Ear Science at the annual Science on the Swan Conference

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The annual Science on the Swan conference was held in the first week of June. This year Ear Science CEO Sandra Bellekom co-chaired the event and Adjunct Professor Rob Eikelboom also sat on the organising committee.

Science on the Swan is presented by the Western Australian Health Translation Network (WAHTN), and is WA’s major annual event for translational research; that is, focussing on taking research from the benchtop to the bedside, from the laboratory to the clinic. 

This year’s theme was ‘Neuroscience and the Senses—Healthy Ageing Across the Life Course’ and the three-day event kicked off with a presentation by keynote speaker, Dr Michael Mosley. 

“This year, Science on the Swan had the unique flavour of neuroscience, mixed with Dr Mosley’s lifestyle message and the power of phenomics,” said Adjunct Professor Rodney Dilley.

Dr Mosley is a medical doctor, psychiatrist and scientist and is most well-known for his work with the BBC and his books on the 5:2 and Clever Guts diets. Nobel Laureate and Ear Science patron Professor Barry Marshall (pictured) introduced his friend Dr Mosley, and was generous with his time with Ear Science researchers.

A number of Ear Science staff presented or chaired sessions, including Professor Marcus Atlas, Adjunct Professor Rob Eikelboom, Adjunct Professor Rod Dilley, Dr Elaine Wong, Dr Cathy Sucher, Dr Dona Jayakody and Dr Blake Lawrence. Ear Science cochlear implant recipient Dr John Holsgrove spoke about his journey as a patient with Professor Atlas. 

Many of our researchers also attended the conference and showcased their research. This gave our teams a valuable opportunity to network with scientists from other institutes and disciplines, as well as foster new collaborations. 

“It’s fantastic to see that a great deal of innovative research is happening in Australia and particularly in WA. This research is opening up avenues for better funding opportunities and greater recognition of Australian research around the world," said Hadeel Tarawneh.

An exciting new initiative

As part of a collaboration between Science on the Swan and the ASMR (Australian Society for Medical Research), Ear Science PhD student Huan Ting Ong was on the organising committee for a WA-first ‘Speed Networking Session’.

“The idea is that it’s a bit like ‘speed dating’ for science, and it’s the first time we’ve tried anything like this,” explained Ting. “Everyone had the opportunity to meet ten new people for ten minutes, for a one-on-one mentoring session to share information and experiences, and have the chance to ask questions you might not otherwise be able to.” 

Research Fellow Dr Abbie Francis appreciated the opportunity to not only speak to senior researchers, but also to help the more junior attendees: “I enjoyed talking to honours and PhD students who were able to ask me questions about my experience, it was also great for me to talk to some of the more senior researchers and also those who have taken different career paths, such as teaching or lecturing. This session has also potentially sparked a collaboration for us with another research group, which is a really great outcome.”

Learn more about research conducted at Ear Science.