Among the 26 winning projects in the BHP Billiton Science and Engineering Awards is one using the skin of the Australia tree frog as a possible treatment for Alzheimer’s Disease.
Tasmanian student Hannah Sutton, the winner of the Investigation category of the awards, looked at using a peptide, Caerin 1.9, found in the skin glands of the tree frog, against Alzheimer’s.
Alzheimer’s is an increasing problem in Australia, and other developed countries, and a massive drain on health care resources, as the population ages. More than 342,000 Australians are living with dementia and this number is expected to increase to 400,000 in less than a decade.
Here’s Hannah, a student at St Mary’s College, explaining her work with the tree frog:
Research indicates that Alzheimer’s disease is caused by the build up of amyloid beta (Aẞ), a protein occurring naturally in the body.
Hannah found that Caerin 1.9, from the tree frog, clears that protein.
The engineering section winner Macinley Butson, of the Illawarra Grammar School, worked on affordable power and clean water for the developing world.
Macinley’s invention has the potential to help many people around the world as it can increase green energy power generation by over 70% per day and supply clean water daily.
Samuel Kantor, who took second place in the engineering category, created a program, Eye Connect, using a webcam to help disabled people give commands to a computer.
He says the technology required for people with disabilities to use computers is extremely specialised and expensive.
“Eye Connect aims to use minimal hardware to create new and innovative solutions to allow people to control their computer with just a standard webcam,” he says.
Eye Connect is a low-cost software using any webcam to provide mouse control via head movements or blinks. Initial trials showed 99% accuracy.
Details on all 26 winners can be found HERE.
The awards are a partnership between BHP Billiton, CSIRO and the Australian Science Teachers Association.