Brighten your day with these 10 positive stories

17 September 2021
Stories to brighten your outlook
Hanging out for some good news? Here are 10 positive news stories you might have missed that could brighten your outlook this weekend.

The Juno. Credit: ResusRight

1. Start-up raises $784,000 for baby resuscitation system   

A University of Sydney and Westmead Hospital start-up has raised almost $800,000 in a recent investment round for a paediatric medical device designed to safely resuscitate babies who struggle to begin breathing after birth.  

ResusRight was founded by two doctoral biomedical engineering students, Matt Boustred and Matthew Crott, along with Dr Mark Tracy and Dr Murray Hinder, a research team based at Westmead Hospital that specialises in improving care of vulnerable babies. Together, the team has a mission to lower neonatal mortality rates and prevent babies from developing disabilities due to complications at birth. Read more.

2. $6m bequest for archaeology from former professor and curator 

Professor Alexander Cambitoglou AO has left a bequest of approximately $6 million to the University of Sydney, with the funds to support the work of its Australian Archaeological Institute at Athens – a research and educational facility that Professor Cambitoglou created in 1980. 

Professor Cambitoglou at the excavations of the Early Iron Age settlement of Zagora on the Greek island of Andros in 1971.

Dr Stavros Paspalas, Director ofthe Australian Archaeological Institute at Athens, said: “Professor Cambitoglou was one of the most influential figures to have shaped the study of Classical antiquity in Australia. The bequest upholds his vision for the Institute to promote Greek and Mediterranean studies in Australia.” 

Born in Thessaloniki in 1922, Professor Cambitoglou went on to become the first person of Greek background to be appointed to a university professorship in Australia, as Professor of Classical Archaeology in 1963. In 1991, he became the fourth person to receive the prestigious title, Doctor of the University. Read more.

3. Sydney-based CUAVA launches satellite to International Space Station

A satellite designed and built in Sydney is helping pave the way for Australia's scientific and commercial space industry. Mission leader Professor Iver Cairns is Director of CUAVA.

SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket takes off from Kennedy Space Center with CUAVA-1 onboard. Photo: NASA

CUAVA-1, an Australian designed and built spacecraft, successfully launched onboard a Space-X Falcon 9 SpX-23 rocket from the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, Florida. 

It is only the ninth Australian built satellite to be sent into orbit. 

A lead project of the Australian Research Council Training Centre for CubeSats, Uncrewed Aerial Vehicles and their Applications (CUAVA) based at the University of Sydney, this first mission is one of many expected to help pave the way for the development of a sustained commercial and scientific space industry in NSW and Australia. Read more.

4. Physical activity may counter serious health harms of poor sleep 

Physical activity levels at or above the weekly recommended amounts may counter the serious health harms associated with poor sleep quality, suggests a large long-term study led by University of Sydney researchers published online in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. 

The findings suggest an interplay between the two behaviours. 

“We found those who had both the poorest sleep quality and who exercised the least were most at risk of death from heart disease, stroke, and cancer,” said lead author and PhD candidate Bo-Huei Huang from the Physical Activity, Lifestyle, and Population Health (PALPH) research group at Charles Perkins Centre, University of Sydney. 

"The findings suggest a likely synergistic effect, an interplay, between the two behaviours.”

“Both behaviours are critical for health but, sadly, our society suffers from both a physical inactivity and a poor sleep crisis,” said senior author and research program director, Professor Emmanuel Stamatakis from the Charles Perkins Centre and the Faculty of Medicine and HealthRead more.

5. Coral fights back against crown of thorns starfish

Coral are not completely defenceless against attacking juvenile crown of thorns starfish and can fight back to inflict at times lethal damage, new research has found. 

This occurs during a period of the crown of thorns starfish life cycle, when small juveniles shift from a vegetarian diet of algae to coral prey. But this change in diet makes the juveniles more vulnerable to attack by coral. 

Population outbreaks of adult crown of thorns starfish, alongside coral bleaching is one of the greatest threats to tropical reef habitats. 

An injured juvenile crown of thorns starfish. Credit: Dione Deaker

Video footage shows when the tube feet (small tube-like projections on the underside of a starfish’s arm used for movement) of juvenile crown of thorns starfish reaches out to touch the coral, the entire arm curls back to avoid the corals’ defensive stinging cells. To protect themselves, coral polyps have stinging cells in their sweeper tentacles and outer tissue called nematocysts, that are also used to capture food. Read more.

6. More than 150 computers donated for Aboriginal children’s home learning 

It was 9.45pm on Wednesday, 14 July this year when University of Sydney staff member Irene Wardle sent an “urgent” email, which someone copied and pasted onto the University’s internal messaging service. It read: 

"I am on the Board for an Aboriginal Out-Of-Home-Care Organisation called Narang Bir-rong. We cater for Aboriginal children in care. Due to the lockdown, our families are in crisis, and we are looking for donations of working second-hand computers. If you have any lying around at home that are no longer being used, could you please consider donating them to our worthy charity."

Some of the computers sourced.

Ms Wardle, a Darug woman and Aboriginal Research Partnerships Manager at the Research Centre for Children and Families in the School of Education and Social Work, was hoping to receive 15 computers through University channels. At last count, Narang Bir-rong has been pledged more than 150 from various personal donors. Read more.

7. Students meet in person for first time on trip across India

After more than a year studying online from their homes across India, last week a group of University of Sydney students embarked on a road trip along their country's south-east coast to meet in person for the first time.

Shreya Kothari, Pranjul Bokaria, Harshini Jayakumar, Adhip Tanwar, Ananyaa Gupta, Roshan Venkatesan and Aashika Agarwal made friends through a Faculty of Engineering WhatsApp group before meeting in person.

The students, all fully vaccinated against COVID-19, travelled from hometowns many hundreds of kilometres apart to meet for a five-day trip taking in the seaside cities of Chennai, Pondicherry and Mahabalipuram.

Most of the group began their studies at the University just as COVID-19 started spreading around the world. Some attended classes on campus in Sydney for a few weeks before the pandemic forced them home to India. Others never made it to Australia and have only experienced university life through online study, with no face-to-face contact with fellow students. Read more.

8. New antimicrobial resistance resource for vets 

The online guide was co-developed by the University of Sydney. Credit: Luisa Low

Staph infections in dogs and pneumonia in horses are among the infections seen in veterinarian practice, affected by increases in antimicrobial resistance. 

A new resource aims to promote best-practice management of diseases in veterinary settings to reduce the likelihood of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) developing. 

AMR Vet Collective will assist veterinary practitioners by keeping them up to date with the latest information on antimicrobial resistance reduction in animals and humans. 

Developed by researchers from both the University of Sydney School of Veterinary Science and Charles Sturt University Veterinary School, the resource is available online, free of charge, to anyone who is interested. Read more.

9. International students turned entrepreneurs give back to fuel more startups 

University of Sydney alumni and co-founders of Access Corporate Group - a four-year-old startup with more than 2000 employees - Livia Wang and Warren Liu have donated $100,000 on behalf of the company to help entrepreneurs at the University of Sydney scale-up.

Access Corporate's Warren Liu and Livia Wang return to their alma mater. 

After graduation, the pair put their unique knowledge of the China market into practice, connecting unique Australian and international brands to Chinese consumers. Now they’re supporting new startups through the Sydney Genesis program

Twice a year, the most promising startups take part in the Sydney Genesis competition, the finalists competing for equity-free prize money to boost their startup. The gift from Access Corporate will fund four Genesis competitions across two years. 

Chief Brand Officer of Access Corporate, Livia Wang, said: “While 2021 has not been without its challenges, it has been incredible to witness the speed and scale of innovation in the world. 

“It is why we want to support Genesis. It’s a great program that helps entrepreneurs pursue their dreams and gives them the best chance of success.” Read more.

10.  University makes it to the 17th International Architecture Exhibition Venice Biennale

The Winanga-Li Aboriginal Child and Family Centre project co-designed by University of Sydney Architecture Lecturer Michael Mossman was exhibited as part of the 2021 Venice Architecture Biennale Australian Pavilion, Inbetween.

Winanga-Li Aboriginal Child and Family Centre.

Inbetween presented a series of architectural works from Australia and across the Pacific region that strengthens cultural understanding between non-Indigenous and First Nations people. Selected projects powerfully demonstrate the capacity of architecture to revive and enhance Indigenous voice, identity, and culture.

The Winanga-Li Aboriginal Child and Family Centre based in Gunnedah on the land of the Kamilaroi Nation was designed during Mr Mossman’s time working as an architect in practice at the New South Wales Government Architect’s office.

Working with architects Cathy Kubany and Dillon Kombumerri, the design was a collaboration with the local Aboriginal community of Gunnedah through the leadership of centre manager and local Elder Wayne Griffith. Read more.

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