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 wine.

    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.

    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

    Structure evolved from network found in marsupials.

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

    September 3, 2018
  • Genes that let us sleep also control dreams

    Researchers identify two genes that control REM sleep.

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

    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
  • Short folk unrelated to the Hobbits

    No evidence short people and Homo floresiensis share ancestry.

    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

    Replica flints produced marks matching Neanderthal tools.

    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 on spear-hunts

    Bone analysis finds kills were made at close-quarters.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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

    Homo sapiens classified as “oncogenic species”.

    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.

    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.

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

    May 11, 2018
  • Eminent scientist David Goodall, 104, dies

    Australian ecologist travelled to Switzerland to undergo voluntary euthanasia.

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

    May 10, 2018
  • Inflammation can turn your hair grey

    Research discovers why illness or stress can change hair colour.

    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

    Trade-offs when animals use spring-like structures revealed.

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

    April 26, 2018
  • Study shows we’ve got photosynthesis wrong

    Two decades of growth throws accepted wisdom into doubt.

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

    April 22, 2018
  • Shot protects against HIV in monkeys

    Research raises hope for HIV prevention injection in humans.

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

    April 16, 2018
  • Brain development linked to inflammation

    Maternal inflammation linked to brain connectivity.

    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

    Nanostructures make eggshells strong and weak.

    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.

    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

    Sequencing remains reveals poor 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

    Liaison between hominin species more than a one-night stand.

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

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

    Macrophages make sure you never lose your ink.

    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 share sign languages

    Two species have the same gestures.

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

    February 27, 2018
  • The challenges for women in STEMM

    Male dominated, but work is underway to restore the balance.

    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

    Research uncovers surprising negative effects over mild over-eating for just 30 days.

    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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