Science on the Swan Conference

Our annual Science on the Swan Conference showcases the very best of research and scientific endeavour in Western Australia, covering a mix of fundamental, biomedical, clinical, health and social science. It offers linkage opportunities for both industry and researchers, especially connecting early career to more senior and established health science and clinical leaders. It’s an opportunity to showcase the skills we have right here in Perth and help translate WA scientific efforts into real impacts to deliver better health outcomes to the wider community locally, nationally, and internationally.

Science on the Swan 2021

Embedding Research and Innovation in Health Care with COVID-19 Insights

After the 2020 conference was cancelled due to COVID-19, we were pleased to be able to gather in person for Science on the Swan 2021 (as well as offering virtual attendance).

The program featured more than 60 presentations from researchers and clinicians across a wide range of expertise, along with panel discussions, posters and plenty of networking opportunities. The first two days included sessions chaired by PathWest; the East, North and South Metropolitan Health Services; Child and Adolescent Health Service; WA Country Health Service; and private hospitals; covering a wide range of research areas. They were followed by one day dedicated to the Western Australian response to COVID-19, which included presentations from the State’s Chief and Deputy Chief Health Officers, Chief Science Officer, and Health Department Director General, and a keynote address from Professor Jeremy Nicholson of the Australian National Phenome Centre on ‘The Secret Life of SARS-COV-2’.

Offical conference photos can be viewed in our Facebook album

Selected sessions from the third day of the conference (which focused on COVID-19) can be viewed via the links below.


Science on the Swan 2019

Neuroscience & the Senses – Healthy Ageing across the Life Course

Govenor General Kim Beazley watches the opening ceremony of the 2019 Science on the Swan Conference Dr Michael Mosely speaking at the 2019 Science on the Swan Conference WAHTN Early Career Fellowship recieving their certificates at the Science on the Swan 2019 Conferencec

Science on the Swan 2019 was the 5th conference hosted by the West Australian Health Translation Network (WAHTN) and the first co-chaired by the Ear Science Institute Australia, the Perron Institute for Neurological and Translational Science and the Lions Eye Institute. The program covered a large range of topics including hearing loss, Meniere’s disease, eye disease, MedTech (wearable and implantable), phenotyping and personalised medicine, stroke treatment and recovery, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, bipolar disorder and healthy ageing.

The keynote speaker for the 2019 Conference was the very popular BBC science presenter and creator of the 5:2 Diet, Dr Michael Mosley, who was introduced by Nobel Laureate, Professor Barry Marshall. Dr Mosley spoke on How to keep your Brain Young – the secrets to successful ageing. The take home message, in a nutshell, was to eat well (i.e. the Nordic or Mediterranean diets), do regular strength and high intensity training and use your brain (use it, or lose it!).

Read our Science on the Swan 2019 Wrap Up or view our feature in the West Australian magazine.


Science on the Swan 2018

Science, Health & Community – from Mechanisms to Models of Care

2018 Science on the Swan 2018 Science on the Swan Gary Geelhoed presenting 2018 Science on the Swan Malcolm McKusker and Gary Geelhoed

Science on the Swan 2018 focused on the implications of managing health and disease across the broad community. It is increasingly recognised that chronic diseases in adults (such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, lung disease and mental health conditions) begin earlier in life. Tackling these issues requires a holistic and multifaceted approach. It was also recognised that the healthcare burden for these chronic diseases is aggravated by the demon of distance. Regional and remote Australians and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians bear a greater burden just by being physically removed from major centres of care.

Three key areas were highlighted in the 2018 Conference:

  • The life course of chronic disease
  • Brain development and mental health
  • Aboriginal health and wellbeing

The Conference program also covered topics such as the mechanisms which underpin the development and progression of chronic disease and mental health conditions, the emerging models of care which optimise the involvement of individuals and community in the management of health problems. The impact of environment, physical activity and obesity was also explored. Finally, the Conference showcased the latest advances in Aboriginal health and well-being, looking at the significant benefits arising from the co-design of health promotion and health management programs by health professionals and Aboriginal communities.


2017 Science on the Swan

One Health

Did you know that 75% of newly emerging diseases in the last 30 years are the result of zoonotic (human – nonhuman) transmission? Population growth, climate change, lifestyle shifts and rapid transportation profoundly affect global disease profiles and acquisition risk. One Health was a Conference interested in an integrated effort of multiple disciplines to understand how these factors interact to increase the risk of emergent diseases on a global scale.

The Conference program covered topics including emergent pandemic disease threat, bacterial and fungal infections, cultural beliefs and public health solutions, personalised treatment of infectious disease, stem cell therapies, biomedical technology innovation and other emerging technologies, regenerative medicine, The Omics revolution and large data mining of amalgamated databases.


Science on the Swan 2016

Cutting Edge

Science on the Swan 2016 had 13 international speakers and many of Australia’s top researchers presenting. The Conference brought together experts from multiple disciplines who spoke on their latest discoveries and advances in health and biotechnology, including presentations from:

  • Atul Butte – Director, Institute for Computational Health Sciences, University of California
  • Zoltan Takats – Professor of Analytical Chemistry, Imperial College London
  • Andrew Walshe – Director of High Performance, Red Bull
  • Anne Kelso – CEO, National Heath & Medical Research Council
  • David Hansen – CEO, Australian e-Health Research Centre, CSIRO Health & Biosecurity

Accompanying the Conference was a Symposium event exploring big data, precision medicine, imaging, bio-engineering, 3D printing, new technologies and Omics.


Science on the Swan 2015

Hot Topics in Life Course and Development

Science on the Swan 2015 covered a variety of topics including the human life cycle – from pre-pregnancy, to the developing brain (and relating to conditions such as ADHD, Autism and early school performance), our microbiome and bacteria which co-habit our bodies, as well as how and why metabolic disease, diabetes and obesity develop and how they might be prevented.