Fiona McMillan

Fiona McMillan

Fiona McMillan a science communicator with a background in in physics, biophysics, and structural biology. She was awarded runner up for the 2016 Bragg UNSW Press Prize for Science Writing.

  • How ferrets can help in a pandemic

    They’re a bit like us, but respond differently to viruses.

    About an hour southwest of Melbourne on the Geelong waterfront sits a CSIRO facility that houses one of only a few Ph...

    May 29, 2020
  • Using games to probe attention deficits

    Australian researchers team up with game developers.

    Hannah Kirk, a developmental neuroscientist at Australia’s Monash University, is paying close attention to attention....

    November 4, 2018
  • Medical advances can exacerbate inequality

    New tech and treatments should not just benefit the wealthy.

    Rapid advances in medical technology are likely to revolutionise medical care but, paradoxically, could also exacerba...

    October 21, 2018
  • Will our crop seeds cope with a warming world?

    Molecular biology and seedbank holds key to future production.

    How do you find seeds that will thrive in the climate of the future? Robert Sharwood doesn’t have a time machine, but...

    October 11, 2018
  • Better wine through chemistry

    Taking to the molecular level to make better sparkling wine, faster.

    Every time you open a bottle of sparkling wine, you are uncorking a bit of mystery. There is still a lot we don’t kno...

    October 4, 2018
  • For stem cell patients, keeping a stool in reserve pays off

    Post-op faecal transplants aid in gut microbiome recovery, research finds. Fiona McMillan reports.

    Researchers have found a way to reverse the damaging effects of broad-spectrum antibiotic treatment on the gut microb...

    September 26, 2018
  • The black heart of soot revealed

    Enduring mystery of how soot forms at last resolved. Fiona McMillan reports.

    Soot forms thanks to incredibly fast chain-reactions involving molecules known as radicals, say scientists who have f...

    September 10, 2018
  • The evolution of the mammal brain

    A structure unique to placental brains evolved from a network found in marsupials and monotremes.

    Ancient neural connections found in the brains of marsupials and monotremes provide clues to the evolution of the hum...

    September 3, 2018
  • The genes that let us sleep, perchance to dream

    Researchers believe they have identified the two genes that control REM sleep. Fiona McMillan rep...

    Two genes are able to control how much we dream, new research has shown.The findings, published in the journal Cell R...

    August 28, 2018
  • A man’s hormones tell him he’s better

    Men think winning makes them more attractive.

    New research suggests that a man’s belief that he’s beaten another man in competition is enough to slightly boost his...

    August 12, 2018
  • Island’s short folk unrelated to the Hobbits that lived there before them

    Study finds no evidence that a community of extremely short people who live where Homo floresiens...

    New research shows that two populations of small-bodied hominins arose independently on the Indonesian island of Flor...

    August 2, 2018
  • Neanderthals used flint and pyrite to spark fires

    Experiments with replica flints produced marks matching those on Neanderthal tools. Fiona McMilla...

    New research shows that Neanderthals were able to start fires using stone tools. The findings, published in the journ...

    July 19, 2018
  • The hunt is on to find why some bacteria survive in space

    Despite stringent decontamination, NASA still sends germs aloft. Discovering how they survive is ...

    Some microbes can resist decontamination before space flight, but this may not be because they are armed with additio...

    July 4, 2018
  • More than 50% of armadillos carry leprosy

    Popular Brazilian bush meat explains high disease rate.

    New research shows that many armadillos in the Brazilian Amazon carry the bacteria that causes leprosy. The findings...

    June 28, 2018
  • Neanderthals collaborated on spear-hunts 120,000 years ago

    Bone analysis finds kills were made at close-quarters, possibly as ambushes. Fiona McMillan reports.

    Forensic analysis of a pair of 120,000-year-old deer skeletons shows that Neanderthals used wooden spears to kill pre...

    June 25, 2018
  • Study discovers why you can’t resist hot chips

    Evolutionary adaptations recast into the modern world make fat-and-carb combos irresistible. Fion...

    Foods high in both fats and carbohydrate trigger the brain’s reward circuits more than either fats or carbohydrate al...

    June 14, 2018
  • Africa’s ancient baobabs are dying

    Climate change a suspected cause of the sudden demise of trees that live for millennia. Fiona McM...

    In recent years, many of the largest and oldest African baobab trees have either died or have lost their oldest secti...

    June 12, 2018
  • Memories are made of this: two proteins

    Discovery of memory-making mechanics may bring insight into Fragile-X syndrome, autism. Fiona McM...

    Two proteins work together to help us rapidly make memories of new places, new research reveals.  A study published i...

    June 6, 2018
  • Banned pregnancy med still affecting daughters, grandchildren

    A failed miscarriage drug raises neurological risks two generations later. Fiona McMillan reports.

    The grandchildren of women who used a drug called diethylstilbestrol, or DES, during pregnancy have a higher risk of ...

    May 24, 2018
  • Humans are giving many other species cancer

    Meta-analysis finds enough to classify Homo sapiens as an “oncogenic species”. Fiona McMillan rep...

    Because we modify the environment in a way that can cause cancer in wildlife, humans can be defined as an “oncogenic ...

    May 21, 2018
  • Shipwreck provides clue to China trade

    Artefacts from the Java Sea have an important story to tell. Fiona McMillan reports.

    Wreckage in the Java Sea once thought to be from the thirteenth century has been shown to be a century older – provid...

    May 16, 2018
  • Cambrian explosion was a hot event

    Tiny shells fossils reveal the state of the climate, 540 million years ago. Fiona McMillan reports.

    New research involving tiny fossil shells more than half a billion years old confirms that the Cambrian Explosion too...

    May 11, 2018
  • In control until the end, eminent scientist David Goodall, 104, dies

    Australian ecologist travelled to Switzerland to undergo voluntary euthanasia. Fiona McMillan rep...

    Australian biologist and ecologist Dr David Goodall, AM, has died in Basel, Switzerland, aged 104.Goodall had been Au...

    May 10, 2018
  • Inflammation can turn your hair grey

    Research discovers why severe illness or stress can change your hair colour. Fiona McMillan reports.

    A newly discovered link between genes that contribute to hair colour and those involved in immunity and inflammation ...

    May 6, 2018
  • How insects spring to attention

    Modelling reveals the trade-offs involved when animals use spring-like structures to get around. ...

    What do archers have in common with fleas? A new study now has identified the common engineering principles that enab...

    April 26, 2018
  • Long term experiment shows we’ve got it wrong on photosynthesis

    Two decades of plant growth throw accepted wisdom about carbon and plants into doubt. Fiona McMil...

    Plants fix carbon from the atmosphere through one of two versions of photosynthesis, known as C3 and C4. The science ...

    April 22, 2018
  • Single shot protects against HIV in monkeys for several months

    Research raises hope for a long-lasting HIV prevention injection in humans. Fiona McMillan reports.

    Researchers have developed an antibody that protects rhesus monkeys from infection by simian HIV (SHIV), a virus simi...

    April 16, 2018
  • Maternal inflammation linked to baby’s brain development

    Babies have lower levels of brain connectivity and working memory when their mothers have high le...

    Increased inflammation during pregnancy is associated with subtle changes in brain organisation in newborns and a dec...

    April 10, 2018
  • How to build the perfect egg

    Imaging reveals nanostructures that make eggshells simultaneously strong and weak. Fiona McMillan...

    The changing nanostructure of bird eggs enables them to be sturdy enough to provide protection, yet fragile enough to...

    April 3, 2018
  • Meet your interstitium

    Body-wide fluid-filled structure discovered after hiding in plain sight. Fiona McMillan reports.

    Using a new way of visualising anatomy, scientists in the US have just discovered a vast new structure in the human b...

    March 27, 2018
  • Ata girl! Six-inch human’s secrets revealed

    Genome sequencing of bizarre mummified remains reveal a poor little girl who never stood a chance...

    In 2003, a discovery in a deserted mining town in the Atacama region of Chile caused an international stir. A mummifi...

    March 22, 2018
  • Humans and Denisovans had sex twice, not once

    Genome research shows liaison between hominin species was more than a one-night stand. Fiona McMi...

    Humans mated not once but twice with a species of archaic humans called Denisovans, new research shows.A study publis...

    March 15, 2018
  • Your tattoo is a bunch of immune cells

    Skin sloughs off, but macrophages make sure you never lose your ink – even if you want to. Fiona ...

    New research reveals that when a tattoo is made a population of white blood cells, known as macrophages, engulfs the ...

    March 7, 2018
  • Chimps and bonobos have identical sign languages

    Two species separated by more than a million years have the same gestures. Fiona McMillan reports.

    Many of the gestures used by bonobos and chimpanzees share the same meanings, new research shows.Bonobos (Pan paniscu...

    February 27, 2018
  • The continuing challenges for women in STEMM

    Senior levels of science are male dominated, but work is underway to restore the balance. Fiona M...

    International Women’s Day, on March 8, is a global celebration of the social, economic, cultural and political achiev...

    February 25, 2018
  • Gaining less than three kilos lifts inflammation, heart disease risk

    US research uncovers surprising negative effects over mild over-eating for just 30 days. Fiona Mc...

    Just 30 days of over-eating can trigger profound changes to the immune and cardiovascular system, leading to early si...

    January 17, 2018

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