We enter into contracts all the time, without knowing it, but most people will admit to not reading or understanding the fine print. A collaborative team of researchers led by UWA Professor of Law, Camilla Andersen have found an alternative to navigating through paragraphs of legalese. They have created comic book contracts, which include a set of pictures with some text, designed to drive behaviour so that disputes do not arise. This exciting visual direction for legal contracts is also providing industry with time and money savings, whilst providing better access to justice for users.
Maintaining patterns of regular physical activity and good nutrition are important factors for developing good health in children. However, less than half of WA children are participating in the recommended minimum of 60 minutes of daily exercise. Research from a team at The University of Western Australia has led to the development of the KIDDO program, a platform that provides on-site and online resources and training programs for parents and educators of children, to understand the importance of physical literacy. The program aims to have children ready to move by the start of primary school and moving well and often by the end of primary school.
In 20-30% of breast-conserving surgery cases, cancer tissue is left behind, and patients require repeat surgery. This team at The University of Western Australia are developing a high resolution, hand-held device used by surgeons during breast-conserving surgery, to identify tumour tissue and get all the cancer out, the first time. The technology is on its way to improving the safety and reliability of breast conserving surgeries, with better health outcomes for patients and significant cost savings for our health system.
Pulses and legumes contain about twice the protein found in whole grain cereals and have been shown to reduce the incidence of cancer, diabetes and heart disease. Australia produces around 2.25 million tonnes of pulses annually. However, changes in the production environment such as climate, new pests, water shortages and higher farming costs requires pulse breeders to have better strategies to ensure crops can adapt to changing conditions. Dr Janine Croser and her team at UWA have developed the aSSD platform. The platform speeds the development of pure lines for plant breeders; with improved crop quality, predictability and resilience of offspring in harsh climate conditions for farmers as well as better quality food for consumers.
Symmetry is everywhere, at every scale. Many problems faced by engineers, scientists and mathematicians use group theory and symmetry to help solve them.
For over 40 years, Emeritus Professor Cheryl Praeger has been dedicated to the pursuit of mathematical knowledge. Her work in pure mathematics has provided tools and theories with real world application, including in: large computer systems, the world wide web, agricultural crop experiments and the weaving process. She has pioneered the role of women in mathematics in Australia and continues to encourage the next generation of mathematicians.
Most musicians ensure their musical instrument is kept in perfect condition, but do not look after their own physical and mental performance health in the same way. Sound Performers has been developed by an interdisciplinary team led by Suzanne Wijsman at The University of Western Australia and Bronwen Ackermann at the University of Sydney. Sound Performers is a globally accessible online tool to help teachers educate musicians at all stages about their occupational health, and optimise their performance through healthy practice.
Liver biopsies are invasive, risky and painful. An MRI based non-invasive technology has replaced liver biopsies in patients requiring repeated measurement of the concentration of iron in their liver. The non-invasive procedure developed from The University of Western Australia’s (UWA) research is associated with almost no risk to the patient while the invasive procedure is associated with risks of significant pain, bleeding, bile leak, and death. To date, over 45,000 patient measurements have been made using the new non-invasive method which has been incorporated into clinical guidelines for the management of diseases such as thalassaemia.
Research into breast anatomy and physiology and human milk biochemistry at The University of Western Australia (UWA) has led to partnerships with Medela AG (Medela) resulting in innovative solutions for mothers and babies. Calmita® is an infant teat for preterm infants with an integrated vacuum-controlled valve. Calmita increases breastfeeding in preterm infants and reduces length of stay in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). UWA research led to the development of Medela’s breast pump: the Symphony. From 2011-2016 Medela extended that technology into four breast pumps designed for home use: offering solutions to mothers who are returning to work but wish to maintain lactation. UWA research is frequently used in Medela consumer outreach which relies on UWA’s basic research.
UWA’s sustained research program into molecular genetics and the identification of molecular markers in canola crossbreeding has led to the development and release of 50 new improved canola varieties since 2004, with higher yield, disease resistance, and herbicide tolerance for weed control, thereby improving the long-term sustainability of Australian cropping systems. These canola varieties which have been adopted by farmers because of their higher yield and disease resistance, allow more sustainable crop rotations and improved farm profits. Significant economic benefits have also been delivered to seed production and distribution companies. New breeding methods have the potential to improve crop adaptation to climate change.
The MMEx platform is an award winning, evidence based and fully shareable web-based electronic health record system. MMEx was developed at UWA’s Centre for Software Practice and delivered to market by ISA Technologies. It provides practitioners with a patient management system that allows care teams to share information and be guided by risk-based decision support and other tools. Initially developed to manage healthcare for Aboriginal people in the Kimberley, MMEx has since been used to support the health care of large indigenous populations throughout Australia as well as highly specialised care in urban settings. MMEx has been used to collect research data for projects looking at chronic disease management practices, approaches to telehealth, and sexually transmitted infections.