Royal Society of NSW News & Events

Royal Society of NSW News & Events
JUL
29

Hunter Branch Meeting 2020-3

Professor Pia Ednie-Brown“Architecture and the Cultivation of Vitality”

Professor Pia Ednie-Brown
School of Architecture & Built Environment
University of Newcastle

Date: Wednesday, 29 July 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.

This lecture is a joint event of the University of Newcastle (in its new Professsor series) and the Royal Society of NSW.

How do the spaces we create affect our well-being, our creativity and cultural vitality? We often have a sense that certain places help us feel happier, stronger, more relaxed or more energised, but struggle to pin-point exactly what makes us feel this way. Answers to the question of how and why architectural environments affect us have been offered across disciplines, producing multiple and very different perspectives on the issue. Each offers a fragment of truth perhaps, but the highly contextual and complex nature of architectural environments eludes singular, disciplinary standpoints.

In this lecture, Professor Pia Ednie-Brown will argue that architectural approaches aiming to cultivate vitality can be found through approaching place as a person. This changes the nature of our relationship with buildings and sites such that we don’t design them, we design with them. Crucially, our relationship with places cultivates vitality through forging meaningful, living connections beyond ourselves.

Professor Ednie-Brown is a Professor of Architecture at the University of Newcastle, Australia. Her research projects have investigated relationships between creativity, emergence, ethics and innovation. She has a creative research practice, Onomatopoeia. Her creative work and writing have been published widely, and she has edited two books: Plastic Green: designing for environmental transformation (RMIT Press, 2009), and The Innovation Imperative: Architectures of Vitality (AD, Wiley, 2013).

MAY
27

Hunter Branch Meeting 2020-2

Emeritus Professor Eugenie Lumbers“COVID-19 and confusion: the story of a nasty but nice viral receptor”

Emeritus Professor Eugenie Lumbers AM FAA DistFRSN
Hunter Medical Research Institute and
University of Newcastle

Date: Wednesday, 27 May 2020, 5.30pm
Venue: Zoom webinar
Video recording: YouTube video

COVID-19 is an infection caused by a corona virus (SARS-CoV-2). To get into the body it binds to a protein on the surface of the cells of the body’s organs by a viral protein spike. These spikes stick out from the surface of the virus giving it a crown-like appearance, hence the name corona virus. The spike protein binds to an enzyme, ACE2. It is thought that the more ACE2 there is on cell membranes the greater the load of infectious particles there will be to enter cells, i.e., the greater the level of infection.

When the spike protein binds to ACE2 it ‘destroys’ it. ACE2 protects lung, heart and kidneys from the actions of angiotensin II which activates inflammatory pathways, by removing angiotensin II and converting it to an anti-inflammatory peptide. SARS-CoV-2 by binding to ACE2, therefore removes its protective effects.

Recombinant ACE2 can be easily introduced into the body. The question is could ACE2 be used safely to treat COVID-19? Do drugs that lower blood pressure by blocking angiotensin II and also by causing upregulation of ACE2 enhance the severity of COVID-19? Or do these drugs protect against severe tissue damage by suppressing angiotensin II’s inflammatory actions? These conflicting actions of ACE2 are causing confusion in the race to manage patients with COVID-19 and to prevent infection.

Emeritus Professor Eugenie Lumbers is the Honorary Secretary of the Hunter Branch of the RSNSW. She studied medicine at University of Adelaide and subsequently gained a Doctorate in Medicine for her research into the renin-angiotensin system. She was the first woman to be awarded an NHMRC CJ Martin Fellowship and she studied fetal physiology in Oxford where she was a Junior Research Fellow at Wolfson College. Returning to Australia, Eugenie and her husband settled in Sydney where Eugenie was employed at University of NSW. She developed her research on fetal physiology and her team published numerous papers on the fetal and maternal renin-angiotensin systems and their cardiovascular and renal systems. Eugenie was awarded a Doctorate in Science and a personal professorial chair. Subsequently she was the first woman at NSW to be awarded a Scientia Professorship. Eugenie served on numerous university committees as well as committees of the NHMRC, NHF and ARC. She was elected to the University of NSW Council. Eugenie was Head of the School of Physiology and Pharmacology for 9 years. In 2002 she was elected to the Australian Academy of Science and made an Member of the Order of Australia in 2012.

Eugenie retired in 2003 to go sailing. In 2007 she began work at University of Newcastle where she held an adjunct professorial appointment. She also holds an adjunct appointment with University of Queensland. After achieving success in gaining funding, Eugenie began a research program into the reproductive tract renin-angiotensin system together with Dr Kirsty Pringle (now Associate Professor). Eugenie is still actively involved in research at the University of Newcastle in the Hunter Medical Research Institute. The team has been developing a research program in ACE2 among other components of the renin-angiotensin system.

Eugenie has three daughters and five grandchildren.

MAR
25

Hunter Branch Meeting 2020-x

Professor TonyOpen Lecture: Planetary Health—Safeguarding Health in the Anthropocene Epoch 

Professor Tony Capon
Monash University

The Hunter Branch of the Royal Society of NSW has cancelled its Annual General Meeting and Open Lecture, scheduled for 25 March, due to the evolving corona virus pandemic. 

It is anticipated that this event will be resceduled for December 2020

Enquiries: Please address enquiries to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (M: 0457 612 463)

Professor Tony Capon directs the Monash Sustainable Development Institute and holds a chair in planetary health in the School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine at Monash University. A public health physician and authority in environmental health and health promotion, his research focuses on urbanisation, sustainable development and human health. He is a former director of the International Institute for Global Health at United Nations University (UNU-IIGH) and has previously held professorial appointments at the University of Sydney and Australian National University. He is a member of the Rockefeller Foundation–Lancet Commission on Planetary Health that published its report Safeguarding human health in the Anthropocene epoch in 2015, and the International Advisory Board for The Lancet Planetary Health.

Two of his recent publications are:

  • ‘Advancing Planetary Health in Australia: focus on emerging infections and antimicrobial resistance.’ Hill-Cawthorne et al. BMJ Global Health (2019)4(2) e 001283
  • ‘Human Health on an Ailing Planet’ - Historical Perspectives on Our Future.’ Dunk JH et al. NEJM, 2019, 381(8):778-782
JAN
31

Hunter Branch Meeting 2020-1

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

Professor Ryan Loxton
Curtin University of Technology

A joint public lecture held as part of the Mathematics in Industry Study Group and supported by the Hunter Branch of the Royal Society of NSW, the University of Newcastle,the Australian and New Zealand Industrial and Applied Mathematics Division of the Australian Mathematical Society, and the NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer Conference Sponsorship Program.

Date: Friday, 31 January 2020, 5pm for 5.30–6.30pm
Venue: Newcastle City Hall (Hunter Room), 290 King Street, Newcastle, NSW 2300 

Optimisation is a branch of applied mathematics that focuses on using mathematical techniques to optimise complex systems. Real-world optimisation problems are typically enormous in scale, with hundreds of thousands of inter-related variables and constraints, multiple conflicting objectives, and numerous candidate solutions that can easily exceed the total number of atoms in the solar system, overwhelming even the fastest supercomputers. Mathematical optimisation has numerous applications in business and industry, but there is a big mismatch between the optimisation problems studied in academia (which tend to be highly structured problems) and those encountered in practice (which are non-standard, highly unstructured problems). This lecture gives a non-technical overview of the presenter’s recent experiences in building optimisation models and practical algorithms in the oil and gas, mining, and agriculture sectors. Some of this practical work has led to academic journal articles, showing that the gap between industry and academia can be overcome.

Ryan Loxton is a professor and the discipline leader for mathematics and statistics in the School of Electrical Engineering, Computing, and Mathematical Sciences at Curtin University. Ryan’s research interests lie in the areas of optimisation, optimal control, and data science. His work has been funded by the Australian Research Council (ARC), the Department of Industry, Innovation, and Science, and various industry partners, from small start-ups to large corporates. In particular, Ryan’s ARC grants include two prestigious, highly competitive fellowships—an Australian Postdoctoral Fellowship during 2011–14 and a current ARC Future Fellowship that runs until the end of 2021. His work focuses on using advanced mathematics to optimise complex processes in a wide range of applications such as mining, oil and gas, agriculture, and industrial process control. Ryan’s algorithms underpin the Quantum software platform developed by Aurora Global for tracking, executing, and optimising shutdown maintenance operations at mine sites. Ryan is a passionate advocate for industry engagement and has worked extensively with industry where he has led demand-driven research projects with many companies, both big and small, including Woodside Energy, Vekta Automation, Fleetcare, and Global Grain Handling Solutions. Ryan was the recipient of the 2018 JH Michell Medal from the Australian and New Zealand Industrial and Applied Mathematics Division (ANZIAM) as the outstanding researcher of the year, and the 2014 West Australian Young Scientist of the year. Ryan currently leads the optimisation theme in the new Australian Research Council’s Industrial Training Centre on Transforming Maintenance through Data Science, which is funded by a $3.9 million grant from the Australian Research Council plus matched funding from industry partners Alcoa, BHP Billiton, and Roy Hill.

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