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Category: Science & Medicine

A fun take on the latest science news with enough data to sink your teeth into. Lagrange Point goes beyond the glossy summary and gets in depth with the research from across the world.

August 27, 2018

Episode 289 - Unlikely alliances, from ancient virus and Koalas to farming fruit flies and coral alliances


How do you defend against invaders in a millenia long war? Well Koala DNA is currently using some ancient DNA weapons to fight back against a viral invader. We also find out about some unlikely alliances from different corals teaming up, to how bacteria manages to spread and colonize from place to place. All this and more this week on Lagrange Point. 


  1. Ulrike Löber, Matthew Hobbs, Anisha Dayaram, Kyriakos Tsangaras, Kiersten Jones, David E. Alquezar-Planas, Yasuko Ishida, Joanne Meers, Jens Mayer, Claudia Quedenau, Wei Chen, Rebecca N. Johnson, Peter Timms, Paul R. Young, Alfred L. Roca, Alex D. Greenwood. Degradation and remobilization of endogenous retroviruses by recombination during the earliest stages of a germ-line invasion. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2018; 201807598 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1807598115
  2. Inês S. Pais, Rita S. Valente, Marta Sporniak, Luis Teixeira. Drosophila melanogaster establishes a species-specific mutualistic interaction with stable gut-colonizing bacteria. PLOS Biology, 2018; 16 (7): e2005710 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.2005710
  3. Luigi Musco, Tomás Vega Fernández, Erik Caroselli, John Murray Roberts, Fabio Badalamenti. Protocooperation among small polyps allows the coral Astroides calycularis to prey on large jellyfish. Ecology, 2018; DOI: 10.1002/ecy.2413
August 20, 2018

Episode 288 - Tackling Fatbergs, Recycling Li-On_batteries and new uses for cooking oil


Keeping the world clean is a tricky job. You have to fight fatbergs, recycle large amounts of mess and even keep tanks of food clean. Fortunately material scientists keep inventing new methods, and re-applying old ones to help improve our planet. From using old mining techniques to recycle lithium ion batteries, to using oils to keep food equipment clean, plus tacking the monsters of the sewer - fatbergs.



  1. Ruiting Zhan, Zachary Oldenburg, Lei Pan. Recovery of active cathode materials from lithium-ion batteries using froth flotation. Sustainable Materials and Technologies, 2018; 17: e00062 DOI: 10.1016/j.susmat.2018.e00062
  2. Tarek S. Awad, Dalal Asker, Benjamin D. Hatton. Food-Safe Modification of Stainless Steel Food-Processing Surfaces to Reduce Bacterial Biofilms. ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, 2018; 10 (27): 22902 DOI: 10.1021/acsami.8b03788
  3. Asha Srinivasan, Moutoshi Saha, Kit Caufield, Otman Abida, Ping Huang Liao, Kwang Victor Lo. Microwave-Enhanced Advanced Oxidation Treatment of Lipids and Food Wastes. Water, Air, & Soil Pollution, 2018; 229 (7) DOI: 10.1007/s11270-018-3894-y
August 13, 2018

Episode 287 - Fighting back against fungal infections


Everyone knows about bacteria and viruses, but fungal infections can also wreak havoc with our health. Since we know so little about them, fighting back is difficult. But we can learn a lot but diving deep into the way fungal infections are structured, how they fight back and how they fight eachother. 

  1. Xue Kang, Alex Kirui, Artur Muszyński, Malitha C. Dickwella Widanage, Adrian Chen, Parastoo Azadi, Ping Wang, Frederic Mentink-Vigier, Tuo Wang. Molecular architecture of fungal cell walls revealed by solid-state NMRNature Communications, 2018; 9 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41467-018-05199-0
  2. Timothy M. Tucey, Jiyoti Verma, Paul F. Harrison, Sarah L. Snelgrove, Tricia L. Lo, Allison K. Scherer, Adele A. Barugahare, David R. Powell, Robert T. Wheeler, Michael J. Hickey, Traude H. Beilharz, Thomas Naderer, Ana Traven. Glucose Homeostasis Is Important for Immune Cell Viability during Candida Challenge and Host Survival of Systemic Fungal InfectionCell Metabolism, 2018; 27 (5): 988 DOI: 10.1016/j.cmet.2018.03.019
  3. University of Wisconsin-Madison. (2018, May 22). A hidden world of communication, chemical warfare, beneath the soil. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 21, 2018 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/05/180522082202.htm
August 6, 2018

Episode 286 - Fields Medal 2018 - Solving problems in mathematics with tricks from other fields


The Fields Medals for 2018 have been announced, and Australian Mathematician, Professor Akshay Venkatesh was announced as one of the four recipients. Mathematics can seem like a group of different and diverse subjects, but Professor Venkatesh's work tied different areas of mathematics together to use one toolkit to solve problems in another area. We dive deep into the complex world of mathematics and look at the Fields Medals 2018. 


  1. Slezak, M. (2018). This Aussie genius has won the 'Nobel Prize of mathematics'. [online] ABC News. Available at: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-08-02/fields-medal-aussie-genius-akshay-venkatesh-mathematics-prize/10062218 [Accessed 4 Aug. 2018].
  2. Jackson, A. (2018). [online] Mathunion.org. Available at: https://www.mathunion.org/fileadmin/IMU/Prizes/Fields/2018/venkatesh-final.pdf [Accessed 4 Aug. 2018].