School of Life and Environmental Sciences
14 May
SOLES Seminar Series
What's on this Week - Thurs 17th & Fri 18th May
Put aside one hour a week to come and hear a fantastic series of talks by engaging speakers across a wide range of disciplines. The seminar series is an important interface with the outside world – well attended seminars with plenty of discussion present an important face to the research community. You’re also guaranteed to learn something new in every seminar and – you never know – it might just spark you to do something you hadn’t thought of before.

In 2018, SOLES is running multiple cluster seminar series. 

Seminar Schedules
For this week's seminars, read below. You can also revisit many of the seminars via the Staff Intranet here.

Animal Sciences SSVS - Nichola Calvani (University of Sydney)
Thursday 17th May 1-2pm
VSCC Webster LT

'Molecular Diagnosis of the common liver fluke'

Fasciolosis is a re-emerging zoonotic disease of worldwide importance. Commonly-employed diagnostic methods for Fasciola spp., such as a traditional sedimentation and faecal egg count, or a commercially-available coprological ELISA, have limitations in their sensitivity or ability to differentiate species. A reliable DNA isolation method coupled with real-time PCR addresses these issues by providing highly-sensitive and quantitative molecular diagnosis from faecal samples. A molecular diagnostic tool for the sensitive detection and species differentiation of Fasciola spp. in cattle and sheep faecal samples was developed. Two methods of sample preparation (concentrated vs. raw) and egg disruption (disruption in a high-speed benchtop homogeniser vs disruption in a standard benchtop vortex) were compared. The result is a flexible diagnostic workflow capable of adaptation to laboratories with varying diagnostic needs and facilities.  

Nichola is a second year PhD student working on fasciolosis, a disease caused by infection with the common liver fluke, in cattle and buffalo in Southeast Asia. She first became interested in agriculture in Southeast Asia on a trip during her undergraduate degree, which she pursued further during her honours year. She has since developed a molecular diagnostic tool to quantify and speciate this zoonotic pathogen using minimally invasive samples – a must in Southeast Asia where a lack of infrastructure makes it difficult to conduct routine animal handling. 

Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Sciences - Tom White (University of Sydney)
Friday 18th May, 1-2pm
DT Anderson Lecture Theatre 217, Heydon-Laurence

'The Evolutionary Ecology of Visual Communication'

Visual communication is a ubiquitous broker of information exchange across the natural world. Effectively producing, transmitting, and perceiving visual information amidst noisy environments is a complex challenge, however, and selection has favoured diverse solutions. I will discuss ongoing work on the mechanisms, causes, and evolutionary consequences of visual signalling, with a view to understanding some of the most conspicuous features of biological diversity. I will focus on examples from two charismatic Australasian invertebrates: dynamic signalling in iridescent butterflies, and deceptive prey-luring in polymorphic 'jewelled' spiny-spiders.

Tom White is an evolutionary biologist, with broad interests in evolutionary and sensory ecology. He uses experimental, observational, and theoretical tools to test and refine theory, and prefers working with understudied invertebrates for the exciting opportunities afforded by non-model systems. After completing his PhD at Macquarie University he completed brief postdoctoral stints at Western Sydney University and Macquarie University, before joining SOLES earlier this year.
Biochemistry, Cellular and Molecular Biology - Nathan Croft (University of Melbourne)
Friday 18th May, 12-1pm,
New Law School, Lecture Theatre 024

'Immunopeptidomics – antigen presentation in the era of mass spectrometry'

The pathways of antigen processing and presentation underpin adaptive immunity, allowing peptide display on the surface of cells and alerting T lymphocytes to aberrant states such as infection and cancer. Despite decades of work elucidating the key components of these pathways, recent advances in mass spectrometry are only now beginning to shed light on the nature, diversity and abundance of the presented peptides – collectively termed the immunopeptidome. Dr Croft’s research focus is in probing immunopeptidomes and asking how such knowledge can predict T cell efficacy and inform vaccine design, especially in the context of virus infection.

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