Funded UQ Major Equipment and Infrastructure (MEI) grants, NHMRC Equipment Grants and UQ Major Research Facility Fund grants information is intended to help facilitate widespread usage of the infrastructure/equipment. If you or your research group are interested in utilising this equipment, please contact the relevant equipment custodian.

Research Facilities Infrastructure Grants (RFIG) equipment

Centre for Geoanalytical Mass Spectrometry (CGMS) - achieving excellence in isotope geochemistry and geochronology

Equipment custodian: Professor Sue Golding (Science)

The CGMS has secured two new instruments funded through the 2016 UQ MRFF and MEI schemes. It has entered a partnership with Griffith and QUT with the creation of the Brisbane Geochronology Alliance, aiming to make Brisbane a global hub for isotope geochemistry and geochronology. In order to grow its activities, and make UQ into a global leader in the field, the Centre requests salary support for key senior staff as part of a funding package that includes Faculty and School support. This will ensure the CGMS remains globally competitive, in terms of capability, services and cost to users. The funding is also necessary to maintain expert staff to provide training for the expanding user base and ensure optimum functioning of instrumentation.

Portable glasshouse installation

Equipment custodian: Lucy Hurrey (Science)

Glasshouses provide critical space for plant research in a range of fields including molecular biology, genetics, agriculture, and food sciences. Glasshouses are used to either enhance the growth rates of plants or to control the environmental parameters under which the plant is growing while protecting them from environmental variation and extremes, and reducing pests. Plant growth space is always in high demand at UQ; however, with the recent demolition of a large glasshouse, which was structurally unsound, demand has increased even further. The installation of eight portable glasshouses in the new vacant location would provide an affordable and flexible option for replacing the lost plant growth space without large infrastructure costs.

The UQ Deconvolution Engine: a high-performance image processing facility

Equipment custodian: Professor David Abramson (Research Computing Centre)

This facility provides specialist computing hardware to perform critical image processing on data captured from a wide variety of microscopes, including optical and electron microscopes. The system contains very high performance Graphics Processing Units and appropriate image processing software, bundled into a turnkey service. Microscope data can be captured at any University microscope and uploaded for processing automatically using the MeDiCI campus data fabric.

Major Equipment and Infrastructure grants (MEI)/National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) projects

Access to CSMAR (China Stock Market and Accounting Research) and Bloomberg international research databases

Equipment custodian: Professor Karen Benson (Business, Economics and Law)

CSMAR (China Stock Market and Accounting Research) database provides comprehensive archival research quality data specializing in Chinese markets. Data include market trading, financial statements, dividends, governance details, mergers and acquisitions, shareholder information and Institutional Investor details. The high quality of these data is widely accepted by all the leading finance and economics academic scholars and journals. Bloomberg provides real time and historical data for global markets on Commodities, Companies, Corporate Debt, Corporate Governance, Credit Ratings, Fundamentals, Equities, Exchange Rates, Financial Markets And Indexes, Futures, Interest Rates, Mutual Funds, Ownership, Risk, Sovereign Debt.

Addressing needs for high nucleic acid quantification accuracy and precision in child health research

Equipment custodian: Professor Peter Sly (Medicine)

The aim of the project is to establish a DNA/RNA quantification facility within the Child Health Research Centre (CHRC) with the cutting-edge digital droplet PCR (ddPCR) instrument at its core. Having the instrumentation within the Centre will allow for its application to clinical samples from the adjacent Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital in clinically actionable time frames, as well as becoming the only National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA) accredited diagnostic facility in Australia to be able to offer NATA accredited ddPCR infectious disease testing. The system will increase the research capacity of the Centre by offering quantification services to a broad range of groups and disciplinary research projects.

Advanced Pulsed Power: an emerging technology for science and engineering systems

Equipment custodian: Doctor Firuz Zare (Engineering, Architecture and Information Technology)

Pulsed electrical power can be generated when an electrical energy is stored in a system over a long time and is released over a short time. Ultrafast high voltage pulses are increasingly demonstrating outstanding benefits when used in leading edge industrial processes and medical treatments. This technique has been recognized as a most effective non-thermal system for a number of applications such as waste-water treatment, food processing, bio-energy, cancer treatment, drug delivery, oil & gas industries. A high voltage ultra-fast pulsed power equipment is required to be applied to different applications in order to improve the efficiency and the effectiveness of the overall system. Pulsed power is a multi-disciplinary research field.

Advanced selective laser melting system for metal additive manufacturing

Equipment custodian: Professor Mingxing Zhang (Engineering, Architecture and Information Technology)

The proposal is seeking funding support to purchase a state-of-art selective laser melting (SLM) system for metal additive manufacturing (AM). As the most advanced manufacturing technology, AM has attracted increasing interest to both research and industry applications. Although UQ researchers have started the research on AM, metal SLM system is unavailable at UQ. As a highly demanded facility, purchase of a SLM system will enable UQ researchers to develop innovative manufacturing processes for wide range of industrial applications, to improve UQ’s capacity to attract more grants from industry and the government, and therefore to maintain UQ’s leading position in the relevant areas. The equipment can also enhance our teaching efficiency.

A pharmacology screening facility to accelerate drug discovery and development

Equipment custodian: Doctor Trent Woodruff (Medicine)

This grant will facilitate the establishment of a Pharmacology Screening Facility. Primary systems include a 96-well head liquid handling robotics platform incorporating plate shaker, heaters, hotels and independent manipulator arm, high throughput filter based plate reader for screening, two label free screening platforms (impedance and optical based), high flexibility/sensitivity monochromator based plate reader for assay development, and automated plate washer. This combination of systems will cover most current and future assay technologies used to screen novel drugs and targets in a semi-automated medium-throughput capacity, which will significantly enhance the drug discovery, screening and development capabilities at UQ.

Building world class capacity in core and sediment analyses - a high resolution x-ray scanner

Equipment custodian: Professor James Shulmeister (Science)

This system combines X-ray diffraction, infrared and visible light spectral scanning, and magnetic susceptibility measurement to simultaneously analyse sediment cores and environmental samples. It provides automated high-resolution sampling and high quality elemental analyses of earth materials in fields as diverse as paleoenvironmental and paleoclimate reconstructions, pollution studies and coal research. It will significantly enhance UQ capabilities for research in these fields.

Establishment of a growth kinetics and metabolite analysis facility for hard to culture human microbes

Equipment custodian: Timothy Wells (Medicine)

Microbiota dysbiosis is involved in the pathogenesis of many human autoimmune diseases whereas microbial species from a healthy gut have been shown to play a key role in maintaining wellbeing. These healthy gut bacteria produce bioactive products that suppress the host inflammatory response in these diseases. However, because many of these microbes are hard to culture it remains difficult to analyse and exploit their roles in disease prevention. We seek to acquire 2 items of equipment which will allow us to efficiently translate results from microbiota sequencing and animal model data into medical outcomes. This will provide a unique capability to analyse hundreds of ‘hard to culture’ bacteria facilitating the discovery of novel bioactives.

Establishment of surgery and behavioural laboratory for longitudinal, multimodal examination of the rodent brain

Equipment custodian: Professor Pankaj Sah (Queensland Brain Institute)

We request funds to create a Surgery and Behavioural laboratory in the Ritchie building to provide an area where animals can be longitudinally examined for cognitive correlates and brain function in parallel with, for example, non-invasive MRI. This will provide a dedicated, custom designed research space incorporating state of the art holding, experimental and analysis rooms that are soundproofed and have independent lighting controls. This space will incorporate multiple behavioural paradigms for rodents including spatial navigation (active place avoidance), Touchscreen translation (automated touchscreens), general behaviour (anxiety/short term memory tests) and stereotaxic surgery facilities (equipment required for stereotaxic surgery).

Histology cryostat

Equipment custodian: Professor Linda Richards (Queensland Brain Institute)

The research NX70 cryostat (Thermofisher) will allow researchers to cut a diverse range of frozen tissues at a range of thickness between 1 to 600  m. Sectioning can be performed in either sitting or standing position due to the unique adjustable height of the NX70 cryostat. The ergonomic advantage over other cryostats will help reduce muscle fatigue and permit a wider range of users to cut frozen sections. The fast responsive temperature adjustments to the specimen and knife makes sectioning of difficult samples possible and will allow the continuing development of novel techniques in molecular biology.

Imaging flow cytometer for cancer immunotherapy and chronic disease research

Equipment custodian: Professor Riccardo Dolcetti (Medicine)

We request cofunding to purchase an ImageStreamx Mark II imaging flow cytometer (Amnis/Millipore). This machine is capable of generating up to 12 high-resolution images of cells in flow at rates up to 5,000 cells per second using up to seven different lasers for fluorescence excitation. These capabilities allow researchers to perform high throughput functional, image-based assays within target cell populations identified via multiple fluorescently tagged markers.

Instrumented rolls crusher for measurement of minimum specific energy requirement for size reduction

Equipment custodian: Antony Van Der Ent (Sustainable Minerals Institute)

An instrumented rolls crusher is required that can characterise the breakage of single rock particles across a wide range of particle sizes, precisely recording the energy consumed. The crusher is available from a commercial supplier requiring only minor modifications to be suitable for the required application. The rolls crusher will be used to conduct staged comminution from 10 mm down to 100  m. At each stage, the breakage energy will be measured and the product will be sampled and sized to determine the production rate of new fines. This test will quantify the minimum breakage energy required to generate new fine particles, benchmarking site operations and increasing our fundamental knowledge of breakage processes.

Laser scanning microscopy facility upgrade

Equipment custodian: Professor Justin Cooper-White (Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology)

ANFF-Q currently houses a Zeiss Laser Scanning microscope that is supporting over 1300hrs of usage per year and is 8 years old. It is coming to the end of its viable life cycle. It serves researchers in various fields of study to image biological, organic, inorganic samples in 2D and 3D using bright-field and fluorescence imaging. A replacement instrument will allow us to substantially improve the service that we currently offer to our researchers by taking advantage of the current state-of-the-art in confocal microscopy. This will bring improvements in resolution, speed and detection for the users. We also propose to include a Rheometry module to further bolster its ability in materials analysis.

MALDI mass spectrometry quantification facility

Equipment custodian: Professor Paul Alewood (Institute for Molecular Bioscience)

The 5800 MALDI TOF/TOF mass spectrometer is the latest technology for providing matrix assisted laser desorption. High mass accuracy and exceptional speed of analysis platform for the discovery, characterisation and quantification of new and novel biomolecules from natural product extracts will be a major focus and improve the outcomes of our current research grants. The 5800 mass spectrometer will be a critical technology used by over 150 researchers most of whom are current users of the IMB mass spectrometry facility.

Music recording infrastructure for translational research in creative practice outputs

Equipment custodian: Professor Margaret Barrett (Humanities and Social Sciences)

Industry standard permanent surround sound recording capacity within the School of Music’s concert hall, the Nickson Room, for orchestral, choral and ensemble performances. New recording and editing equipment enables high definition documentation of performance and composition research outputs performed in the Nickson Room, including capacity to record video of performances without a live operator. High definition documentation enables public dissemination of professional quality recordings of performance research outputs, furthering the Faculty of HASS Strategic Research Program for Translational Research in Creative Practice. Equipment is portable for high definition documentation of performances in other locations on and off campus.

Nutrient uptake and diffusion across mammalian tissues using a Ussing Chamber System

Equipment custodian: Doctor Eugeni Roura (Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation)

In the context of excessive food intake and obesity, understanding the dialogue between the gut and the brain regarding nutrient status has become one of the main paradigms of nutritional sciences which requires the adoption of research models capable of assessing a large number of nutrients (>100). Something it can not be easily done "in vivo" but can be achieved by the Ussing Chamber system. Unfortunately, no Ussing Chamber facilities for large intestinal tissue samples (e.g. humans, pigs and cattle) are currently available at UQ. The proposed equipment will allow research teams of the CNAFS/QAAFI, SAFS, SHMNS and SBMS to develop scientific approaches to maintain leadership in nutrition and metabolism.

Precision measurement of feed conversion efficiency in beef and dairy cattle to enable genetic improvement and advanced nutritional strategies

Equipment custodian: Professor Ben Hayes (Queensland Alliance for Argiculture and Food Innovation)

Improving feed efficiency of beef and dairy cattle is the key to reducing resource use and decreasing methane emissions per kg of beef or litre of milk. Feed efficiency is also a primary driver of on-farm productivity, impacting profitability for all beef production enterprises. However this trait is difficult to improve, as measuring feed intake in individual animals is expensive. In this proposal, the equipment and infrastructure would be acquired to enable precise measurement of feed conversion efficiency, on a scale enabling genomic selection in the Northern beef industry. The equipment requested is used in many other countries, including Brazil and the United states, so will enable global collaborative research for this key trait.

STED super-resolution microscopy

Equipment custodian: Associate Professor Rohan Teasdale (Institute for Molecular Bioscience)

Observation of biological processes has been limited by the ability to resolve the relative positioning of distinct molecular components within living organisms. This new technology provides 5-8 fold better resolution than our current microscopes which will enable visualization of individual objects including proteins that are less than 30 nm apart. This will provide clarity and novel insight into how biological components and processes are organised within living cells.

Towards a high-throughput metabolic phenotyping capability for production animals and plants

Equipment custodian: Doctor Nick Hudson (Science)

Flux analysis is a fascinating area of biology, determining the rate of energy transfer through living systems. Flux is high in energetically profligate organisms like hummingbirds and low in energetically frugal organisms like cold-blooded amphibians. Energy flow influences fundamental biology such as metabolic rate. It also impacts on applied biology such as feed efficiency in agricultural species. Unlike competing approaches, the Flux Analyser allows metabolic phenotyping in live cells, so the behaviour of the resident organelles (particularly the mitochondria) better approximates that of a whole organism. Finally, this technology helps connect traditional whole organism experiments with tools from the molecular revolution.

Two-photon light-sheet microscope

Equipment custodian: Professor Geoffrey Goodhill (Queensland Brain Institute)

Light-sheet imaging is significantly faster and demonstrates less phototoxicity and photobleaching when compared to classical laser scanning confocal microscopy. QBI’s current light-sheet microscope is only single photon, and requires the sample to be moved axially through a fixed lightsheet, which significantly limits its abilities for several important applications. We will greatly increase the capacity of this microscope by upgrading it to allow a scanned two-photon light-sheet, which is the current state-of-the-art for imaging neural circuits in both live and cleared tissue.

Upgrading cryogenic characterisation facility for optoelectronic measurements in a full range of cryogenic temperatures

Equipment custodian: Doctor Ebinazar Namdas (Science)

Funding is requested for up-grade of existing Cryogenic Probe station (Janis Research Company) and dilution fridge (Oxford Instruments) located at SMP, UQ. The upgraded facility will be of critical importance for the development of advanced materials, novel hybrid opto-electronics devices, superconductivity, nano-scale devices and quantum devices. This will be of vital importance for the major research efforts in both ARC COE EQuS and COPE.

Upgrade of preparative centrifuge and ultracentrifuge systems and rotors in SCMB

Equipment custodian: Professor Bostjan Kobe (Science)

Centrifugation is a fundamental process for many researchers in preparing samples for a wide range of experiments. SCMB houses a number of preparative centrifuges and ultracentrifuges, which are available to researchers not just within SCMB, but across UQ. Rotors for centrifuges have a limited lifespan in terms of safe operation. More than half of the available rotors have exceeded their lifespans. In addition, one ultracentrifuge unit has become obsolete, meaning replacement of just the rotors is not possible.

Vascular assessment suite

Equipment custodian: Professor Jeff Coombes (Health and Behavioural Sciences)

Understanding and improving vascular health will result in the prevention and treatment of many chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and dementia. The vascular suite comprises eight pieces of equipment to thoroughly assess vascular health. It provides new measures of constant blood pressure, nitric oxide availability, microvascular and macrovascular structure and function and brain blood flow. This equipment will result in an ability to answer new research questions leading to discoveries in vascular health that will significantly benefit society. It will allow the University of Queensland to be a world leader in this field and generate new collaborations locally and internationally.