The A to Z of cool Macquarie science


Macquarie is home to some of the coolest and most innovative research projects happening in science today. Here we celebrate the impressive breadth of expertise coming out of our Faculty of Science and Engineering, from A to Z.


Astrophotonics and Instrumentation – Using cutting-edge technology to build the next generation of instruments and telescopes to help us explore the galaxies.

bBiotechnology – harnessing genetic technologies to engineer insect larvae that can clear soil contaminants.

cCryptography – The Centre for Advanced Computing: Algorithm and Cryptography researches algorithms, complexity and cryptography applied to advanced computing systems, so you can feel safe using your credit card online, and critical systems and infrastructure are also safe.

dDrug discovery – Macquarie start-up Hyperdrive is working on accelerating the identification of how a drug works from years to weeks, repurposing existing drugs, and understanding the basis of side effects, identifying new drug targets, and addressing diseases which have no known cure, like multiple sclerosis.

eEnvironmental contaminants – The Centre for Energy and Environmental Contaminants assesses and evaluates the impact of contaminants on land, air and water systems. Delving into areas as disparate as identifying the authenticity and geographic origin of, and the relationship between, atmospheric lead emissions and aggressive crime.

fFishLab – Do sharks feel pain? How can we ensure fish welfare? How much of a frog’s prior life as a tadpole does it remember? FishLab wants to know.

gGeophysics and Geodynamics Group (MG3) – MG3 have developed next-generation tools that can simulate how planets’ deep mantle and core fluid flow generates magnetic fields, powers plate tectonics, generates volcanism, and ultimately controls atmospheric evolution.

hHumpback whales – A citizen science approach to long-term monitoring in Sydney coastal waters has brought together dedicated citizen whale spotters with researchers.

iInfrared lasers – The School of Engineering has a research group focused on developing new optical devices for applications in medicine, industry, science and defence. They’re looking at high power near-infrared fibre lasers, and at highly efficient, high brightness sources of mid-infrared light.

jJava – It’s where Homo erectus ended his travels out of Africa, and Macquarie’s Associate Professor Kira Westaway led a study that reduced several hundred thousand years from the age of this globe-trotting hominin.

kKrill – Tracking whales by tracking the large masses of the tiny things that whales eat.

lLarge Magellanic Cloud – Researchers in the Department of Physics and Astronomy are using Hubble Space Telescope data to examine blue stragglers (a class of star observed in old, dense stellar systems, where they aren’t expected to exist).

mMolecular biology – everything from improving your wine by blending wine yeast phenotypes using CRISPR DNA editing technologies, to thinking about what happens when artificial intelligence and synthetic biology converge. It’s all happening in the Department of Molecular Sciences!

nNanofabrication – At the NanoTech Laboratory in the School of Engineering, they’re looking at nanostructured materials for health, energy and environmental applications, and designing and fabricating wearable electronics and miniaturised sensor technologies for personalised and preventive medicine.

oOptical Systems – the ARC Centre for Ultrahigh Bandwidth Devices for Optical Systems (CUDOS) is researching the new fibreoptic cabling we’ll need to keep up with the ever-increasing number of things that depend on the internet.

pProteomics – The Australian Proteome Analysis Facility is working to discover biomarker proteins useful for early diagnosis, prognosis and determining response to treatment in a range of cancers, find diagnostic biomarkers and to understand mechanisms of activity associated with genetic mutations associated with motor neuron disease and frontotemporal dementia. And much, much more.

qQuantum – The Macquarie Centre for Quantum Engineering (MQCQE) focuses on investigating and utilising more complex aspects of quantum science, such as quantum entanglement, superposition and quantum interference, to probe the quantum nature of reality.

rRiver styles – Rivers in Australia, Europe, North America, South America and Asia are being managed more effectively through the use of the River Styles Framework, a set of geomorphic procedures and tools developed at Macquarie to interpret river character, behaviour, condition and recovery potential.

ssSynthetic phages – Working on alternative treatments for multi-drug resistant infections using rapid and customised synthetic phage therapy.

tThin Antenna Beam Steering Systems with Exceptional Performance – this project aims to produce compact, low-cost antenna systems with high performance, to provide internet connectivity to those who are unconnected or poorly connected.

uUltrafast stars – Finding a star that has been travelling at 6 million km/h for five million years, since being ejected by the supermassive black hole at the heart at the Milky Way is all in a night’s work.

vVirtual Learning Environments – the Department of Computing and the Department of Mathematics and Statistics are teaming up with the Department of Ancient History to explore immersive vs traditional teaching methods using a virtual reality Greek VIlla (and that spelling is intentional).

wWhich Plant Where – a five-year research program that will find out where current plant favourites are unlikely to thrive under the more extreme climates that Australian cities face, learn from past successes, and stress-test major landscape species to find opportunities for new species and varieties to be planted.

xX-ray fluorescence spectrometry (XRF) – a way to determine what materials including solids, liquids and gases, are made of. The Environmental Quality Laboratory has six XRF spectrometers set up for different matrices (eg solids and liquids) and applications.

yYeast – The ARC Centre of Excellence in Synthetic Biology is building a synthetic yeast genome, with the potential to help us produce biological versions or replacements for a wide range of other important chemicals we currently produce from oil.

zZebra finches – Researchers in the Department of Biological Science have been able to quantify the way temperature affects which genes are ‘turned on’ in zebra finches.





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  1. Fabulous to find out about the valuable research being conducted at Macquarie. The A-Z layout is great, very engaging for this non-scientist.

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