The University of Sydney
SCHOOL OF BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES EUPDATE
WEBSITE CONTACT US
AUGUST 2012
WELCOME
Postdoctoral fellows
Dr Charmaine Tam
Originally from Sydney, Charmaine is a translational obesity physiologist. She completed her PhD at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead examining adipose tissue in lean and overweight children. During that time, Charmaine collected the largest tissue bank of fat tissue samples from children in the world.
Dr Charmaine Tam
Originally from Sydney, Charmaine is a translational obesity physiologist. She completed her PhD at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead examining adipose tissue in lean and overweight children. During that time, Charmaine collected the largest tissue bank of fat tissue samples from children in the world. After that, Charmaine did her postdoctoral fellowship at The Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Here she worked on studies examining weight loss surgery in obese individuals as well as human overfeeding studies.

Charmaine has recently joined the lab of Professor Steve Simpson, funded on an NHMRC Early Career Fellowship. Whilst at the School of Biological Sciences, she endeavours to be involved in the development of the new Charles Perkins Centre and extend investigations of the Protein Leverage Hypothesis in humans. In particular, in obese individuals and populations at higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes, such as Oceanic populations and Indigenous Australians. Charmaine is excited to learn about all the creepy crawlies in the Simpson lab and is hoping to broaden her horizons and develop a more ecological approach to her research.
Event image 4555
Back to top 
THANKS AND FAREWELL
Technical team
It was with mixed emotions that we farewelled three members of the technical staff on Friday 27 July. Claudio Muhlrad, Mihaly (Michael) Ferenczi and Jo Walker will be missed, not only for their knowledge and expertise, but for their professionalism and their willingness to help.
It was with mixed emotions that we farewelled three members of the technical staff on Friday 27 July. Claudio Muhlrad, Mihaly (Michael) Ferenczi and Jo Walker will be missed, not only for their knowledge and expertise, but for their professionalism and their willingness to help. So, while we shared in the excitement for their future, we mourned the loss of the decades of experience they take with them.

In 1987 Michael joined the School as a gardener. He became a lab-assistant the following year. Claudio joined the School in 1989, working in First Year Biology and Jo joined the tech-team in 1995. Between them, that is 65 years!

We would like to thank them all for their contributions and we hope the next stage of their lives brings them joy.
Event image 4653
Back to top 
CONGRATULATIONS
Students give Units of Study high ratings
The latest Units of Study survey results are in and show that our students enjoy their Biology courses! We have been aiming to get a score above 4 (out of 5) and, for the most part, that has been achieved.

The biggest improvement in the overall satisfaction score was for Concepts in Biology, which received a score of 4.05, up from scores between 2.0 and 3.0 a few years ago. This is a reflection of the hard work put in by many academics and general staff, particularly the teaching fellows and unit co-ordinators.
The latest Units of Study survey results are in and show that our students enjoy their Biology courses! We have been aiming to get a score above 4 (out of 5) and, for the most part, that has been achieved.

The biggest improvement in the overall satisfaction score was for Concepts in Biology, which received a score of 4.05, up from scores between 2.0 and 3.0 a few years ago. This is a reflection of the hard work put in by many academics and general staff, particularly the teaching fellows and unit co-ordinators. The team is now madly working on re-vamping the Living Systems practical course for the 640 enrolled students in semester 2. The team is aiming to match the scores gained in the Concepts course.

It is hoped that the efforts being put into the first year course will be rewarded by increasing enrolments in our second year units of study.

Results
  • Concepts in Biology 4.05
  • Concepts in Biology (Adv) 4.45
  • Human Biology 3.93
  • Human Biology (Adv) 3.81
  • Australian Flora 4.33
  • Marine Biology 4.12
  • Cell Biology 4.04
  • Conservation Biology and Applied Ecology 3.79
  • Conservation Biology and Applied Ecology (Adv) 4.75
  • Ecological Methods 4.19
  • Animal Physiology 4.17
  • Marine Field Ecology 4.41
  • Ecophysiology 3.83
Teaching Integrated Biology
An integrated approach to the teaching of biology is now at hand with recent hard-won changes to the curriculum. The latest part of the process was approval for changes in prerequisites. Many thanks to Clare MacArthur and Rosanne Quinnell for their work in this. 
An integrated approach to the teaching of biology is now at hand with recent hard-won changes to the curriculum. The latest part of the process was approval for changes in prerequisites. Many thanks to Clare MacArthur and Rosanne Quinnell for their work in this.

Students no longer have to do 12 credit points of chemistry in order to enter intermediate Biology units or major in Biology. The compromise was a note in unit descriptions that students should not do more than 2 junior BIOL units.  Our second year Genetics course prerequisites are now 6 credit points of junior Biology, 6 credit points of junior chemistry and MBLG1001.

The Integrated Biology approach now needs to be marketed to our students. There will be information sessions during semester to advise first year students. Those involved are asked to remind the students that all biologists need molecular biology and genetics and that molecular biologists and geneticists need to understand the organism on which they work. Encourage students to take all of our courses, and specialise in an honours year. 
Event image 4674
Victoria Clarke – Alan H. Gibson Prize
In late June, PhD candidate Tory Clarke won the Alan H. Gibson Prize for best oral presentation at the 16th Australian Nitrogen Fixation Conference. Her talk was entitled Proteomic profile of the soybean symbiosome membrane.

For her PhD, Tory has been identifying and analysing the proteins found on the symbiosome - the membrane that separates the soybean from the nitrogen-fixing bacteria. It is this membrane that regulates the movement of nutrients from plant to bacteroid and vice versa.
In late June, PhD candidate Tory Clarke won the Alan H. Gibson Prize for best oral presentation at the 16th Australian Nitrogen Fixation Conference. Her talk was entitled Proteomic profile of the soybean symbiosome membrane.

For her PhD, Tory has been identifying and analysing the proteins found on the symbiosome - the membrane that separates the soybean from the nitrogen-fixing bacteria. It is this membrane that regulates the movement of nutrients from plant to bacteroid and vice versa. Tory’s prize winning presentation detailed her proteomic findings. She identified a number of transporter proteins - aquaporins, amino acid transporters and ABC family transporters. She also reported on functional studies of these proteins, which confirmed their expression and localisation. Congratulations Tory and good luck with writing up your thesis.
Event image 4671
Back to top 
CONTENTS
Welcome
Thanks and Farewell
Congratulations
Murray Lecture 2012: Crowd Control
Media
Events
Stay connected
MURRAY LECTURE 2012: CROWD CONTROL
Event image 4556
Wednesday 8 August 5:45pm Eastern Avenue Auditorium
Registration essential

Join Murray lecturer, Professor Iain Couzin, to discover how individual behaviour contributes to group dynamics and how large animal groups can move in unison.
Wednesday 8 August 5:45pm Eastern Avenue Auditorium
Registration essential


Collective organisation is everywhere, both around us and within us. Our brains are composed of billions of interconnected cells communicating with chemical and electrical signals. We are integrated in our own collective human society. Elsewhere in the natural world a flock of birds arcs and ripples while descending to roost, and a school of fish convulses, as if it is a single entity, when attacked by a predator.

Join Iain Couzin, Assistant Professor at Princeton University, to discover how individual behaviour contributes to group dynamics and how large animal groups can move in unison. Do animal groups function as a "collective mind"? Iain will provide a visual guide to his research on the principles of collective behaviour in crowds, flocks, schools and swarms including the critical role that uninformed, or weakly-opinionated, individuals play in democratic consensus decision-making.
MEDIA
This month's media covered skinks, bees, dingoes, Australian native tobacco, science outreach and understanding obesity.
Bairnsdale Advertiser | Ben Oldroyd
Bee cautious

Take 5 | Rick Shine
Skinky business

Manly Daily | Outreach
Young scientists

North Shore Times | Outreach
Six scientists in the making

Western Weekender Penrith | Outreach
Gifted and talented: Local students expand knowledge


Sydney Alumni Magazine | Steve Simpson
The Fight Against Fat

Queensland Country Life | Peter Waterhouse
Remarkable Aust native plant offers endless research possibilities

Warrnambool Standard | Peter Waterhouse
Arid zone plant may hold crop development benefits

3WM Horsham Radio | Ben Oldroyd
Country Today 26/7/12

Australasian Science | Mathew Crowther
Dingos May Have Outfoxed Tigers

Australasian Science | Steve Simpson
Spoilt by Choice
EVENTS
Wednesday 8 August, 5:45pm-8pm
Murray Lecture
Saturday 25 August, 9:30am-4pm
Sydney University Open Day
Sunday 2 September
SIMS Harbour Hike
Friday 19 October, 4pm-8pm
Celebrate Biology: your natural selection
STAY CONNECTED
> Past newsletters
Facebook Twitter Youtube
Copyright © 2012 The University of Sydney, NSW 2006 Australia. Phone +61 2 9351 2222
ABN 15 211 513 464 CRICOS Number: 00026A

Disclaimer | Privacy statement | University of Sydney