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MAY 2012
WELCOME
Post-doctoral fellows
Dr Victoria McCarl

Molecular biologist, Dr Victoria McCarl, recently joined the Lo lab to study termites. Victoria’s background in molecular biology has allowed her to be a part of varied areas of science, ‘which means that I am always learning something new!’
Victoria completed her PhD (2007) at Monash University characterising nitrilases from Arabidopsis thaliana (also called thale cress). During her PhD she also worked at Protein Express where she helped formulate the strategy for high-throughput protein expression and purification.
Dr Victoria McCarl

Molecular biologist, Dr Victoria McCarl, recently joined the Lo lab to study termites. Victoria’s background in molecular biology has allowed her to be a part of varied areas of science, ‘which means that I am always learning something new!’

Victoria completed her PhD (2007) at Monash University characterising nitrilases from Arabidopsis thaliana (also called thale cress). During her PhD she also worked at Protein Express where she helped formulate the strategy for high-throughput protein expression and purification. After her PhD, Victoria was employed by Arbovax, a start-up biotechnology spin-off from North Carolina State University. Whilst here she was involved in engineering attenuated viruses as vaccine candidates for dengue fever. In 2008, Victoria joined the University of Sydney - School of Molecular Bioscience, to express soluble di-iron monoxygenases. These are key enzymes in the bacterial oxidation of hydrocarbons, and have applications in environmental and industrial biotechnology. Victoria worked to express these proteins from Mycobacteria chubuense NBB4, in fast growing, easy to manipulate recombinant expression systems.

Victoria now joins the School of Biological Sciences to study the phylogeography, colony structure, and caste determination mechanisms of local pest termites. She plans to analyse their mitochondrial genes, microsatellites and gene expression. Victoria will also analyse the diversity and composition of the microbial biota within ticks, including the potential presence of Lyme-disease spirochetes. This project will be done in collaboration with Andrew Holmes (School of Molecular Bioscience).
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Professional Staff
Jo Maylon

Joining us on secondment from Architecture, Jo will be the post-graduate and honours student services co-ordinator for the School of Biological Sciences. This role takes care of the administration side of post-graduate and research student candidature and is held by Roz Malin, who is currently on extended leave. Jo comes to Biology with a wealth of experience in student services. She has been with the Faculty of Architecture, Design and Planning for the past two years, most recently acting as student administration manager. 
Jo Maylon

Joining us on secondment from Architecture, Jo will be the post-graduate and honours student services co-ordinator for the School of Biological Sciences. This role takes care of the administration side of post-graduate and research student candidature and is held by Roz Malin, who is currently on extended leave. Jo comes to Biology with a wealth of experience in student services. She has been with the Faculty of Architecture, Design and Planning for the past two years, most recently acting as student administration manager.

Jo joined the School of Biological Sciences in April and says that she ‘loves it!’ and that she is ‘enjoying working with wonderful people.’ Jo will be with the School until October 2012.
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Visitors
Associate Professor Kiyoto Maekawa

Associate Professor Kiyoto Maekawa, from the University of Toyama in Japan, is currently visiting Dr Nate Lo’s research group. Whilst here, Kiyoto is working on the phylogenetics and evolution of Australian termites and cockroaches and their endo-symbiotic bacteria. In particular he is using next generation sequencing to study genome evolution of Blattabacterium, and the transcriptomes of different termite castes. ‘There are many interesting and important species of insects in Australia, and Dr Lo and I have been collaborating with each other since we were graduate students about 15 years ago,’ Kiyoto said.
Associate Professor Kiyoto Maekawa

Associate Professor Kiyoto Maekawa, from the University of Toyama in Japan, is currently visiting Dr Nate Lo’s research group. Whilst here, Kiyoto is working on the phylogenetics and evolution of Australian termites and cockroaches and their endo-symbiotic bacteria. In particular he is using next generation sequencing to study genome evolution of Blattabacterium, and the transcriptomes of different termite castes. ‘There are many interesting and important species of insects in Australia, and Dr Lo and I have been collaborating with each other since we were graduate students about 15 years ago,’ Kiyoto said.

Kiyoto completed a BSc at Hiroshima University before doing his masters and PhD at the University of Tokyo. After his PhD, Kiyoto was a Japan Society for the Promotion of Science research fellow, again at the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Tokyo. He joined the Graduate School of Science and Engineering at the University of Toyama in 2002, and became an associate professor in 2007.

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Postgraduate students
Sonia Esteves Brazao

Sonia’s research – past and present - focuses on man’s effect on nature. She completed a BSc (2002) in marine biology at the University of Lisbon and an MSc (2009) in marine and coastal studies at the University of Algarve, Portugal. Using limpets as an indicator, Sonia was able to study pollution events and future climate change.
Sonia Esteves Brazao

Sonia’s research – past and present - focuses on man’s effect on nature. She completed a BSc (2002) in marine biology at the University of Lisbon and an MSc (2009) in marine and coastal studies at the University of Algarve, Portugal. Using limpets as an indicator, Sonia was able to study pollution events and future climate change.

For her PhD in the School of Biological Sciences, Sonia will continue to investigate the effect of man-made structures on limpet biochemical responses. She will do this by focusing on the interaction between limpet food intake and biochemical profiles in natural and artificial habitats. Sonia’s project is being supervised by Professor Ross Coleman, Professor Stephen Simpson and Dr Richard Murphy.
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CONGRATULATIONS
Jabez-King Heydon Memorial Prize
The 2011 recipient of the Jabez-King Heydon Memorial Prize from the School of Biological Sciences is Dr Danny Liu. This prize is given for the most meritorious PhD awarded in the past twelve months. The decision is based on examiners reports and last year there were a large percentage of highly competitive candidates – so well done Danny!
The 2011 recipient of the Jabez-King Heydon Memorial Prize from the School of Biological Sciences is Dr Danny Liu. This prize is given for the most meritorious PhD awarded in the past twelve months. The decision is based on examiners reports and last year there were a large percentage of highly competitive candidates – so well done Danny!

Danny was awarded his PhD in plant biology. His work was in characterising proteins of cell-wall channels (plasmodesmata – similar to gap junctions in animal cells) from Arabidopsis. Danny is now an associate lecturer in the School. More information about this award can be found here http://sydney.edu.au/science/biology/studying_biology/postgraduate-research-prizes.shtml
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Sydney Institute of Marine Science Doctoral fellowship
The Sydney Institute of Marine Science (SIMS) has awarded School of Biological Sciences PhD student, Sonia Brazao, a 2012 Doctoral Fellowship. These fellowships are awarded annually on a competitive basis. Sonia, and her supervisor Associate Professor Ross Coleman, will be attending the presentation ceremony on Monday 14th May.
The Sydney Institute of Marine Science (SIMS) has awarded School of Biological Sciences PhD student, Sonia Brazao, a 2012 Doctoral Fellowship. These fellowships are awarded annually on a competitive basis. Sonia, and her supervisor Associate Professor Ross Coleman, will be attending the presentation ceremony on Monday 14th May. 

Shawna Foo (who is supervised by Professor Maria Byrne in the Discipline of Anatomy and Histology) has also received a SIMS Doctoral fellowship. Professor Byrne is co-appointed between the School of Biological Sciences and the Discipline of Anatomy and Histology. We congratulate both Sonia and Shawna on their fellowships.
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NOTICES
Thanks
The Head of School, Robyn Overall, would like to thank the technical staff for all their hard work in preparing for the new first-year biology laboratory practicals. The student feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. ‘Thanks must also go to Clare McArthur and team for submitting the paperwork for the second-year units,’ said Professor Overall.
The Head of School, Robyn Overall, would like to thank the technical staff for all their hard work in preparing for the new first-year biology laboratory practicals. The student feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. ‘Thanks must also go to Clare McArthur and team for submitting the paperwork for the second-year units,’ said Professor Overall.

Now the challenge is to leverage this good-will amongst the first-year students and encourage enrolments in the semester two courses Living Systems and Molecular Biology and Genetics and beyond...
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Budget
The bank balance for the School of Biological Sciences is in a healthier position this year than last. Last year there was a 3 million-dollar loss, this year there is only a 1.2 million-dollar loss. The difference between the budget and the actuals often rests with funding allocated based on students numbers – another reason to encourage our first-year students to continue onto second-year.

A draft Change Proposal for the technical team will be released soon. Four technical staff have indicated that they are interested in taking a voluntary redundancy and the draft change proposal will incorporate this.
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CONTENTS
Welcome
Congratulations
Notices
Celebrating 50 Years
Media
Events
Stay connected
CELEBRATING 50 YEARS
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The School of Biological Sciences celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. We are working on a gallery of images for display of our past and present students and staff, engaged in courses and research. If you have images or materials that you think might be useful for this gallery, please send them to Cecily Oakley (cecily.oakley@science.org.au).
MEDIA
ABC 702 Sydney | Dieter Hochuli
Why fruits are tasty

ABC Kimberley | Rick Shine
Biological control for cane toads

Mosman Daily | Outreach
Hands-on workshops: Blood, slime and...fun

Riverina Leader | Outreach
Local gifted and talented science students experience Sydney University

Penrith City Star | Outreach
Young scientist among the best

Blacktown Sun | Outreach
Honour for student

Highlands Post | Outreach
Talented Highlands students selected for uni program

Lithgow Mercury | Outreach
Ashley’s a gifted student

Hills Shire Times | Outreach
Discovering another side of science

Mt Druitt St Marys Standard | Outreach
Gift discovering science

Tasmanian Country | Peter McGee
How fungi can rescue your soil
EVENTS
Friday 11 May, 5pm
Prizes Ceremony
Monday 14 May, 6pm
Flock of Dodos: film screening and discussion panel
Friday 18 May, 9.20am
Graduation: Marine Science and Environmental Sciences
STAY CONNECTED
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