Eureka nomination for microscope pioneers

Jul 29 2016

HMRI microscope pioneers Jamie Flynn, Antony Martin and Will Palmer from the University of Newcastle (UON) have been announced as finalists in the prestigious Eureka Prize for Innovative Use of Technology.

Supported by HMRI Life Governor Jennie Thomas AM and the Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation, the trio custom-built a CLARITY light-sheet laser microscope to deliver quick and sharp 3D imaging.

They also merged their unique skills in plant and medical sciences to perfect the ‘PEA-Clarity’ technique of rendering a tissue sample completely see-through, allowing light to pass through without compromising the DNA, proteins and biomolecules.

To build the microscope they tapped into open-source information on the internet while applying their own ingenuity and enthusiasm. The students’ state-of-the-art device cost $70,000, where commercial equivalents are upwards of $1 million.

In the spirit of transparency, Flynn, Martin and Palmer have released their innovation as open source, enabling free access to interested researchers. It is also available as a communal facility to HMRI/UON scientists across all disciplines.

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 winner will be announced at the Australian Museum Eureka Prize Award Dinner on 31 August at Sydney Town Hall. Watch the 30-second video that will be shared at the Awards Dinner.