Education Policy | Post Primary | Preschool | Primary | Tertiary | Search


Green Materials To Help Early Disease Detection

UC Scientist Using Green Materials To Help Early Disease Detection

January 31, 2013

A University of Canterbury scientist is using discarded hoki fish eyes to help early detection of diseases like diabetes and cancer.

Dr Luigi Sasso says looking at the proteins in hoki fish eyes is great for the environment and will also help people’s health in the long term. He is researching at UC’s Biomolecular Interaction Centre to investigate pioneering new areas of cutting-edge nanotechnology.

The green materials he is using in his research are proteins extracted from the eyes of fish which would usually end up in the rubbish bin.

The protein is removed from unwanted fish heads via a method developed in the UC lab, Dr Sasso is producing very small nano-thin protein structures that can be manipulated and used for research. He said the research was a step toward solving many health issues in society.

``My research is based mainly on utilising biological materials for technology. In today’s world, where us humans have abused and oppressed our natural environment for our purposes, I believe it is important to learn how to work together with the world we live in, especially when it comes to technological development.

``The study of biological structures already found in nature can lead us to alternative methods to develop biosensors or other analytical devices from green nano fibres which can be used to detect sugar levels for diabetics, lactose (for dairy-intolerant people ) and downstream indicators of diseases such as cancer.

``How great would it be if you could go down to the pharmacy, pick up a cheap and easy to use device to check your blood for early stages of cancer and then toss it in the recycling bin when you’re done? It would allow people to be aware of their health issues way before they reach a dangerous level, meaning that, in the end, more lives would be saved.

``I know there are a lot of scientists and researchers around the world working towards making this a reality. In our research group we are collaborating with the Technical University of Denmark to apply our scientific expertise towards a common goal.’’

UC has received more than $1 million to launch the project which will be breaking new barriers of scientific research looking at nano-fibres that are up to 10,000 times smaller than a strand of human hair.

Dr Sasso is working at UC with Dr Madhu Vasudevamurthy and Professor Juliet Gerrard, a world leading bionanotechnology expert. Professor Gerrard said the UC group was the only one in the world with an ability to manufacture protein nano-fibres on a large scale which will be hugely helpful in diagnosing illnesses. The UC research aims to put New Zealand at the forefront of bionanotechnology research.

Photo: Luigi Sasso


© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


Scoop Review Of Books: Worldly And Unworldly

"Being Magdalene" by Fleur Beale The situations shown in this youth novel are shocking, scary, and very moving as we experience Magdalene’s struggle to be a perfect girl as defined by the cruel and unreasonable leader of “The Children of the Faith”, as she moves reluctantly into young womanhood. More>>

Whistle Stop: Netball NZ To Implement New INF Rules

Netball New Zealand (NNZ) will implement the new Official Rules of Netball, as set down by the International Netball Federation (INF), from January 1, 2016. Key changes include the elimination of whistle following a goal, amendments to injury time and changes to setting a penalty. More>>


Scoop Review Of Books: Waiata Aroha

Vaughan Rapatahana on Chappy by Patricia Grace: With this eminently readable novel Patricia Grace returns to the full-length fiction stage after a hiatus of ten years. More>>

'Ithaca' At Q Theatre: Introducing NZ's World Class Cirque Troupe

NZ’s very own cirque troupe is set to become a household name with the premier of its adaptation of Homer’s Odyssey having secured a key season in Auckland. More>>

Music Awards: The Tuis Are Broody This Year

Topping off a sensationally eventful year both at home and internationally, Nelson born brother-sister duo Broods has taken home four Tuis from this year’s 50th annual Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards. More>>


Sport: Richie McCaw Retires From Rugby

Richie McCaw has today confirmed he is hanging up his boots and retiring from professional rugby. The 34-year-old All Blacks captain and most capped All Black of all time has drawn the curtain on his stunning international career which started in Dublin 14 years ago, almost to the day, and ended in London last month when he hoisted the Webb Ellis Cup aloft for the second time. More>>


John McBeth: On Jonah Lomu

For many New Zealanders, the enormity of Jonah Lomu's reputation will have come as a surprise... His deeds were watched and enthused over by movie stars and musicians, politicians and superstars from other codes. He reached into the lives and homes of millions and mixed with famous people most New Zealanders would only have read about. More>>


Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news