Faculty of Veterinary Science
March 2016
Research News
From the Desk of ADR

Well it's certainly been a busy start to the year! Firstly I would like to congratulate and thank our outgoing ADR, the new Pro Vice Chancellor (Global Engagement) Professor Kathy Belov. I would also like to thank our outgoing research development committee members Damien Higgins, Siobhan Mor & Navneet Dhand for their hard work over the past couple of years. Due to the uncertain future of the committee, there haven’t been any wholescale changes, but I would like to welcome the new Subdeans for Undergraduate and Postgraduate research, Drs Bianca Waud & Auriol Purdie. Yani Garcia, the Animal Science Cluster Representative on the SOLES Research Committee will also be involved this year.

We started the year with the Faculty Research Conference really emphasising the breadth of quality work that is going on in the Faculty, with exciting presentations on a range of diverse topics. A highlight was the DPI compact section for which a number of our industry collaborators were present and gave resoundingly positive feedback. We also welcomed our new Head of School (SOLES), Professor Iain Young and the LEES Teaching Principle Professor Pauline Ross to their positions, while the DVC-R presented the Research Awards. 

It is also currently grant writing season (although really, when isn't it?!), and I am thrilled that we have been signing off on lots of grant applications. Keep them coming! Obviously it is a time of transition with SOLES also now involved with this process. For now, we will collate the grant applications and for those that also require SOLES signoff I will forward them on a case by case basis. Speaking of SOLES, many of you will have noticed that you now receive another regular email “Researcher Weekly Mailing” from the Faculty of Science. This email summarises many of the grant opportunities that may be relevant to your work, (with the exception of Faculty of Science compacts, which have already been determined for our Faculty), so please check it before deleting it.

At the end of last year the government released the Watt Review of Research Policy and Funding Arrangements in Australia. The report highlighted that the overall quality of Australia’s research sector is high, but very little publicly funded research is translated into business collaborations. The report recommended funding changes to the higher education research sector, many of which have already been adopted by government. These include significant changes to how the Research Block Grants will be allocated to Universities. The new model focuses more on rewarding and recognising research income and higher degree completions. To encourage collaboration with industry, a change to ARC linkage grants has been applied. From July, you can apply for a linkage grant at any time (there are no submission deadlines), and new processes have been put in place to ensure a faster assessment process so successful grants can begin more quickly. The other change that will effect University funding is that research publications no longer have a bearing on RIBG. However, publications remain important when it comes to ERA and university rankings, so you will see a particular University wide push to encourage publication of papers in more highly cited journals. In light of this, next week we will have a presentation from Allison Balberg from the Research Portfolio to introduce us to “Journal Finder”. This is a database the University has developed to help researchers identify suitable journals to publish in that they may not have considered previously. It can also be used to identify relevant cross disciplinary high-impact journals, and journals that are undergoing an upward trend in citations. The seminar will be held in the VSCC next Wednesday the 9th of March at 1 pm (and will be beamed by the marvels of modern technology to the Annison room in Camden) so I hope to see many of you there.

Finally, this week I had a very pleasant job of welcoming new postgraduate students to the Faculty. We also have a number of postdoctoral fellows starting at the Faculty, including the recipients of the Fellowships that were advertised late last year. Prof Vanessa Barrs, Dr Angela Crean and Dr Camillia Whittington.  We will feature the postdoctoral fellows in the “30 seconds with…” section of the newsletters over the next couple of editions. Please say hi to all our new students and staff and make them all welcome!

On a final note:- a second round of DPI Compact grants and Faculty Bequests will both be announced shortly. The 2016 round of RIBG funds to be distributed shortly using the same format previously used.

All the best

Tash

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Welcome to our new Postdoctoral Research Fellows
Dr Angela Crean
In 2015 the Faculty advertised for Postdoctoral Research Fellows in animal and veterinary bioscience.  In this issue please welcome:-

Dr Angela Crean
Dr Camilla Whittington

30 seconds with – Angela Crean

1.  What is your area of expertise?

Evolutionary Ecology: sexual selection and phenotypic plasticity.

My research is question based rather than systems based, investigating effects of a parent’s environment on gamete and offspring quality. I started with fish and marine invertebrates, moved on to flies and insects, and have joined the Vet Faculty to upgrade to cute and furries. 

 2.   Most exciting Research discovery to date?That (fly) offspring inherit traits of a previous mating partner of their mum, known as Telegony.

3.    What is on your Research bucket list?To develop a course in Evolutionary Medicine, teaching evolutionary ideas about ageing, nutrition, and reproduction to doctors.

4.   Something about you that we don’t know?  I play the cello.


Dr Camilla Whittington

Photo: with a mating ball of viviparous red-sided garter snakes in the field in Manitoba, Canada

1.  What is your area of expertise?
My research concerns evolutionary innovations: traits like eyes, wings, venom, and live-birth that are dramatic adaptive novelties responsible for much of the Earth’s animal diversity. These complex traits are produced by the collective action and evolution of thousands of genes, and their origins are poorly understood. Through my research I seek to understand the genetic basis of such evolutionary innovations, linking genotype to phenotype, to investigate a critical evolutionary question: How do complex traits evolve? I am currently investigating two evolutionary innovations: viviparity (live-birth/pregnancy) and venom. Through this research, I am also working to increase our knowledge of the fundamental biology of some of Australia’s unique native species, including the pot-bellied seahorse, skinks, marsupials, and the platypus. My interests encompass evolutionary biology, genetics and genomics, physiology, animal behaviour, and conservation.
 2.   Most exciting Research discovery to date?
I recently conducted an in-depth genetic investigation into male seahorse pregnancy, generating the first dataset of its kind across the full time-course of pregnancy for any animal. This work was exciting because it provided a vast amount of information about the fundamental biology of male pregnancy- including the surprising finding that seahorse dads provide nutrients to their developing embryos during gestation. What is even more interesting is that we discovered common genes that underpin pregnancy in seahorses, mammals and reptiles, which have evolved viviparity independently, millions of years apart.
 
3.    What is on your Research bucket list? 
Very little is known about viviparity in amphibians, but their truly bizarre array of adaptations for pregnancy (including intrauterine cannibalism) make this lineage top of my research bucket list!
 

4.   Something about you that we don’t know ? 
I’m secretly envious of seahorse reproductive biology. When is some maverick researcher going to figure out how to make male pregnancy happen in humans?!
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Who has been creating news....
News from around the globe!
The Canberra Times profiled Associate Professor Robyn Alders from the Faculty of Veterinary Science in relation to her contribution to food and nutrition security in developing regions. 
 
Dr Derek Spielman from the Faculty of Veterinary Science was quoted in the Huffington Post about the life expectancy of a double-headed snake found in Victoria. 

Dr Anne Fawcett from the Faculty of Veterinary Science authored an article published in the Herald Sun about the dangers of dogs consuming chocolate in the context of Valentine’s Day.
Professor Richard Whittington from the Faculty of Veterinary Science was interviewed on ABC Landline and in the Sunday Tasmanian about Pacific Oyster Mortality Syndrome in Tasmanian oyster farms. 

Dr Derek Spielman from the Faculty of Veterinary Science was quoted in the Huffington Post about the mutational abnormality of albinism in kangaroos. 

Dr Derek Spielman from the Faculty of Veterinary Science was quoted in the Huffington Post about the life expectancy of a double-headed snake found in Victoria. 

ABC 7.30 interviewed Professor Richard Whittington from the Faculty of Veterinary Science about the impact of the Pacific Oyster Mortality Syndrome.

Radio National AM and Pedestrian interviewed Professor Vanessa Barrs from the Faculty of Veterinary Science about a spike in the number of cats born during warmer months.

The Sydney Morning Herald, Canberra Times and Brisbane Times quoted Professor Vanessa Barrs from the Faculty of Veterinary Science about the most common times for cats to breed.

ABC (News 24, Hobart) interviewed Professor Richard Whittington from the Faculty of Veterinary Science about Pacific Oyster Mortality Syndrome, which has spread to a second type of oyster in Tasmania. ABC (Northern Tasmania, North Coast, Eyre Peninsula) also mentioned Professor Whittington’s analysis of the virus.

Professor Richard Whittington from the Faculty of Veterinary Science was interviewed on ABC (News 24, Northern Tasmania) about the Pacific Oyster Mortality Syndrome and agricultural farms which may be infected.

News.com.au quoted Professor Richard Whittington from the Faculty of Veterinary Science about the Mortality Syndrome virus.

Director of Advancement Rosalind Ogilvie was interviewed on 2UE Sydney about the Faculty of Veterinary Science’s campaign to raise $6000 for animals in need.

CBC (Canada), New York Post (US), Metro (UK), IFL Science (Canada) and the Huffington Post (US) quoted Dr Derek Spielman from the Faculty of Veterinary Science in a story about a photo of two kangaroos embracing that went viral on social media.

The Conversation published an article by Emeritus Professor Frank Nicholas from the Faculty of Veterinary Science about Charles Darwin’s evolutionary revelation in Australia.

ABC (Rural Report, WA Country Hour and Tasmanian Country Hour) and the Weekly Times Melbourne interviewed PhD candidate Barbara Paladino from the Faculty of Veterinary Science on her research on the effects of long distance horse travel.

2SER FM interviewed Dr Roslyn Bathgate from the Faculty of Veterinary Science about the first ever litter of IVF dogs.
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CURRENT FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES
Opportunities closing soon....
The following are a few opportunities can be found at Research Professional.  What is Research Professional...

Research Professional is designed to assist you in your search for research funding. It is a database of funding opportunities in all disciplines from a wide range of sponsors in Australia and overseas. All funding opportunities in the database are eligibility verified for Australian researchers.


Northern Australia tropical disease collaborative research grants 
Closing Date:- 16 March 2016 

JD Smyth postgraduate student travel award
Closing date:- 17 March 2016  

Joint call – coordination of European funding for infectious diseases research
Closing Date:- 17 March 2016  

Cooperative research centres projects – short term collaborations
Closing Date:- 17 March 2016
  
Cancer Council NSW
Closing Date:-18 March 2016 

Recreational Fishing Trusts grants
Closing date:- 21 March 2016 

Discovery early-career researcher award
Closing date:- 22 March 2016 

APEC science prize for innovation, research and education (ASPIRE)
Closing date:- 22 March 2016 

Annual scientific meeting council scholarships
Closing date:- 22 March 2016. 

Zoological Parks and Gardens Board , AU.
Closing Date 24 March 2016

Joint call for proposals on sustainable animal production
Closing date:- 29 March 2016. 

Graduate student fellowships for alternatives to the use of animals in science
Closing date:- 30 March 2016.

Novartis prize
Closing date:- 31 March 2016. 

International fellowships, Japanese Association of university Women, JP.
Closing date:- 31 March 2016. 

Discovery indigenous,
Closing date:- 31 March 2016. 

GlaxoSmithKline prize for research in clinical pharmacology.
Closing date:- 31 March 2016. 

Holsworth Wildlife Research Endowment postgraduate research grants.
Closing date:- 31 March 2016. 

BD/ASM student travel awards,
Closing date:- 31 March 2016 

Stuart Leslie bird research awards,
Closing date:- 31 March 2016. 

Stuart Leslie bird conference awards,
Closing date:- 31 March 2016 

Young investigator grants, Human Frontier Science Programme, FR 
Closing date:- 31 March 2016. 

Study awards, South Australian research and Development Institute,
Closing date:- 31 March 2016.
  
Grants-in-aid, South Australian Research and Development institute.
Closing date:- 31 March 2016 

Professor Allen Keast research award, Birdlife Australia
Closing date:- 31 March 2016 

Career development bursaries, Antarctic Science, GB
Closing date:- 31 March 2016. 

Vernon Willey Trust fellowship, Massey University NS
Closing date:- 31 March 2016. 

Grants4Targets – novel targets for drug development, Bayer DE
Closing date:- 31 March 2016.  

Cooperative research centres – medium to long-term industry-led collaborations
Closing date:- 31 March 2016 

Emu – Austral ornithology research award, Birdlife Australia
Closing date:- 31 March 2016

Bursaries – up to £5,000 Laboratory Animals Limited GB,
Closing date:- 31 March 2016

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