2016 projects

Losing Your Sense of Smell: An Untapped Marker of Neurodegeneration

Dementia is now the second leading cause of death and disability internationally. Accurate diagnosis, however, takes 3-4 years after symptom onset due, in part, to the lack of a fast, cheap and non-invasive clinical test. Emerging evidence suggests that a reduction in sense of smell (hyposmia), represents one of the earliest markers of neurodegeneration. Yet, existing olfactory tests are not suitable for large-scale roll out, because of test limitations and associated costs. Our project aims to evaluate a new test of olfactory function,

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Peptide Nucleic Acid Aptamers as a Novel Drug Discovery Platform

Traditional drug discovery efforts are often plagued by the linear nature of most synthetic strategies, the lack of structural diversity obtained from compound library synthesis and from the difficulty in rapidly screening a compound library against a particular drug target. Aptamers are small single-stranded nucleic acid molecules that fold into well-defined three-dimensional structures. These interact with proteins and other nucleic acids with high affinity and specificity, but are normally restricted to nucleic acids. This project will develop novel aptamer libraries using peptide nucleic acid (PNA) molecules as binding ligands instead of DNA or RNA.

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Evaluating and Framing Sustainability Priorities of Supply Chain Managers

Supply chain managers are seen as critical environmental sustainability resources as they operationalise the corporate vision to achieve the economic and sustainability goals. The increasing regulatory pressures and growing stakeholder interests (customers, governments and non-governmental organisations) in sustainable practices have forced organisations to start rethinking the design and planning of their supply chains by adding a set of environmental and social performance metrics to the cost-based performance metrics.

There are win-win sustainability practices – such as waste minimisation initiatives – where an organisation can simultaneously achieve economic goals and reduce negative environmental and social impacts.

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Wind waves steepening in coastal areas

The focusing of waves in coastal zones can represent a significant threat to coastal installations and to the residents in these areas. Indeed, a number of incidents related to extreme wave formation in shallow water have been reported lately. The most famous case is the famed “Bondi Black Sunday” event in 1938. During this incident, three rogue waves hit the shore in Bondi Beach washing out up to two hundred swimmers and killing five.

The dynamics of ocean water waves can be described within the context of weakly nonlinear evolution equation such the nonlinear Schrödinger or its extended versions.

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A novel approach to improving skeletal fragility in type II diabetes mellitus

It is common knowledge that the worldwide prevalence of type II diabetes is increasing at an unprecedented rate. Increased bone fragility and high fracture risk are under-recognised complications of long-term hyperglycemia in type II diabetes. As a result, patients have an increased risk of falls, fractures, reduced quality of life and increased mortality rates. Neither anti-diabetic medications, that aim to lower blood glucose, nor anti-osteoporotic medications, that aim to increase bone turnover, work to improve the risks and rates of bone fractures in these patients.

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Improving the treatment of obesity by global implementation of current best practice

Obesity is a major contributor to disease, but interventions to reduce obesity markedly reduce morbidity and mortality. Some obesity treatments are more effective than others, with some centers achieving clinically significant weight losses maintained for up to 5 years after treatment in over 50% of users, compared to others reporting minimal long-term weight loss. Despite current availability of reasonably effective obesity treatments, they are underutilized by health professionals around the world, partly due to lack of knowledge about implementation.

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International Organizations as sites if international memory

2019 marks the hundredth anniversary of the international order that radically reshaped the 20th century and became the benchmark against which changes in international politics in the 21st century are measured. 1919 saw the creation of the League of Nations and its economic and social counterpart, the International Labour Organization, all headquartered in Geneva. This is the context in which we have conceived this project: On one side the University of Geneva, working with the Graduate Institute (HEID),

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Fluorescent anion sensors for use in aqueous environments

Fluorescent sensors capable of binding selectively and strongly to anions in water will provide innovative technologies for the detection of anionic species in a range of areas including environmental (e.g. monitoring of sulfate levels in wastewater) and biomedical applications (e.g. detection of chloride concentrations in blood). Currently available receptors are either limited to organic solvents or can not discriminate between anions. New hydrogen bonding motifs with proven ability to bind to ions anions in aqueous solution will be appended to water soluble dyes to provide fluorescent sensors.

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Global and Regional Migration Governance

International migration constitutes one of the fields with the most pressing need for international cooperation today. Since the 1990s, multilateral initiatives attempting to address migration have proliferated. Frequently, however, they remain based on soft law frameworks or operational activities deployed by international and non-governmental organizations. In terms of developing an international regime for the regulation of migration flows, these initiatives remain hesitant at best, reflecting most countries’ reluctance to tie their hands to new and binding international norms that potentially encroach upon the sensitive issue of national sovereignty.

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Systematic approaches to the study of diabetes

Diabetes is a major health problem in the developed world and studies over the last decades have shown that causality and manifestation of the disease are complex. Recently, certain lipids have been implicated in disease etiology, but their precise roles are unknown. In order to obtain a more global picture and identify more precise correlations it is necessary to perform systematic studies. The James lab in Sydney has pioneered systematic studies of diabetes and the Riezman lab has developed the technology to do systematic lipidomics,

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Beyond Health Security

‘Global health security’ emerged in the last decade, framing reactions to new risks posed by emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases. These include Ebola and the threat of pandemic influenza. Linked to concepts of national security (eg military security and border protection), security approaches justify short-term interventions to contain problems. Responses often focus more on protecting the global North against threats from the global South than on long term solutions to the problems of weak or non-existent health systems.

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3d UNIGE-USyd-Harvard-Renmin Law Schools Research Conference: Dispute Resolution, In/formalisation and Glocalisation

Participants:

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Investigation of microparticle protein contents in brain-associated tropical diseases

Participants:

  • Prof. Jean-Charles Sanchez, UNIGE, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Structural Biology and Bioinformatics
  • Prof. Valery Combes + Prof. Georges Grau, USyd, School of Medical Sciences, Department of Pathology

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Conservation of Australian Aboriginal Bush Medicine through a Phytochemical Library: Case Study of Hibbertia Scandens (Willd.) Gilg

Participants:

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Adaptation Aftereffects in the Perception of Asset Returns

Participants:

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Developing Sustainable Teaching and Research Collaborations in the Geneva Global Studies Network

Participants:

  • Prof. Nicolas Levrat, UNIGE, Global Studies Institute + Faculty of Law
  • Prof. Duncan Ivison, USyd, Faculty of Arts and Social Science, Department of Philosophy

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Environmental Policy Challenges in the Anthropocene

Participants:

  • Prof. Roderick Lawrence, UNIGE, Institute for Environmental Sciences
  • Prof. David Schlosberg, USyd, Faculty of Arts and Social Science, Dept. of Government and International Relations

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Energy Futures Project: Horizon 2020, Australia-Switzerland Renewable Energy Outlook

Participants:

  • Prof. Alexandre Hedjazi, UNIGE, Institute for Environmental Sciences
  • Prof. Leanne Piggott, USyd, Business School

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