9 April 2010.
SRMS / MEDSI 2010
The 7th International Conference on Synchrotron Radiation in Materials Science (SRMS-7) and the 6th International Conference on Mechanical Engineering Design of Synchrotron Radiation Equipment and Instrumentation (MEDSI) will be held jointly.
Abstract deadline for both events is 1 March 2010.
The 37th International Conference on Vacuum Ultraviolet and X-ray Physics will cover the development of synchrotron, laser and plasma-based VUV, soft x-ray and hard x-ray sources, and novel applications.
11th SXNS Conference
The Eleventh International Conference on Surface X-ray and Neutron Scattering brings together researchers studying surfaces and interfaces of solid, liquid, biological and soft matter via neutron or x-ray (either hard, soft, or EUV) scattering techniques.
SPIE Optical Engineering + Applications
This major symposium covers classical optical R & D, design, and engineering, as well as technologies and systems for use in optical systems, remote sensing, and illumination engineering. Events of interest to synchrotron scientists include the following two conferences:
The Tenth International Conference on X-ray Microscopy will cover the latest developments in methods and instrumentation, including x-ray sources, optics, detectors, and groundbreaking applications in biological and biomedical, environmental, earth, space, condensed matter, and materials sciences.
Abstract deadline is 1 March 2010.
SPACE FOR YOUR EVENT
To submit your synchrotron-related event for listing in Lightspeed and on the Australian Synchrotron website, click here.