Describing your research – soundbites from Auckland part 2

More researchers from the workshops at the University of Auckland describing their research in one to two sentences.

These were the largest workshops yet so I came away with a huge number of slips of paper – not all of them are listed as a result, but this should give you a flavour of the inventiveness of the Aucklanders!

My favourite ten

The ultimate goal of my research is to cure tuberculosis just like a simple cold, a dozen tablets and that’s it.

We are basically building a time machine that allows us to travel backwards to understand the evolutionary history of viruses and forwards in to time to predict future epidemics.

Computational physics is like directing a play — your actors are electrons and nuclei,  you set the stage and tell them what to do. Sometimes though, they don’t behave and you end up with a very different story to the one you expected — that’s the exciting bit!

Pressure is not always bad. High pressure processes your New Zealand Greenshell mussels and you have that crunchy, sweet, fresh product — better always, under pressure.

The virus that just crashed your computer is one of many that originated from one source, like any other biological virus. We find out where it came from.

Making computers smarter. Challenging human dominance in games.

Darwin described the evolution of animals in the natural world. My thesis describes the evolution of the perception of animals in literature.

Revealing the secrets of the human brain might change the face of the 21st century as the transistor changed the 20th century.

Arctic and Antarctic fish don’t freeze in sub-zero waters — they have special antifreeze peptides that I want to understand.

Getting drugs passed through the cornea of the eye is like trying to squeeze through a closed door. Lets see if we can overcome that with nanotechnology.

And a sample of the rest…

* In 50 years time,  two year olds will be using online technology to shape and form the world they  live in and so will 90 year olds! My research is about building the pathways to our shared future.

* A half-hearted person cannot succeed, so  is a half-hearted geometric model. Full-heartedly, we are trying to get a full-heart model for humans.

* While complex  at first glance, the purpose of computer languages is to make it easier to communicate what you are trying to make happen, not more complex. I aim to make that understanding clear.

* How not to have a food allergy… don’t eat.

* Designing and developing a new way to cast metal products thats gonna change the way casting has been done for hundreds of years.

* As I design more intelligent machines, its the harder jobs that will become scarce. The postman, secretary, gardner jobs are secure forever.

* It is not what you know but who you know which determines where you go as a tourist. The connection between the people you know and where to travel to as a tourist.

* When the brain is injured and neurons die, inflammatory cells respond to try and help it repair. We are trying to understand how these cells are acting and how this can be improved.

* Wouldn’t it be nice to know that positive lifestyle choices during pregnancy could have beneficial effects for your unborn child? I’m  looking at whether exercising during pregnancy can reduce the risk of offspring obesity while still in the womb.

* What is it in human nature which yearns for the unexpected. Different colours and patterns in flowers bring delight to the soul.

* Printing — a quiet storm of beauty everywhere else but here. Why?

* New Zealanders are passionate about seafood and its production. What we don’t know is what it is doing to our marine environment.

* Apparently,  social entrepreneurship will cure the world’s social and environmental ills. Really? How? How does society fill the gap between business and government in innovative ways.

* I am looking to the age old question: are men really THAT promiscuous? But by studying this in Tui birds  instead of humans.

* Stick insects are a prime example of evolution. So much of New Zealand’s diversity is continually discovering new branches of the evolutionary tree.

* We take drugs everyday, but developing a new drug is harder than winning lotto.

* The task of finding a miracle drug for malaria is  like finding that one grain of sand on the beach, only to lose it again when the next wave comes washing in.

* If we could find an accurate and reliable way of determining the age of bruises, we could provide stronger evidence in suspected cases of physical abuse.

* When people on a guided tour see a whale in the flesh questions bubble  to the surface, but the big question is how their curiosity makes them connect the story of the whale’s survival with their own actions.

* We often imagine, hypothesise and speculate science, but microscopy allows direct visualisation of the science.

* Germs in dirt might make a treatment for HIV.

* I’m working on the chemical assembly lines in bacteria and fungi. We are trying to map out why they make what they make and not something else.

* Red wine is good for your heart, but alcohol will kill you first if you drink too much.

* In the springtime, Kiwifruit buds break at all different times. Like soldiers waking to a loud whistle in the army barracks we want those buds to break in perfect unison,  ready for the summer growth ahead.

* Our aim is simple – to detect breast cancer from the blood of women and treat those women in the best possible way.

* To improve health status and quality of life in older adults through physical activity.

* I am looking for the factors that link obesity to its positive influence on the bone disease osteoparosis.

* Baby green and gold kiwifruit are both green. Why does one ripen to yellow and the other doesn’t?


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