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FEBRUARY 2014
INTRODUCTIONS
 PHD    |  
Charles Foster
Charles Foster, recent honours graduate from the School, has now signed on for a PhD in the field of phylogenetics. “My honours project focused on the molecular systematics and biogeography of a group of endemic Australian plants, Logania,” said Charles.
Charles Foster, recent honours graduate from the School, has now signed on for a PhD in the field of phylogenetics. “My honours project focused on the molecular systematics and biogeography of a group of endemic Australian plants, Logania,” said Charles. This work was supervised by Simon Ho, Murray Henwood and Barry Conn (Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney). The same team is re-assembling for his PhD project. “My PhD research focuses on an order of plants known as Apiales.”

For this project, Charles will be investigating the usefulness and accuracy of different genomic markers when estimating evolutionary timescales. “I will also be examining the performance of data supermatrices in estimating evolutionary timescales, particularly with respect to the effect of missing data.” For the non-mathsy of us, supermatrices are essentially a method to mine large amounts of data.

When asked why he was continuing his studies in biological sciences, Charles said “it is the chance to provide a new understanding of how the present diversity of life on Earth came to be.”
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 POST-DOC    |  
Ros Gloag
Dr Ros Gloag has returned to the School of Biological Sciences after time away at Oxford and the Australian National University. Ros completed her undergraduate degree (with honours) in the School but took up a scholarship to Oxford for her PhD.
Dr Ros Gloag has returned to the School of Biological Sciences after time away at Oxford and the Australian National University. Ros completed her undergraduate degree (with honours) in the School but took up a scholarship to Oxford for her PhD. “I followed that with small chunks of postdoctoral work at Oxford and ANU,” said Ros. “My time away from Sydney has been largely occupied with the study of brood parasitic birds - their behavioural ecology and evolution.”

Ros now joins the Behaviour and Genetics of Social Insects Lab as a post-doctoral fellow. “I plan to investigate the reproductive strategies of invasive honey bees.” She wants to know: 'When do they use thelytoky?' (a type of asexual reproduction) and 'When do they behave as social parasites of other bees?'

“In particular, I'll exploit an opportunity to track the reproductive history of the Asian Hive Bee, Apis cerana, throughout its invasion of Northern Australia.” Asian Hive Bee first appeared in Northern Australia six years ago and has the potential to cause serious problems for agriculture and the environment.

And why return to Australia and the School? Ros explained, “it’s the opportunity to work on a fascinating project with great people in a great department - what's not to like?!”
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CONGRATULATIONS
Poster prize winners at EMBL
PhD students Joshua Christie and Isobel Ronai are double-winners. Firstly in receiving a grant to attend the EMBL PhD symposium in Germany and secondly in winning poster prizes whilst there! Read more.
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Faculty of Science Research Equipment Scheme
We have been very successful in the latest round of funding through the Research Equipment Scheme from the Faculty of Science. The School will get two new pieces of equipment – a Western blotting machine (Frank Seebacher) and some diver-held stereo-imaging equipment (Will Figueira). Congratulations and we look forward to seeing the data!
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NOTICES
Grant Writing
For assistance with grant writing (and let’s be honest, we could all use another perspective on our writing) please contact Professor Ben Oldroyd, and he’ll pass your grant on to the most appropriate person. Further, both Emeritus Professor Ian Hume and Professor Eddie Holmes are willing to read and give feedback on your grant. Good luck!
Enrolments
Student numbers for 2014 have remained steady. First year enrolments are over 3000 students, second year are around 900 and third year is heading towards 500. It is wonderful news that we have been able to maintain student numbers (we are actually slightly up from 2013).
Student numbers for 2014 are remaining steady. First year enrolments are over 3000 students, second year are around 900 and third year is heading towards 500. It is wonderful news that we have been able to maintain student numbers (we are actually slightly up from 2013). There is no doubt that we will rise to the logistical challenges and deliver quality units of study to our students. Well done to all the staff, academics and student-demonstrators who have created such interest in the Biological Sciences.
Annual leave
Remember to take your annual leave! If the health and productivity benefits are not enough to motivate you, please consider the financial implications - especially those of you who are on grants.
Remember to take your annual leave! If the health and productivity benefits are not enough to motivate you, please consider the financial implications - especially those of you who are on grants. Each year your grant is charged for 13 months of salary. As you (or your staff on the grant) take leave, the salary for the leave period is returned to the grant. What this means is that over a three-year grant, if you take no leave, your grant will be three months overspent!
Finance
The School of Biological Sciences operations budget for 2013 is close to breaking even! This result reflects people’s hard work at increasing efficiency – so many thanks for this. Thanks also to Norman and Semra for all their hard work in managing our finances.
Acting Head of School
Murray Henwood acted as Head of School at the beginning of January – thank you Murray. He has also agreed to step into Robyn’s shoes for the third week of February, while she is walking the Milford Track. Good luck Robyn, we’ll be in safe hands with Murray.
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CONTENTS
Introductions
Congratulations
Notices
Molecules vs Organisms indoor soccer showdown
Media
Events
Stay connected
MOLECULES VS ORGANISMS INDOOR SOCCER SHOWDOWN
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By Nathan Lo
The inaugural ‘Molecules vs Organisms’ indoor soccer match between the School of Molecular Biosciences (SMB) and the School of Biological Sciences (SoBS) kicked off at 5 pm on December 10th, 2013. The SoBS team boasted a healthy mix of staff and students, including Dieter Hochuli, Clarissa Fraser, Matt Day, Veronica Grigaltchik, Hamlet Girogossyan, Aline Martinez, Daej Arab, Jun Tong, and Kianoush Nikoumanesh.
By Nathan Lo
The inaugural ‘Molecules vs Organisms’ indoor soccer match between the School of Molecular Biosciences (SMB) and the School of Biological Sciences (SoBS) kicked off at 5 pm on December 10th, 2013. The SoBS team boasted a healthy mix of staff and students, including Dieter Hochuli, Clarissa Fraser, Matt Day, Veronica Grigaltchik, Hamlet Girogossyan, Aline Martinez, Daej Arab, Jun Tong, and Kianoush Nikoumanesh.

We met in front of the Great Hall and ambled across to the very warm and humid Noel Martin Sport and Recreation Centre. Morale among the team members was not high, with some lamenting their lack of skill and speed, and others fearing annihilation at the feet of the Waterhouse Brazilians, who had been signed up by SMB captain Joel Mackay early in the team selection process. Mackay wore an intimidating kamikaze headband as he led his team onto the well-lacquered floorboards.

Somehow, fear in the SoBS players was converted into fury as the game commenced, and they out-ran, out-passed and out-played the SMB team in the early stages. Some mild sledging from the SMB team failed to pay dividends as SoBS took a 2-0 lead in the first half. SMB picked up the pace with many shots on goal brilliantly saved by Daej, Hamlet and Matt, each risking their future reproductive output from the short range blasts.

Eventually SMB broke through with a controversial goal that appeared to enter the goal via the side section of the nets. However, excellent mid-field work from SoBS soon led to a stunning goal by Clarissa that sealed the match.

At the post-match drinking session at the Royal, Hamlet obtained an item of clothing from a representative of each team, which he promised to burn and place in an appropriate vessel to be held by the winning team in future matches. Final score SoBS 4, SMB 2.
MEDIA
Crocs on campus, recreational fishing, lonely chameleons, the first plague pandemic and more!
Channel 9 | Matt Greenlees
Interview on the Gold Coast local evening news

Weekend Australian | Murray Henwood and Trevor Wilson
Flora

89.7FM | Will Figueira
Boiling point science excerpts: recreational fishing

The Conversation | Mathew Crowther
Australian endangered species: Kangaroo Island dunnart

Sydney Morning Herald | Rebecca Morris
Sydney Harbour sea creatures go potty for wall of man-made homes

ABC Radio (various) | Mathew Crowther
Interview on 3/1/14

Landscaper Magazine | Murray Henwood and Trevor Wilson
January-February edition

MedicalXpress | Eddie Holmes
Scientists unlock evolution of cholera, identify strain responsible for early pandemics

Eureka Alert | Eddie Holmes
Scientists unlock evolution of cholera, identify strain responsible for early pandemics

News Track India | Eddie Holmes
Bacteria linked to global cholera pandemic found in 200-year-old intestine

Big News network | Eddie Holmes
Bacteria linked to global cholera pandemic found in 200-year-old intestine

Sydney Morning Herald | Will Figueira
Scientists want recreational fishing ban to be reinstated

Canberra Times | Will Figueira
Reinstate recreational fishing ban: scientists

Newcastle Herald | Will Figueira
Scientists want fishing ban back

666 ABC | Will Figueira
Interview on the breakfast program 14/1/14

2GB Sydney | Will Figueira
Interview with the Mornings program 14/1/14

2EC Bega | Will Figueira
Interview on 15/1/14

Northern Territory News | Greg Brown
One day at uni and already a master of midday naps

Daily Telegraph | Cissy Ballen
Lizards need love

ABC Science online | Cissy Ballen
Early isolation makes for a dull chameleon

ABC Newcastle | Cissy Ballen
Interview on 22/1/14

Narooma News | Will Figueira
Survey of views on marine estate

Darwin Sun | Greg Brown
Croc learns lesson

PhysOrg | Cissy Ballen
Loner lizards don’t light up: The social side of lizards

AAP Newswire | Eddie Holmes
FED: Aussie helps unravel plague mystery

The Conversation | Eddie Holmes
Genome illuminates plague’s origins

Herald Sun | Eddie Holmes
University of Sydney scientists Professor Edward Holmes helps explain mystery of the Black Death and Plague of Justinian

The Age | Eddie Holmes

Plague riddle unravelled

News.com.au | Eddie Holmes
University of Sydney scientist Professor Edward Holmes helps explain mystery of the Black Death and Plague of Justinian

The Guardian | Eddie Holmes
1,500-year-old plague victims shed light on disease origins

UK Mirror | Eddie Holmes
Strain of bubonic plague as deadly as the Black Death ‘could return to Earth’

Ninemsn | Eddie Holmes
An Australian scientist has helped explain the mystery of two of history’s most deadly plagues, the Black Death and Plague of Justinian

Huffington Post | Eddie Holmes
Bubonic plague could return, warm scientists after discovering new strain of Black Death bacterium

Cairns Post | Eddie Holmes

Ancient plague died out

Launceston Examiner | Eddie Holmes
Australian unravels the mystery of plagues

Burnie Advocate | Eddie Holmes
Aussie helps with plague mystery

Illawarra Mercury | Eddie Holmes
Aussie scientist helps to unravel deadly plagues mystery

Townsville Bulletin | Eddie Holmes
Aussie helps to crack plague puzzle

Barrier Daily Truth | Eddie Holmes
Aussie helps unravel plague mystery

ABC Riverina | Eddie Holmes

Interview on NSW Statewide Drive program 29/1/14

774 ABC | Eddie Holmes
Interview on Breakfast program 31/1/14

ABC1 | Adrian Davis
Interview on Hello Birdy: Episode 1 Parrots on 1/2/14

720 ABC | Eddie Holmes
Interview on Afternoons program 4/2/14

ABC Gold Coast | Eddie Holmes
Interview on Drive program 5/2/14
EVENTS
27 February 2014, 12-1pm Old Geology lecture theatre
Biological Sciences O-week welcome
16 May 2014, 1-2pm DT Anderson lecture theatre
Keast lecture: The thermodynamic niche
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