Cell colour technology wins Eureka prize

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Ewa Goldys, Deputy Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Nanoscale BioPhotonics (CNBP) and Professor at Macquarie University, together with Dr Martin Gosnell, CNBP research affiliate and Managing Director at Quantitative, have won the ANSTO 'Innovative Use of Technology' award at the 2016 Australian Museum Eureka Prizes.

They were recognised for their innovative colour focused research, able to distinguish between healthy and diseased cells, in areas as diverse as embryology, neurodegeneration, cancer and diabetes. 

"We are absolutely thrilled to be awarded this prize out of such a high-quality field of researchers and scientists," said Professor Goldys following the Eureka announcement.

"The hyperspectral imaging technique pioneered by our team lets us successfully extract specific biomolecular information hidden in fluorescent colour signatures of living cells and tissues."

Goldys explained, that with this research, a new window into the body had been opened.

"Through the approach we are taking, incorporating leading-edge microscopes, ‘big data’ and the high processing speeds of modern computers, we are able to non-invasively and rapidly detect major health conditions, across a wide variety of areas." 

The future of the research, Goldys believes is one of high-impact and significant possibility. 

"These colour-based cellular and molecular measurements have the potential to be done in-vivo (in the body), expediting the potential for healthcare decisions based on the health needs of the individual and their unique biological characteristics."

Concluded Goldys, "The really exciting thing is that while we are probing the very limits of our understanding of life at the molecular level, this technology also yields real world translational outcomes – outcomes that will support clinicians in making improved diagnosis and health decisions for patients." 

The Eureka Prizes are presented by the Australian Museum and reward excellence in research and innovation, science communication and journalism, leadership and school science. Prize winners were announced at an Awards Dinner at Sydney Town Hall.