The University of Newcastle, Australia

A Eureka moment for three innovative researchers

Thursday, 28 July 2016

When Dr Jamie Flynn, Antony Martin and William Palmer casually collaborated in the courtyard between Medical Sciences and Biological Sciences – who knew it’d take them to a black tie event as finalists of the prestigious Eureka Prizes?

The Australian Museum Eureka Prizes reward excellence in the fields of research and innovation, leadership, science communication and school science.

Established in 1990, the long list of prize winners demonstrate the breadth of excellence in science across Australia’s research community with a sharp focus on innovation and collaboration.

The University of Newcastle’s Dr Jamie Flynn, Antony Martin and William Palmer merged their unique skills in plant and medical sciences to perfect the ‘PEA-Clarity’ technique of rendering a sample completely see-through.

But they took it one step further, and hand-built a $1 million microscope for only $70 000 using ingenuity, blueprints from the internet and a lot of enthusiasm.

With the help of a grant from philanthropist and HMRI Life Governor Jennie Thomas AM and the Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation, Jamie, Antony and Will were able to build a custom light sheet microscope and found a new three-dimensional tissue clearing and light sheet microscope facility at HMRI.

In the spirit of transparency, the trio released their innovation as open source, enabling free access to interested researchers.

The team has been announced as finalists in the Eureka Prize for Innovative Use of Technology with the winner to be announced at the Australian Museum Eureka Prize Award Dinner on Wednesday 31 August at Sydney Town Hall.

Read the full list of finalists.

Read more about the microscope.

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