Podcasts – Global Leadership Series

The microplastic invasion

Tiny particles of plastic are seemingly everywhere: So-called microplastics have been found in the ocean, tap water, bottled water, soil and the air we breathe. Microplastics in the oceans are ingested by aquatic life and enter the food chain. Indeed, microplastics have been detected in seafood, including tuna, lobster and oysters. Humans are also likely exposed to microplastics as a result of plastic contamination from food packaging or processing.


Principles and profits: ethics in the 21st century

Ethics is at the heart of every contemporary social crisis, whether we realise it or not. From the Financial Services Royal Commission, to the use of technology, to the treatment of vulnerable people, ethical frameworks have unfortunately been manipulated, cherry-picked and at times abandoned to justify unethical actions.


Can we keep the next pandemic at bay?

We live in uncertain times, a time of fast change and rapid internationalisation. Uncertain times in which we are very cognisant to the possibility of a terrorist attack, a cyber-cataclysm, or a natural disaster. However, just as devastating and just as capable of visiting destruction on entire communities in a matter of hours is an outbreak of infectious disease that rapidly crosses international borders.

Zoonotic diseases are very common around the world. Diseases, known better by names like Ebola, Swineflu, Rabies, Tuberculosis and Zika.  Scientists estimate that more than six out of every 10 known infectious diseases in people are spread from animals, and three out of every four new or emerging infectious diseases in people are spread from animals**.
 


Crossing borders: the global refugee crisis

As of January 2019, there were 68.5 million forcibly displaced people in the world, including 25.4 million refugees who have fled their homes to escape violence and persecution. A staggering 40 million of these displaced people are still within the borders of their home country.

These crises are not limited to any one region, either. Millions have left Venezuela in recent decades, there are 11 million Syrians who are either internally displaced and refugees, nearly a million Rohingya have crossed the border into Bangladesh, with countless others murdered or displaced. Responses to these crises have varied and none are without controversy. Australia's use of detention centres on Nauru and Manus Island has raised major human rights questions, a policy with no end in sight and no easy answers.

Just as there is no single reason for refugee crises – famine, war, crime, repression – there is no single solution either. UQ experts, Professor Alex Bellamy, Dr Gerhard Hoffstaedter and Dr Sara Riva, will discuss how the world has and must adapt to ongoing and future crises.


Mighty microbiome

It seems everywhere you turn today, you can’t help hearing about the 'microbiome'. Most people know this has something to do with bugs (microbes) that live inside us and play an important role in our health. Why all the interest now and does diet affect our microbiome? 

Associate Professor Mark Turner will offer a brief overview of the gut microbiome and how the food we eat shapes it, which ultimately affects our health.

Professor Phil Hugenholtz will join us to give a brief history of the microbiome and why it’s taken up a prominent role in our social consciousness.

Professor Mark Morrison will speak to the breadth of medical research projects he supports with his work and the remarkable impact they have had with improving health outcomes through treating / improving patient microbiome.


Are we losing the art of the written word?

This lecture and panel discussion will explore whether technological and cultural changes are threatening or strengthening the written word.  A linguist, social media expert, journalist and author will come together to consider these challenges from different angles, discussing the changing profile of writing in different genres and media.

Millennials are reading more than previous generations - not only on their smartphones and tablets, but books as well.  At the same time, written communication through text messages, Tweets, and the like are booming.  But they rely increasingly on brevity, lack of punctuation, abbreviation and even visual hieroglyphs (emojis) in place of words themselves.


The science of sleep

We spend approximately a third of our lives asleep: that's roughly twenty-five years we could spend awake and living, and yet evolution has fettered us to hours spent every night in our most vulnerable state - unconscious and unaware.

While the precise functions of sleep are still in the process of being uncovered, sleep is universal across all animals – from bees to elephants – suggesting a critical function that has been conserved across millions of species and millions of years of evolution. We all feel the effects of a bad night’s sleep in our daily interactions and performance, but why exactly we feel that drain (and, consequently, how sleep affects the brain) is still in the process of being discovered.


Investigative journalism in the era of fake news

The future of democracy depends on the free and fair flow of information, of transparency in our institutions of all kinds. Investigative journalism shines a light on the systems that form the basis of our society and government. Two experts in the field will share their experiences in the industry.

Our expert panel, award winning investigative journalists Professor Peter Greste and Marian Wilkinson, led by international journalist, broadcaster and academic Bruce Woolley, will examine the very real threats to justice, democracy and progress in this era of post-truth.


Biobanking and the growth in personalised medicine

Two of UQ's leading researchers will discuss the benefits of biobanking - the process of collecting samples of bodily fluid or tissue. These samples are later used to help fight disease in a personalised approach.

This personalisation of medicine has obvious benefits for patients which will be demonstrated through case studies in both the paediatric and breast cancer fields.  The research impact is remarkable, but what are the challenges around biobanking, and how can we ensure the benefits are realised on both a local and global scale?

Join three leading researchers in the biobanking field who will address these questions, and provide insight into current research and the next steps for biobanking in Australia and beyond. 


Anti-ageing: non-invasive treatments to dementia

Dementia is one of the country’s most pressing health problems. There are more than 353,800 Australians living with dementia: three in ten people over the age of 85 and almost one people over 65. With this number expected to rise to 900,000 by 2050, spending on dementia will outstrip that of any other health condition. It presents significant challenges to the health care system, which makes directed research programs aimed at preventing and treating ageing dementia an urgent priority.

Researchers at UQ’s Queensland Brain Institute (QBI) are driven by the insight that fundamental, basic research is required to provide a solution to the increasing challenge of dementia to our society.


The new psychology of health: unlocking the social cure

If you are over 50 and you join one social group today you will cut your risk of being diagnosed with depression in the next two years by 24%. With every group membership that that you lose after retirement, your quality of life declines by 10%, and your life expectancy reduces by about 3%. Such statistics point to the fact that group life is an important determinant of well-being and health. People who are more socially connected generally live longer and are healthier than those who are socially isolated.

This presentation will address the impact of social life on health and how the UQ developed program, Groups 4 Health is delivering the social cure to a range of vulnerable groups including new mothers, retirees, and people recovering from addiction.


3D printing: a new frontier for regenerative dentistry

3D printing is not a new technology however using it to print live tissues and cells is a recent development.

Many Australians have been to the dentist to be told that they have an oral issue impacting both function and aesthetics. For example, gum disease affects nearly 50% of Australians over the age of 40. Left untreated, this can result in painful and sometimes irreversible oral damage.

Professor Saso Ivanovski and his team from UQ's School of Dentistry are exploring ways to repair this tissue damage using new 3D bio-printing technology to print live tissues and cells.

This requires the expertise of not only clinicians, but also engineers and scientists. Professor Justin Cooper-White from UQ's Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology will provide an engineer's perspective on developing biomaterials for tissue engineered cartilage, bone, cardiac muscle and vascular systems.

Join us for this fascinating presentation, which will bring together three UQ researchers, Professor Saso Ivanovski, Professor Justin Cooper-White and Dr Michal Bartnikowski, whose combined research and expertise could be the key to regenerating oro-facial tissues.


Venomous mystery: turning venoms into medicine

When you think of animals such as spiders and cone snails, you imagine the pain and harm they can cause. But did you know that some of the world’s deadliest creatures may hold the key to the next generation of painkillers and treatments for other diseases?

At UQ’s Institute for Molecular Bioscience (IMB), Professor Glenn King and Associate Professor Irina Vetter are exploring the chemical cocktails present in the venom of animals to uncover new treatments for pain, stroke and epilepsy.

At this Global Leadership Series event, Professor King and Professor Vetter discussed how these dangerous venoms can be developed into medicines, the exciting discoveries at IMB and what the next steps are for progressing new treatments into clinical trials. Here’s what they had to say.


Future of work in a new age of automation

The increasingly automated workforce, driven by the sophistication of AI and robotics, put us in a unique moment in history of great promise as well as great peril. What has been predicted for a century is coming to pass, with around 5 million jobs expected to be displaced or disrupted in Australia alone by AI and robotics over the next 10-15 years.  The world has the potential to connect billions more people to digital networks, dramatically improve the efficiency of organizations and even manage assets in ways that can help regenerate the natural environment, potentially undoing the damage of previous industrial revolutions. At the same time, this disruption threatens to increase income inequality, fragment societies, and create new security concerns. In view of the challenges arising from these changes there is a clear need to develop new sociological, ethical, legal and scientific knowledge on automation and its impacts on employment, education, law and governance.

The prospect of a post-work society, or at least an increased share of structural unemployment, raises questions not faced since the upheaval of the industrial revolution, with perhaps even more dramatic consequences. Professor Greg Marston, Professor Tim Mehigan and Professor Paula McDonald are focused on the future of work and inequality and disadvantage and are uniquely positioned to address this technological watershed.


How UQ is saving the reef through science

In recent years, the Great Barrier Reef has made headlines, not as a tourist destination but as one of Australia's largest environmental battles. Three UQ researchers are diving into projects that can enable better restoration, management and protection of the reef. This includes mapping reef health to the habitats comprising the Great Barrier Reef, predicting reef adaptation in the short to medium term future, and developing scalable methods to control the crown-of-thorns starfish.

Join our experts from the Schools of Biological Sciences, and Earth and Environmental Sciences, Professor Bernie Degnan, Dr Sophie Dove, and Dr Chris Roelfsema, as they discuss the ways that science is helping our Great Barrier Reef.