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SEPTEMBER 2012
RE-INTRODUCTIONS
Postdoctoral Fellow
Michael Crossland
Dr Michael Crossland re-commenced work with Professor Rick Shine in August. Michael is based at a field station in the Northern Territory. So, while he has been working as a post-doctoral fellow with Rick since 2006, many of us may not have met him. Here is a chance to catch-up!

Michael completed his undergraduate and PhD degrees at James Cook University in the fields of marine biology and zoology.
Michael Crossland
Dr Michael Crossland re-commenced work with Professor Rick Shine in August. Michael is based at a field station in the Northern Territory. So, while he has been working as a post-doctoral fellow with Rick since 2006, many of us may not have met him. Here is a chance to catch-up!

Michael completed his undergraduate and PhD degrees at James Cook University in the fields of marine biology and zoology. His PhD investigated the impact of cane toads on native freshwater organisms in northern Queensland. After his PhD, he spent four years working with the Australian Centre for Tropical Freshwater Research investigating the impact of agricultural runoff from sugar cane farms on tropical wetlands. He then spent four years working as an amphibian ecologist with the Department of Conservation in New Zealand. In 2006 Michael was drawn back to cane toad research and joined Rick's lab.

Michael has investigated many aspects of cane toad biology. “In the early years with Rick, we investigated ecological interactions between the aquatic life-history stages of cane toads - eggs and tadpoles - and native aquatic species, such as invertebrates, frogs, tadpoles and fish,” said Michael. “We also investigated the nature of cannibalism between cane toad tadpoles and cane toad eggs.” They discovered that the tadpoles were chemically attracted to the eggs and, by working with chemists at the University of Queensland, they found that these attractant chemicals were very similar to the toxins present in adult cane toad parotoid glands (the big glands on the shoulders).

Recently, Michael was the first author on a paper outlining how this cannibalistic behaviour could be exploited to specifically lure and capture cane toad tadpoles. For more on this research read the biology news article here. Michael’s 16 month re-appointment, on Rick’s laureate fellowship, will allow him to pursue this discovery further. “We are currently determining the precise chemicals responsible for the ‘attractant response’, and are also refining the trap design,” said Michael. We are so pleased to have Michael back on board for this important work.
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Tech-team shuffle
Matthew Austin has now commenced in the position of senior technical officer - Carslaw precinct. Heather Sowden is now also based in Carslaw, while Anne-Laure Markovina is in a flexible arrangement between Carslaw and Macleay. All the new arrangements are working well and the team ought to be congratulated.
Matthew Austin has now commenced in the position of senior technical officer - Carslaw precinct. Heather Sowden is now also based in Carslaw, while Anne-Laure Markovina is in a flexible arrangement between Carslaw and Macleay. All the new arrangements are working well and the team ought to be congratulated.

A new technical officer position, with a focus on molecular biology, has been advertised. Applications have now closed and we look forward to introducing you to the new member of the team in a future e-Update.
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FAREWELL
Agustin Zsögön
Dr Agustin Zsögön concludes his 12 month post-doctoral term with Dr Mary Byrne on the 14th of September. While at the School Agustin was using Arabidopsis thaliana as a model to try to understand why mutations in ribosomal proteins have discrete developmental phenotypes. We wish him all the best for his future research career.
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CONGRATULATIONS
Herpetology student prize
PhD candidate Oliver Griffith has been awarded third place for his oral presentation at the 7th World Congress in Herpetology, Vancouver. Oliver’s Herpetologists League Graduate Research prize carries with it a $US200 award. His presentation was entitled ‘Lipoprotein lipase expression increases in the uterus of a pregnant skink’. His PhD supervisor, Professor Mike Thompson, was very proud saying, “[Oliver was] the third best in the world when only 6 months into his PhD! Excellent stuff.”
PhD candidate Oliver Griffith has been awarded third place for his oral presentation at the 7th World Congress in Herpetology, Vancouver. Oliver’s Herpetologists League Graduate Research prize carries with it a $US200 award. His presentation was entitled ‘Lipoprotein lipase expression increases in the uterus of a pregnant skink’. His PhD supervisor, Professor Mike Thompson, was very proud saying, “[Oliver was] the third best in the world when only 6 months into his PhD! Excellent stuff.”

The work presented at the congress detailed the patterns of expression of the lipoprotein lipase gene in the uterus of pregnant P. entrecasteauxii. Using reverse transcription quantitative real time PCR (what a mouthful!), Oliver found lipoprotein lipase expression was five-fold higher in the uterus of late-pregnant skinks. This capacity for greater lipid transport towards the end of pregnancy corresponds with when embryos are undergoing the greatest growth. This result forms part of Oliver’s BIG PHD QUESTION about which genes are involved in the evolution of the placenta.

The presentations were judged by broadly-trained biologists who had an expertise in herpetology. Oliver was asked two questions; one about the relationship of his work to non-placental species and the other about the evolutionary driving-force behind placentation. Ask him for the answers when next you see him, because they obviously impressed the judges!
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ARC Winners
Four researchers in the School of Biological Sciences have been successful in the latest round of Australian Research Council (ARC) grants. Future Fellowships were won by Madeleine Beekman, Greg Brown and Min Chen and Rick Shine received a Laureate Fellowship. These highly sought after and prestigious grants will enable our scientists to fund their research for the next five years. For more on the research these grants will enable read here.
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Eureka finalist
Associate Professor Min Chen was shortlisted for the 2012 Australian Museum Eureka Prize in Scientific Research. Min was one of three finalists for this $10,000 prize, which is awarded for outstanding curiosity-driven research. For more read the University's news story.
Associate Professor Min Chen was shortlisted for the 2012 Australian Museum Eureka Prize in Scientific Research. Min was one of three finalists for this $10,000 prize, which is awarded for outstanding curiosity-driven research. For more read the University's news story.

The winner was announced at a dinner on Tuesday 28th August and unfortunately the winner this year was a team from UNSW and UTS.
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Virtual Microscope
Dr Rosanne Quinnell has successfully secured a grant under the Faculty Specific Research and Education IT program to allow the School to develop the use of the Virtual Microscope in its teaching.
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NOTICES
Early Career Researcher network
Your post-doctoral years are an exciting and challenging time in your life as a research scientist. You have more freedom to direct and pursue your research, but arguably less support. To help address this, Head of School Professor Robyn Overall met with early-career researchers (ECRs) last month.
Your post-doctoral years are an exciting and challenging time in your life as a research scientist. You have more freedom to direct and pursue your research, but arguably less support. To help address this, Head of School Professor Robyn Overall met with early-career researchers (ECRs) last month. The group discussed how the School could support its post-docs and it was decided that more cohesion within the ECR cohort was needed. To that end a half-day retreat to the Sydney Institute of Marine Science, Chowder Bay is being planned.

In addition, Dr Charmaine Tam has set up a professional networking site on yammer called ‘ECR Science Network’. “[It is] a way to bring together postdocs, advertise seminars and courses and a forum for discussion regarding ECR issues,” said Charmaine. Everyone is invited to join the network, especially senior academics and mentors. “We would like to get as many people involved as possible.” Please email Charmaine if you are interested in joining the group.
Research website
A new-look ‘areas of research’ webpage is currently in the making. The current format is a list of research interests, yawn. The new design will be colourful, interactive and will demonstrate the interconnectivity of the various research projects in the School.
A new-look ‘areas of research’ webpage is currently in the making. The current format is a list of research interests, yawn. The new design will be colourful, interactive and will demonstrate the interconnectivity of the various research projects in the School.

This initiative came from the School’s Research Committee, which set-up a working party to rethink the School’s research page. Academics have been asked to nominate research areas, send in representative photos and write short blurbs. Kerem and Niki are now working to compile all this information and the new page will be launched soon.
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Academic Performance and Development
A new system of Academic Performance and Development (AP&D) to replace the Performance Management and Development (PM&D) system for academics will begin in mid-September. All academics will be allocated an advisor. 
A new system of Academic Performance and Development (AP&D) to replace the Performance Management and Development (PM&D) system for academics will begin in mid-September. All academics will be allocated an advisor. The role of the advisor is to support the academic in setting a professional development plan. The advisor will not be judging performance; that is the task of the supervisor. The Head of School will allocate advisors and those she advises will be supervised by the Dean. Training sessions for the new system are mandatory and starting soon.
Work Health and Safety
Field research safety will now be that much easier thanks to Field-Teq. This new safety software, bought with ICT grant funding, will fulfil the requirements for dive record keeping and replace our obsolete database.
Field research safety will now be that much easier thanks to Field-Teq. This new safety software, bought with ICT grant funding, will fulfil the requirements for dive record keeping and replace our obsolete database. Implementation of the Field-Teq safety software is expected by the end of the year.

The safety systems within the School of Biological Sciences will also be audited again from October 2012.
Committee changes
Some changes to School committees have recently taken place. Peter Banks is now the chair of the Postgraduate Research Studies committee and Osu Lilje and Charles Warren have been added to this committee. In addition, Peter McGee has taken over from Ross Coleman on the Honours committee.
Acting Head of School
Robyn Overall, the current Head of School, is taking a well earned vacation from the 29th of August to the 16th of September. In her absence, the acting head will be firstly Clare McArthur (29-30 August), followed by Chris Dickman (31 August-3 September) and finally Ben Oldroyd (4-16 September).
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CONTENTS
Re-Introductions
Farewell
Congratulations
Notices
Celebrating 50 Years
Media
Events
Stay connected
CELEBRATING 50 YEARS
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The Meaning of Life exhibition at the Macleay Museum opens at the end of September. The curator of the exhibition, Dr Jude Philp, has been busy collecting stories, artefacts and photos from staff and students – both old and new.
The Meaning of Life exhibition at the Macleay Museum opens at the end of September. The curator of the exhibition, Dr Jude Philp, has been busy collecting stories, artefacts and photos from staff and students – both old and new.

Special thanks this month goes to Heather Sowden for helping to locate objects to reflect the ‘student experience’ and Emily Williams for allowing the use of her ink-stained, tear-stained draft thesis to demonstrate a ‘graduate student experience’. 
MEDIA
Illawarra Mercury | Outreach
Penelope enters science program

Broome Advertiser | Peter Waterhouse
It’s all in the plants

North West Telegraph | Peter Waterhouse
Wild tobacco focus of gene research

Off Track Radio National | Peter Waterhouse
Professor Waterhouse’s Wonderful Plant

Weekend West | Frank Seebacher
Climate change will affect pecking order

Stock Journal | Steve Simpson
Protein’s role in what we eat

The Land | Steve Simpson
Food industry not wholly to blame

ABC 702 Radio | Dieter Hochuli
Interview with James O’Loghlin 26/08/12
EVENTS
Wednesday 5 September, 6pm-8pm
Jumpstart Your Biology Career
Friday 19 October, 4pm-8pm
Celebrate Biology: your natural selection
Wednesday 20 October, 6pm-7.30pm
Special lecture as part of a series celebrating 50 years
STAY CONNECTED
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