FACULTY OF VETERINARY SCIENCE

JANUARY 2015

Research Newsletter  

Welcome to our new look newsletter....

 

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EVENTS

From the Desk of the ADR

We are starting the year with a bang – our Faculty research conference: This is why we measure up. The conference will run on Wednesday 4th and Thursday 5th February in the Vet Science Conference Centre and will feature a range of symposia: from food security and companion animals to biodiversity protection, indigenous and  biosecurity. There is something for everyone. There are also great development opportunities as we will have sessions on “crowdfunding” – which we plan to get into in 2015 and “getting your research out there” – we all know that results that remain in your lab book don’t count. With a great lineup of speakers, mouth-watering catering and fantastic rsvps from staff, students and industry partners – it will be great. Don’t miss out – if you forgot to rsvp, but still want to come, please let Marie know.

We are starting the year with a bang – our Faculty research conference: This is why we measure up. The conference will run on Wednesday 4th and Thursday 5th February in the Vet Science Conference Centre and will feature a range of symposia: from food security and companion animals to biodiversity protection, indigenous and  biosecurity. There is something for everyone. There are also great development opportunities as we will have sessions on “crowdfunding” – which we plan to get into in 2015 and “getting your research out there” – we all know that results that remain in your lab book don’t count. With a great lineup of speakers, mouth-watering catering and fantastic rsvps from staff, students and industry partners – it will be great. Don’t miss out – if you forgot to rsvp, but still want to come, please let Marie know.

The Research Development Committee has decided that next year we will call for expressions of interest for speakers and symposia for the 2016 conference. So if there are areas that you feel may be under-represented this year – start thinking – so we can be sure to highlight them next year.

Similarly, we are keen to represent all aspects of Faculty research in our newsletter – so please engage and send in stories – or make suggestions about projects which should be highlighted.

Damien Higgins and David Phalen are running a Koala symposium on Tuesday 3rd February. It is a great initiative to bring university researchers and local stakeholders together to establish new collaborations. For more info, contact Damien and David.

Please also watch your email in February – I will be advertising 2015 compact funding and bequests. Don’t forget that you won’t be eligible to apply if you haven’t submitted reports from 2014… If you’ve forgotten – you’ve still got a few days to get them in! Also – beware - I do not roll funding over from year to year – as has happened in the past. So if you request funds in 2015 – please be sure you can spend them in 2015!

On a more serious note – it is important that all staff correctly identify the University and Faculty on research publications. Your first affiliation needs to be “Faculty of Veterinary Science, The University of Sydney”. Any centres or adjunct appointments can go second. Funding and university rankings are apportioned only to the first listed affiliation. There have been several lapses of late – and I am following these up.

As always – keep the stories coming in – I look forward to sharing our Faculty’s research highlights in 2015.

All the best,

Kathy

 MEDIA  | Who's has been creating news............

Colleagues who have featured in the media
  • Associate Professor David Phalen from the Faculty of Veterinary Science was interviewed on ABC Riverland Today about sleepy lizards showing signs of anaemia.
  • Dr Elizabeth Arnott from the Faculty of Veterinary Science was quoted in an Australian National Geographic magazine article about kelpies
  • The Inner West Courier and Southern Courier published a piece about urinary tract problems in cats by Dr Anne Fawcett from the Faculty of Veterinary Science.
  • Takepart (US) interviewed Associate Professor David Phalen from the Faculty of Science on his research on how shingleback lizards are being affected by agricultural chemicals. Lizard illness makes it the 'canary in the coal mine' for chemical exposure. The well-known shingle back or sleepy lizard suffers a high prevalence of anemia associated with agricultural chemical exposure, research contributed to by the University of Sydney reveals. For more information, please visit: http://sydney.edu.au/news/84.html?newsstoryid=14491to read the full story. 
  • Salon (US) quoted Professor Richard Whittington from the Faculty of Veterinary Science about a herpes virus found in oysters that could threaten the industry
  • The Northern Territory News reported on research by Dr Jaime Gongora from the Faculty of Veterinary Science about crocodilian species.
  • ABC NewsRadio Sydney reported on Charles Perkins Centre research on the causes of the global obesity epidemic, and interviewed lead author Professor David Raubenheimer from the Charles Perkins Centre, Faculty of Veterinary Science and School of Biological Sciences.
  • The New Zealand Herald reported on a proposed study by Professor Paul McGreevy from the School of Veterinary Science into the treatment of racehorses.
  • The Sydney Morning Herald interviewed Professor Claire Wade from the Faculty of Veterinary Science on researching the DNA of dog breeds.
  • ABC online and the Adelaide Advertiser interviewed Dr David Phalen from the Faculty of Veterinary Science on research showing sleepy lizards are being affected by agricultural chemicals
  • Daily Mail (UK) reported on research by Professor David Raubenheimer from the Charles Perkins Centre, Faculty of Veterinary Science and School of Biological Sciences on the causes of the obesity epidemic, and research by Associate Professor Margaret Allman-Farinelli from the Charles Perkins Centre and Faculty of Science on the lack of successful diet interventions for young people.
  • The Washington Post (US) and Bloomberg (US) quoted Professor Richard Whittington from the Faculty of Veterinary Science about a herpes virus found in oysters, which could threaten the industry.
  • The Sydney Morning Herald reported on Charles Perkins Centre research on the causes of the global obesity epidemic, and quoted lead author Professor David Raubenheimer from the Charles Perkins Centre, Faculty of Veterinary Science and School of Biological Sciences.
  • The Herald Sun interviewed Professor Richard Whittington from the Faculty of Veterinary Science about the novel methods to uncover the secrets to an aggressive strain of herpes that killed off more than 10 million Australian oysters in just three days.

 PROFILES  | 30 seconds with Dr Cameron Clark

 1.  What is your area of expertise? My PhD topic was focused on dairy cow physiology, particularly the declining reproductive performance of the national herd but ever since then I have expanded my field of expertise across the dairy farming system, solving farmer problems and creating on-farm opportunities through research.  My current research focus is on the use of sensor and cow behaviour data to improve feed use efficiency on dairy farms. Incorporating grazeable forages into automatic milking systems, the early detection of poor cow health and calving through sensors and machine learning and improving milking robot utilisation in automatic milking systems through strategic feed allocation

  1.  What is your area of expertise? My PhD topic was focused on dairy cow physiology, particularly the declining reproductive performance of the national herd but ever since then I have expanded my field of expertise across the dairy farming system, solving farmer problems and creating on-farm opportunities through research.  My current research focus is on the use of sensor and cow behaviour data to improve feed use efficiency on dairy farms. Incorporating grazeable forages into automatic milking systems, the early detection of poor cow health and calving through sensors and machine learning and improving milking robot utilisation in automatic milking systems through strategic feed allocation

  2.   Most exciting Research discovery to date?  Discovering that calving events can be predicted/detected using sensor data (just published in ‘Animal’). In the near future alerts will be autonomously sent to farmers based on this finding, identifying animals that require intervention, substantially increasing the wellbeing and productivity of both the cow and calf. There is potential here to expand this technique to other species.

  3.    What is on your Research bucket list?  The creation of dairy farming systems that use existing data and new forms of technology to eliminate any form of reduced animal health.

Unlocking the value of, and creating a market for, male dairy calves.  
Collaborating with the Schools of Physics and Engineering to create autonomous, optimised dairy farming systems.

  4.   Something about you that we don’t know? Is a little bit hippy but I really like the idea of self-subsistence farming in our own backyards. I’m right into getting the most out of my 4x4 metres of veggie patch, the compatibility of plants with one another….So if I could, I’d turn the entire backyard into an arch of plants and animals to feed the family (and the neighbours given how good I am J).

 PROFILES  | 30 seconds with Dr Anne Fawcett

1.What is your area of expertise? I am a companion animal veterinarian continuing to work in small animal practice in Sydney. I am currently co-writing a textbook of veterinary ethics with Dr Siobhan Mullan from Bristol University. I completed an arts degree, with honours, majoring in philosophy, prior to completing the vet degree.  I also work as a journalist. I am not a specialist, and not strictly an expert, but I have a passion for companion animal medicine, surgery and all aspects of human-animal interactions.  I blog about this at www.smallanimaltalk.com

  1.What is your area of expertise? I am a companion animal veterinarian continuing to work in small animal practice in Sydney. I am currently co-writing a textbook of veterinary ethics with Dr Siobhan Mullan from Bristol University. I completed an arts degree, with honours, majoring in philosophy, prior to completing the vet degree.  I also work as a journalist. I am not a specialist, and not strictly an expert, but I have a passion for companion animal medicine, surgery and all aspects of human-animal interactions.  I blog about this at www.smallanimaltalk.com

 2. Most exciting Research discovery to date? In primary-accession companion animal practice one tends to discover something every day. One of the most depressing “discoveries” (but one worthy of reporting on) is that preventable disease due to sulphur-dioxide induced vitamin-b deficiency in companion animals continues to occur despite knowledge of the aetiology of this condition.  This was published in the Australian veterinary practitioner as a case report. In a similar vein but on a larger scale I was involved with a wonderful team on a large survey of veterinarians about deaths associated with permethrin spot-on products to cats. As a new graduate I discovered the hard way that the textbook information on permethrin toxicity was inaccurate – it suggested a good prognosis. When we surveyed Australian veterinarians we confirmed what many seasoned practitioners already knew – that in fact permethrin intoxication in cats has a poor prognosis and many affected cats die. But this sort of information needs to be formally documented so that it can be taken into account in the manufacture, registration and labelling of these products. It also showed to me the need for all vets to report what they see – its not just about the patient in front of you but the bigger picture. Another “discovery” was our report (along with Dr Glenn Shea – also published in the Australian veterinary practitioner) of black whipsnake envenomation in a dog. Of course this has been known to occur for years but i think sometimes ordinary vets underestimate their ability to contribute to literature about things they see commonly. The evidence base in veterinary medicine is relatively small (and in some areas non-existent) and we can all contribute to it. I’ve been very fortunate to work with awesome people covering unusual conditions like segmental uterine aplasia to guinea pig husbandry to the ethics of treating feral animals to the use of photography in practice. 

  3. What is on your Research bucket list?
Right now the focus is working on an OLT grant, lead by Professor Paul McGreevy, developing teaching resources on animal welfare and ethics. This is an area that has not traditionally been well resourced for teaching, but there is a growing expectation and increasing regulatory requirements that veterinarians are confident in evidence-gathering and decision making in these areas. I am also working on the aforementioned ethics book with Dr Mullan. But anything that promotes companion animal health and wellbeing, with a general practice slant, is on the cards. And I love collaborating. 

  4.Something about you that we don’t know  I’m a not-so-closeted fan of 1980s/1990s glam rock. I love the perms. Love the tights. I love the fact that one hard rockin’ bloke would proudly wear more eyeshadow than the spice girls combined. Love the theatre of it all. Really if I were not a vet and could actually sing and had a time machine I’d join Deff Leppard. (but I’d want to be Vivian Campbell and play the solo in animal). Although Van Halen lead by Sammy Hagar wouldn’t be a bad gig either (I do admire David Lee Roth but I get the vibe we’d clash).

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CURRENT FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES

Current Grants

The following opportunities are listed on Research Professional
researchprofessional.com/0/rr/home

Current opportunities listed below;-

Australian Meat Processor Corporation, AU
The Australian Meat Processor Corporation invites proposals for its preliminary research proposals. These support multidisciplinary initiatives in research, development and extension outcomes that enhance the sustainability productivity and profitability of the red meat processing sector. The following research priority areas have been identified for the 2015-2016 programme: technology and processing; environment and sustainability; food safety, product integrity and meat science; implementation, extension and education; industry improvement and economic analysis.
ampc.com.au/providers/request-for-proposals-fy2015-16
Closing Date 23rd February 2015

Australian Council of Agricultural Societies, AU
The Australian Council of Agricultural Societies invites applications for the Coca-Cola agriculture scholarships. These support study of a topic related to agriculture. Applicants must be Australian citizens or permanent residents, studying a topic related to agriculture at an Australian tertiary institution and be current members of an Australian agricultural or show society. Preference will be given to applicants committed to regional Australia and their involvement in the local agricultural society.
35 scholarships, worth AU$2,000 each, are available.
acas.asn.au/grant.htm
Closing Date 28th Feb 2015
 

Australian Research Council, AU
The Australian Research Council invites applications for its discovery projects scheme. This supports basic and applied research by individuals and teams. The aim is also to:
•enhance the scale and focus of research in the strategic research priorities;
•expand Australia’s knowledge base and research capability;
•encourage research and research training in high-quality research environments;
•enhance international collaboration in research;
•foster the international competitiveness of Australian research.
The chief investigator must be an employee or hold an emeritus appointment at an eligible organisation and they must have their higher degree by research conferred by the commencement date of the project.
Funding ranges between AU$30,000 and AU$500,000 per year per project for up to five years.
arc.gov.au/ncgp/dp/dp_default.htm
Closing Date 4th March 2015
 
Australia and Pacific Science Foundation, AU
The Australia and Pacific Science Foundation invites applications for its project grants. These support projects in the biological or biophysical sciences, excluding medical research. Preference is given to activities that lead to improved systems of managing land, water, plants and animals in ways which will enhance the productivity and quality of food, fisheries, plants and forests, while simultaneously conserving the natural environment, preserving biodiversity, avoiding pollution of soils and water, and enhancing human welfare.
Grants are awarded to institutions within Australia or other countries of the South West Pacific region for activities within those countries or within the region.
Grants are worth up to $15,000 per year for a maximum period of three years. Funds can be used towards travel and equipment essential for the project, but salaries for research scientists and stipends for students will not be covered.
apscience.org.au/guidelines.html
Closing Date: 06 March 15

Hermon Slade Foundation, AU
The Hermon Slade Foundation invites applications for its project grants. These support projects in the biological or biophysical sciences carried out in institutions within Australia or other countries of the South West Pacific region. Preference is given to projects which seem likely to lead to improved systems of managing land, water, plants and animals in ways which will enhance the productivity and quality of food, fisheries, plants and forests, while simultaneously conserving the natural environment, preserving biodiversity, avoiding pollution of soils and water, and enhancing human welfare.
Grants are worth up to AU$15,000 per year for the maximum duration of three years.
apscience.org.au/guidelines.html
Closing Date: 6 March 2015

Graduate student fellowships for alternatives to the use of animals in science
The International Foundation for Ethical Research invites proposals for its graduate student fellowships for alternatives to the use of animals in science. These support candidates whose proposals show the greatest potential to replace the use of animals in science. Proposals should advance the development of alternatives to the use of animals in research, testing or education, and provide training that integrates innovation and discovery with ethics and respect for animals.
ifer.org/fellowships-availability-announcments.php
Closing Date: 20 April, 2015

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DATES TO NOTE

 4-5 FEB 2015  | Research Conference:-This is why we measure up.

The Faculty of Veterinary Science are holding the Research Conference: This is why we measure up!  Join us at the Veterinary Science Conference Centre on the 4th & 5th February 2015.

The Program and how to register is located at the Faculty's events page

 16-19 AUG 2016  | International Veterinary Immunology Symposium 2016

Early Notice

 CONGRATULATIONS....  | Congratulations....

  • Dr Sonia Lui has been awarded  the “New and Emerging Rural Industries Award” at the 2015 Science and Innovation Awards for Young People in Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry”, organised by the Federal Department of Agriculture.
  • A/Prof Jaime Gongora was the recipient of the inaugural Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Outstanding and Innovative Contributions to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Strategy

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