Plant compounds found to activate cells used in transplants for spinal cord repair

Natural compounds derived from Australian plants have been found to stimulate cells that are useful for transplantation to repair spinal cord injuries.
The results of this research have recently been published in Scientific Reports by a team of scientists based at the Griffith Institute for Drug Discovery (GRIDD) and Menzies Health Institute Queensland (MHIQ).
GRIDD Senior Researcher Associate Professor James St John said the two compounds were sourced from the Australian desert plant Eremophila microtheca by the natural product chemist Associate Professor Rohan Davis, who heads NatureBank which is a vast resource of Australian natural products used for drug discovery.
“Identifying natural products that stimulate the body’s natural repair mechanisms is an exciting area of research, and has great potential for the discovery of new drugs,” Associate Professor Davis said.
“The current collaboration between GRIDD and MHIQ, while still only in its infancy, is gaining traction, and the recent findings are very encouraging.”
Repairing the

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Griffith earns top marks on world stage

Griffith University has asserted its place as a global standout in the 2018 ShanghaiRanking Global Ranking of Academic Subjects, earning noteworthy results for several of its courses.
Most remarkably, Griffith was ranked at No. 1 in Australia and No. 2 in the world for Hospitality and Tourism for the second straight year, as well as topping the nation for Law (including Criminology), which earned a No. 33 result globally.  
“We are delighted that so many of our programs – Hospitality and Tourism chief among them – have performed so strongly in these rankings,” Vice Chancellor and President Professor Ian O’Connor AC said.
“These results are reflective of the world-class expertise and dedicated work ethic that blooms in abundance across our schools and research and academic centres.”
“It is deeply rewarding to see our colleagues’ tireless efforts recognised by a well-regarded, independent organisation such as ShanghaiRanking,” Department of Tourism, Sport and Hotel Management Director

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Griffith partners in Medicine  

Living and studying together is par for the course for Griffith Medicine students  Michael and Carissa Holland.
The newly-wed couple from the Gold Coast, are both in their third year of a  Doctor of Medicine at Griffith  and are passionate about their chosen profession.
Currently on a year-long placement at the Kingaroy Hospital in the Darling Downs as part of the rural Longlook program, the couple are used to running into each other during rotations.
“We bump into each other fairly regularly,” says Michael, 26. “The great thing about doing a rural placement is that you get lots of real hands-on experience with our own assigned patients and thinking of our own management and treatment plans. You don’t always get that working as a student doctor in the more metropolitan hospitals.
“Here we have the fortune to be one-on-one with our supervisors and undertake lots of patient interaction which is great.”
Work in a rural community
“I’ve relished the experience of working in a rural community,” says Carissa, 23. “I am very passionate about mental health and interested in a

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Storyology offers journalism students a unique experience

Storyology, the Walkley Foundation’s premier journalism festival is coming to Brisbane this month and Griffith University journalism students are in the thick of it.
Reporting from the student news desk in the pop up newsroom, they will interview some of Australia’s best known journalists while gaining valuable industry experience to help kick-start their careers.
The annual festival is part of the Walkley Foundation’s program of public talks and exhibitions and features Peter Greste, Matthew Condon, Danielle Cronin, Trent Dalton, Paula Doneman, Emma Griffiths and more.
For third-year business and journalism student Georgia Costi, who would love to work for Al Jazeera, interviewing journalist Peter Greste is top of mind.
Georgia Costi
“I want to go into conflict reporting and what happened to him is both fascinating but alarming, so it would be incredibly interesting to learn more about his experience being detained in Egypt,” she says.
“I hope the Storyology experience will give me valuable knowledge

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Shark ecologists take important message into the deeps of Splendour

A pair of Griffith University marine scientists are taking their research work from the ocean to the fields of Splendour in the Grass.
PhD candidate Johan Gustafson and Dr Mariel Familiar Lopez, from Griffith’s School of Environment and Science and School of Engineering and Built Environment, will hit the Science Tent stage – along with their fuzzy mascot ‘Bruce’ – to present their insights into shark physiology and behaviour over the weekend at this year’s festival, which sold out within half an hour of tickets going on sale to 35,000 punters.
Find out more about Johan’s research into hammerhead sharks.
Gustafson and Dr Familiar Lopez, who both presented at last year’s festival alongside popular ABC science personality Dr Karl Kruszelnicki and will this year share the stage with astronomy guru Professor Allan Duffy, said Australia’s biggest music festival was a fantastic platform to inform and educate the next generation of big thinkers about

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Malaysian high schoolers judge Griffith’s mock trial competition a success

Nearly 100 budding lawyers from top high schools in the East Malaysian state of Sabah put their legal skills to the test in Griffith Law School’s inaugural Sabah High Schools Mock Trial Competition, held earlier this month.
The competition celebrates Griffith’s move into offering a study pathway for Malaysians who wish to study in Australia and return home knowing that their law degree is recognised for legal practice in Sabah and Sarawak.
The view from the bench
In a dramatic grand final presided over by High Court Judicial Commissioner Celestina Stuel Galid, students from St Francis Convent High School and Tawau High School went head-to-head in a real courtroom located within the Kota Kinabalu Court Complex, Malaysia.
St Francis Covent High School emerged as winners and were awarded RM 3,000 in prize money. Second and third runners up were Tawau High School and Sung Siew High School who received RM 2,000 and RM 1,000

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Restorative justice a step towards healing 

Restorative justice has its critics but US criminologist Professor Alissa Ackerman says it can be a powerful way to promote healing for both victims and perpetrators. 
“Despite evidence that restorative justice practices can provide accountability for individuals who have engaged in acts of sexual victimization and promote healing for those who have experienced sexual violence, many refute its validity,’’ she said.  
Visiting Brisbane this month, Dr Ackerman presented a seminar – Vicarious Restorative Justice and Sexual Victimization – at Mt Gravatt campus on July 19, where she demonstrated how a vicarious restorative justice framework in the US is being used to success with individuals currently in treatment after committing sexual offences.” 
The self-described ‘survivor’ scholar and professor of criminal justice from California State University has been teaching classes on sexual violence for more than 10 years. 
“On the first day of class I explain to students that they have the unique opportunity to hear the personal perspective of

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Maximising communication in schools for children with autism

Schools could be doing more to help students with autism communicate better.
Professor Jacqueline Roberts presenting at a Hong Kong conference.
“In autism there is a disconnection between the development of language and the development of communication,’’ says Professor Jacqueline Roberts, Director of the Griffith University Autism Centre of Excellence.
“While the implementation of adaptations as to how and what it taught is determined by the Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority, translation of policy to practice in schools is patchy at best.”
Professor Roberts said this was largely due to failure of school communities to understand autism and what can and should be done to make schools work better for students with autism.
“Communication is so much more than speech. Children with autism may be fluent speakers but still fail to communicate.
“Communication is fundamental to learning so disruption in communication profoundly affects learning. Other characteristics of autism such as sensory processing differences also affect

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Whatever happened to responsible lending? Disturbing evidence at the Financial Services Royal Commission

By Associate Professor Therese Wilson,
Dean of Law and Head of School
Griffith Law School
Under the National Consumer Credit Protection Act 2009, credit providers are required to lend responsibly. This means that before lending, the credit provider must assess the suitability of a loan for a borrower, which involves an assessment of the borrower’s capacity to repay the loan as well as an assessment of the extent to which the loan will meet the objectives and requirements of the borrower. A failure to undertake these assessments before lending will amount to a breach of the Act, which should result in sanctions ranging from enforceable undertakings to the cancellation of a credit provider’s credit licence. There is clearly a need for a robust and well-enforced responsible lending regime to curtail undesirable market practices and prevent increased financial stress on households in Australia.
The evidence that has come out of the Financial Services Royal Commission

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Messy streams are healthy streams

A lack of logjams in Australian streams and rivers created by deforestation could result in less habitat for aquatic animals and insects.
That’s according to research conducted in Rocky Mountain streams in the western United States that found streams full of dead trees were healthier than clean streams.

The work, led by Dr Michael P. Venarsky from Griffith University’s Australian Rivers Institute, who is continuing his exploration of the findings that were originally published in Ecology of Freshwater Fish, has shown that dead trees create logjams within the streams, some up to 15m wide and 3m tall.

Dr Venarsky, who conducted the research in his former role with Colorado State University, said these logjams drastically transform the shape of the streams from simple, single-channelled, fast-flowing streams, to streams with up to 19 separate channels containing both fast-flowing sections and pools up to 2m deep.

“The large number of logjams in these streams produced more

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