Royal Society of NSW News & Events

Royal Society of NSW News & Events
AUG
18

Science Week 2020: The COVID Curve in Context

Emeritus Professor Robert Clancy“The COVID Curve in Context:  or Back to the Future—something old and something new”

Emeritus Professor Robert Clancy AM FRSN
Royal Society of NSW and the University of Newcastle

Date: Tuesday, 18 August 2020, 6.00pm
Venue: Zoom webinar. Click here for help in getting started with Zoom
Entry: No charge
Enquiries: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
All are welcome.

Image Professor Clancy’s talk will address two issues: (a) the pattern of health in Australia, and how COVID-19 fits this pattern, and what we can learn from past pandemics in Australia; and (b) why old people die and young people “don’t turn a hair”, and how we can make our airways young again.  The talk will also consider why we don’t have a useful vaccine, and what we need to do, and can do, in the future to learn to live with COVID-19.

Emeritus Professor Robert Clancy was the Foundation Professor of Pathology in the University of Newcastle Medical School and a clinical immunologist who undertook research in mucosal immunology and the development of mechanisms to enhance mucosal resistance and control mucosal inflammation. He has a strong involvement in the biotechnology of natural products that maximise mucosal immune competence, protecting against infection, and he maintains a clinic in gastroenterology focused on inflammatory bowel disease.

Professor Clancy also has strong, longstanding interests in histocartography relating to the discovery and development of Terra Australis, and the history of science and medicine, with a focus on epidemics. He has written five books on histocartography and is a regular speaker on maps—curating exhibitions and writing numerous articles on this topic.

AUG
20

Science Week 2020: The Periodic Table

Emeritus Professor Brynn Hibbert“The Periodic Table: ‘.. a medley of haphazard facts falling into line and order’ (C. P. Snow)”

Emeritus Professor Brynn Hibbert AM FRSN
Royal Society of NSW and UNSW Sydney

Date: Thursday, 20 August 2020, 6.00pm 
Venue: Zoom webinar. Click here for help in getting started with Zoom
Entry: No charge
Enquiries: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
All are welcome.

The ancients had isolated and named around thirteen substances, mostly metals, not necessarily realising they were unique, chemically-indivisible ‘elements’. With the discovery of Oganesson (118 Og) we have completed the seventh row of the modern periodic table. In between, the science of Chemistry has been built on the discovery and manipulation of more and more of the elements that make up our world.

Periodic Table reduced

2019 was declared the International Year of the Periodic Table of Chemical Elements, being the 150th anniversary of the discovery of the modern periodic table by Dmitri Mendeleev.

Brynn Hibbert will take a ramble through the table, re-telling great stories that have been collected by the Royal Australian Chemical Institute as part of its celebrations of Mendeleev’s discovery, and explaining just how we discover and name new elements. Hibbertium here we come!

No chemistry training is required by the audience but the talk does address the NSW Chemistry Stage 6 Syllabus Module 1: Periodicity with inquiry question “Are there patterns in the properties of elements?” and so might be of interest to schools.

Brynn Hibbert is a former, and now Emeritus, Professor of  Analytical Chemistry at UNSW. He is a go-to expert witness in the courts on matters chemical, particularly on drugs of abuse (in society and sports), although he has been known to do the occasional murder. As a member of committees of the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC)  he has been involved in the formal recognition process of new elements, his first  foray being Copernicium (element 112) and most recently Oganesson (118). In 2019 he won the first essay competition on ‘stories from the periodic table’ organised by the RACI with his tale of the discovery of iodine (and which will be re-told in his talk). Brynn is a Vice President of the RSNSW, and was President in 2016 – 2017.

SEP
02

1286th OGM and Open Lecture

Professor John Rasko AO“The Dawn of Molecular Medicine—Gene Therapy: past, present and future”

Professor John Rasko AO
Head, Department of Cell & Molecular Therapies, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital

Date: Wednesday, 2 September 2020, 6.30pm
Venue: Zoom Webinar. Click here for help in getting started with Zoom
Enquiries: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 
Entry: No charge
All are welcome.

 Summary: Over the next five years a possible 900% increase in Gene and Stem Cell Therapy approvals has been forecast. The convergence of substantial incremental technical advances towards combined cell and gene therapy has led to improved clinical outcomes in immune deficiencies, haemoglobinopathies, blindness, immunotherapies and other inherited diseases. An audit of cell, tissue and gene products with marketing authorization in 2018 worldwide identified 44 unique products, 37 of them are cell and tissue therapies (84%) and mainly autologous (55%).

The challenge of realizing the full potential of genetic understanding has been vital in overcoming the hurdles of efficient gene therapy. Since the first human clinical trial using gene technology in 1989, there have been nearly 3,000 approved clinical trials worldwide. The overwhelming majority of human clinical trials involves short-term gene expression or random integration of a therapeutic gene. Emerging technologies require controlled development in compliance with safety, regulatory and GMP requirements.  More precise gene targeting tools were first described in the early 2000s. Targeted gene editing or replacement using Zinc Finger Nucleases or TALENS have been tested in about a dozen clinical trials since 2009. 

In parallel with objectively proven therapies, ‘stem cell tourism’ has become a billion dollar industry with increasing examples of false claims. Embryonic and induced pluripotent stem cells have been mired in controversy and clinical development has been forestalled. We reported an analysis of the global distribution of more than 400 unique businesses marketing stem cell-based interventions. Many of these online entities promote clinical applications of ‘stem cells’ beyond present-day standards of care. These data should be of immediate concern to governments and ethicist being lobbied to amend laws governing the manufacture, distribution and clinical use of human cell-based medical products. Unregulated, untested or unsafe stem cell ‘therapies’ place the field at a difficult crossroad. Blurring the lines that distinguish evidence-based cell therapies from those that are not remains a fundamental public health concern.

Highlights in the clinical cell & gene therapy field will be discussed with special reference to haemophilia, thalassemia, graft versus host disease and cancer.

 Professor John Rasko is an Australian pioneer in the application of adult stem cells and genetic therapy. Since 1999 he has directed the Department of Cell and Molecular Therapies at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and the Gene and Stem Cell Therapy Program at the Centenary Institute, University of Sydney. He is the President (2018-20) of the prominent International Society for Cell & Gene Therapy.

John Rasko is a clinical haematologist, pathologist and scientist with an international reputation in gene and stem cell therapy, experimental haematology and molecular biology. In over 160 publications he has contributed to the understanding of stem cells and blood cell development, gene therapy technologies, cancer causation and treatment, human genetic diseases and molecular biology.

He serves on hospital, state and national bodies including Chair of GTTAC, Office of the Gene Technology Regulator – responsible for regulating all genetically-modified organisms in Australia - and immediate past Chair of the Advisory Committee on Biologicals, Therapeutic Goods Administration. Contributions to scientific organisations include co-founding (2000) and past-President (2003-5) of the Australasian Gene & Cell Therapy Society; Vice President (2008-12) and President-Elect (2016-18) International Society for Cell & Gene Therapy; Scientific Advisory Committees and Board member for philanthropic foundations; and several Human Research Ethics Committees. He is a founding Fellow of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences. In 2018, the Board of the ABC honoured him as the sixtieth Boyer Lecturer. He is the recipient of national (RCPA, RACP, ASBMB) and international awards in recognition of his commitment to excellence in medical research, including appointment as an Officer of the Order of Australia.

OCT
14

The Clancy Collection—an Exhibition of Early Maps

An eeraly map of Sydney“Charting a Course: a 500-year story of discovery and the development of Sydney”

Emeritus Professor Robert Clancy AM FRSN
Royal Society of NSW

Dates:  Wednesday, 14 October 2020, 4.00-5.30pm
Venue: Manly Art Gallery and Museum, West Esplanade Reserve, Manly NSW 2095
Entry: There is a limit of 20 attendees on each occasion due to COVID-19 related entry resrictions.  Register by email with the This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to ensure your place.  Wine and cheese will be available at a cost of $10 per person, to be collected at the door.  
Enquiries: By email to the This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
All are welcome.

Emeritus Professor Robert Clancy The Clancy Collection is one of Australia’s most significant archives of maps, ranging from 15th century European maps to an extensive collection depicting Australia and the Pacific. In this exhibition of around 100 maps, Sydney is the focus of a 500 year story of European expansion, scientific discovery and navigational endeavour.

Professor Clancy will guide attendees through an exhibition of maps that trace the discovery of Terra Australis and the development of Sydney using contemporary maps as documents of history. It is also the story of the printed map from 1480 to 1950. Maps compare the world as seen through western eyes before and after the great ocean traverses by those seeking the source of nutmeg and cloves. From their bases on the north coast of Java, expeditions led to discovery of Australia and the western two-thirds of the continent. The French and the English stole the 18th century, with James Cook tracing the east coast, to complete a rough circumference, before the English established a Jail at Sydney Cove for 1000 souls. The remaining exhibition explores the changing relationship between Sydney and its hinterland, and population shifts that take place as Sydney takes an international stage. Land becomes a common denominator as early grants give way to suburbs, and squatters give way to farmers. Sub-stories include navigation, charts, transport and always, land issues.

Emeritus Professor Robert Clancy was the Foundation Professor of Pathology in the University of Newcastle Medical School and a clinical immunologist who undertook research in mucosal immunology and the development of mechanisms to enhance mucosal resistance and control mucosal inflammation. He has a strong involvement in the biotechnology of natural products that maximise mucosal immune competence, protecting against infection, and he maintains a clinic in gastroenterology focused on inflammatory bowel disease.  He maintains a strong, longstanding interest in histocartography relating to the discovery and development of Terra Australis, and the history of science and medicine, with a focus on epidemics. He has written five books on histocartography and is a regular speaker on maps—curating exhibitions and writing numerous articles on this topic.

NOV
11

1288th OGM and Open Lecture

Helicobacter pylori image“The role of Helicobacter Pylori in Peptic Ulcer Disease”

Professors Thomas Borody and Adrian Lee
Centre for Digestive Diseases (1) and UNSW Sydney (2)

Date: Wednesday, 11 November 2020, 6.30pm
Venue: To be confirmed
Entry: To be confirmed
Enquiries: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
All are welcome.

This is the first presentation in the series How Good is NSW, a sequence of presentations documenting past and present discoveries that have made a difference. In it, Professors Lee and Borody will tell little known stories of the essential contributions by RSNSW Fellows to one of the greatest medical advance in our times.

Summary: In 1982 Robin Warren and Barry Marshall at the Royal Perth Hospital described the presence of squiggly bacteria in the gastric mucosa of patients with Peptic Ulcer Disease (PUD).Helicobacter pylori was on the map! They would deservedly be awarded the Nobel Prize for their discovery, which would change the world – medicine would never be the same again. It is not possible for even the modern generation of gastroenterologists to appreciate the way PUD dominated the lives of both patients and doctors 50 years ago — surgical lists were full of patients for gastrectomy, medical wards with patients with uncontrolled pain and complications. Twenty percent of men had a Duodenal Ulcer. Emergency rosters meant bleeding or perforated ulcers. Yet today, PUD is rarely seen – a recent analysis of the impact of H. pylori and its eradication over 25 years in Australia shows a saving of 19,000 deaths, and $10B in costs.

Warren and Marshall would have struggled to develop their ideas without the professional support of Professor Adrian Lee, with a long history of study of “squiggly” bacteria in the gut. His experience in the growth of these bacteria, their role in animal models, and his contributions to diagnosis, vaccine development and the link to cancer, added to the biology and broad understanding of these bacteria, enabling interpretation of the Perth discovery in a biological context. Warren and Marshall understood the importance of eradication to prove causation, but were unable to develop sterilising therapy, so only an association could be claimed. Professor Tom Borody carefully trialled a series of antibiotics to develop the first effective antibiotic combination, enabling for the first time, proof of causation of duodenal ulcers. This began a long sequence of contributions to our understanding and treatment of PUD by Borody including addition of PPI’s, and development of “escape” therapy. He worked with the Newcastle group to develop the first “near-patient” “yes/no” test, and identified a role for the host response in conditioning outcomes of the “host-parasite” relationship.

JAN
01

Calendar of Meetings in 2020

This page lists the Calandar of Meetings for the Royal Society of NSW in 2020.

Follow the links below for meetings held in Sydney, in Newcastle by the Hunter Branch, and in Mittagong by the Southern Highlands Branch.

 

Sydney Meetings 2020

DateEvent

Wednesday, 12 February

6.00 for 6.30pm

1280th Ordinary General Meeting and Open Lecture: 2019 RSNSW Scholarship Presentations

Venue: Gallery Room, State Library of NSW, Shakespeare Place, Sydney

Drought and wellbeing in Australian rural communities: implications for improving adaptive capacity and resilience to drought adaptive capacity and resilience to drought
Ms Emma Austin
PhD Student, Centre for Water, Climate and Land, University of Newcastle

Searches for Extended Higgs Sectors, Flavour Physics Anomalies and Dark Matter at the LHC
Mr Shayam Balaji
PhD Student, School of Physics, University of Sydney

Charting the Extracellular Matrix Through Breast Tumour Progression
Mr Michael Papanicolao
PhD Student, Faculty of Science, University of Technology Sydney and the Garvan Institute of Medical Research

Botanical biofilters for the phytofiltration of urban air pollutants
Mr Thomas Pettit
PhD Student, School of Life Sciences, University of Technology Sydney

Thursday, 20 February

5.30 for 6.00pm

Royal Society of NSW Liversidge Lecture

Venue: The Galleries, John Niland Scientia Building, UNSW Sydney, Kensington

The journey from simple polymers to nano-footballs: opportunities for better cancer treatment
Scientia Professor Martina Stenzel FAA
School of Chemistry, UNSW Sydney

Thursday, 27 February

6.00 for 6.30pm

Speaking the Music…The Magic of the Solo Violin
A joint presentation of the of the Royal Society of NSW and the Sydney Mechanics’ School of Arts

Venue: Sydney Mechanics’ School of Arts, 280 Pitt Street, Sydney

Dr David Hush and Anna Da Silva Chen (violinist)

Wednesday, 4 March

6.00 for 6.30pm

1281st Ordinary General Meeting and Open Lecture

Venue: Gallery Room, State Library of NSW, Shakespeare Place, Sydney

Soils: the least understood part of science, yet vital for all of us
Professor Robin J. Batterham
Former Chief Scientist of Australia and President of the Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering, and currently Kernot Professor of Engineering, University of Melbourne

Friday, 6 March

 

Frontiers of Science Forum
A joint forum presented by the Royal Society of NSW, the Teachers’ Guild of NSW, the Australian Institute of Physics, and the Royal Australian Chemical Institute

New frontiers in photonics —the science of light
Professor Ben Eggleton FAA FTSE FRSN
School of Physics and Nano Institute, University of Sydney

The mathematics of health honey bee hives
Professor Mary Myerscough
School of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Sydney

Fitbits for sharks: combining biology and data science
Ms Julianna Kadar
Department of Biological Sciences, Macquarie University

Drug discovery inspired by natural products
Professor Richard Payne
School of Chemistry, University of Sydney

Thursday, 12 March

6.00 for 6.30pm

Annual Meeting of the Four Societies
A joint meeting presented by the the Australian Institute of Energy, the Australian Nuclear Association, the Sydney Division of Engineers Australia, and the Royal Society of NSW

Venue: Metcalfe Auditorium, State Library of NSW, Macquarie Street, Sydney

Challenges for the Future: Energy Storage and Waste Plastic—Two Australian solutions going global
Professor Thomas Maschmeyer HonDSc FAA FTSE FMAE FRSN
School of Chemistry, University of Sydney

Postponed

Thursday, 19 March

On the Shoulders of Giants
A joint presentation of the of the Sydney Mechanics’ School of Arts and the Royal Society of NSW

Venue: Sydney Mechanics’ School of Arts, 280 Pitt Street, Sydney

Henry Carmichael: Educational Progressive, Social Reformer, Secularist and Winegrower
Dr Lesley Scanlon
Sydney Mechanics’ School of Arts and the University of Sydney

Wednesday, 22 April

6.00pm

153rd Annual General Meeting (6.00pm)
1282nd Ordinary General Meeting and Open Lecture (immediately following)

Venue: Zoom Webinar

Presidential Reflections—science stuff and the President’s random path
Emeritus Professor Ian Sloan AO FAA FRSN
President, Royal Society of NSW

Thursday, 21 May

7.00–8.30pm

[email protected]: May 2020

Venue: Zoom Webinar

Ten: the Mapping of Colonial Australia
Emeritus Professor Robert Clancy AM FRSN
University of Newcastle and the Royal Society of NSW

Wednesday, 3 June

6.30pm

1283rd Ordinary General Meeting and Open Lecture

Venue: Zoom Webinar

Drinking for three: Mother, baby and society
Distinguished Professor Elizabeth Elliott AM FRSN FAHMS
University of Sydney and Sydney Children’s Hostpital, Westmead

Saturday, 27 June

7.00pm

Virtual Annual Dinner, Distinguished Fellow's Lecture and 199th Anniversary

Venue: Zoom Webinar

Education and Evidence in a Post-Truth, Post-COVID World
Distinguished Professor Brian Schmidt AC FRS DistFRSN FAA
Vice-Chancellor, Australian National University

Wednesday, 8 July

6.30pm

1284th Ordinary General Meeting and Open Lecture

Venue: Zoom Webinar

Why Art Matters in Times of Crisis
Elizabeth Ann Macgregor OBE FRSN
Director, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney

Wednesday, 5 August 

Time: 6.30pm

1285th Ordinary General Meeeting and Open Lecture

Venue: Zoom Webinar

Growing Black Tall Poppies 
Speaker: Professor Peter Radoll
Pro Vice-Chancellor (Indigenous), University of Canberra

Tuesday, 18 August

Time: 6.00pm

Science Week Lectures

Venue: Zoom Webinar

The COVID Curve in Context:  or Back to the Future—something old and some new 
Speaker: Emeritus Professor Robert Clancy AM FRSN
Royal Society of NSW and University of Newcastle

Wednesday, 19 August

Time: 3.30pm

The Clancy Collection—an Exhibition of Maps

Venue: Manly Art Gallery and Museum, Sydney

Charting a Course: a 500 year story of discovery and development of Sydney 
Guide: Emeritus Professor Robert Clancy AM FRSN
Royal Society of NSW

Thursday, 20 August

Time: 6.00pm

Science Week Lectures

Venue: Zoom Webinar

The Periodic Table: a medley of haphazard facts falling into line and order 
Speaker: Emeritus Professor Brynn Hibbert
Royal Society of NSW and UNSW Sydney

Wednesday, 2 September

Time: 6.30pm

1286th Ordinary General Meeeting and Open Lecture

Venue: Zoom Webinar

The Dawn of Molecular Medicine - Gene Therapy: Past, Present and Future 
Speaker: Professor John Rasko AO
Head, Gene and Stem Cell Therapy Program, Centenary Institute

Wednesday, 7 October

Time: 6.30pm

1287th Ordinary General Meeeting and Open Lecture

Venue: Face-to-face/ Recorded (TBC)

Time’s Arrow and Eddington’s Challenge 
Speaker: Professor Huw Price FAHA FBA
Bertrand Russell Professor of Philosophy, University of Cambridge

Wednesday, 14 October

Time: 3.30pm

The Clancy Collection—an Exhibition of Maps (repeated)

Venue: Manly Art Gallery and Museum, Sydney

Charting a Course: a 500 year story of discovery and development of Sydney 
Guide: Emeritus Professor Robert Clancy AM FRSN
Royal Society of NSW

Thursday, 5 November

Time: To be advised

Royal Society of NSW and Four Academies Annual Forum

Venue: To be advised

Topic: After COVID-19: Creating the Best of Times from the Worst of Times

Wednesday, 11 November

Time: 6.30pm

1288th Ordinary General Meeeting and Open Lecture

Venue: To be advised

Topic: How Good is NSW — The Role of Helicobacter Pylori in Peptic Ulcer Disease
A series documenting past and present discoveries that have made a difference
Speaker: Professor Thomas Borody and Emeritus Professor Adrian Lee

Return to the top of page

 

Hunter Branch Meetings

DateEvent

Friday, 31 January

5.00 for 5.30pm

Hunter Branch Meeting 2020-1

Venue: Newcastle City Hall (Hunter Room), 290 King Street, Newcastle

Mathematics in Industry: Optimisation in Action — Unlocking Value in the Mining, Energy, and Agriculture Industries
Professor Ryan Loxton
Curtin University

Wednesday, 27 May

5.30pm

Hunter Branch Meeting 2020-2

Venue: Zoom Webinar

COVID-19 and confusion: the story of a nasty but nice viral receptor
Emeritus Professor Eugenie Lumbers AM DistFRSN FAA
University of Newcastle

Wednesday, 29 July

6.00pm

Hunter Branch Meeting 2020-3

Venue: Zoom Webinar

Architecture and the Cultivation of Vitality
Professor Pia Ednie-Brown
University of Newcastle

Wednesday, 2 December

5.30pm

Hunter Branch Meeting 2020-4

Venue: To be advised

Planetary Health: Safeguarding Health in the Anthropocene Epoch
Professor Tony Capon
Monash University

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Sydney meetings 

Hunter meetings

Southern Highlands branch meetings

Details of events scheduled for the remainder of the current year by the Southern Highlands branch can be found here.

Details of past events held by the Southern Highlands branch can be found here.

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