School of Engineering and IT

School of Engineering and Information Technology

Dean's Newsletter

April 2014

WWW2014 - We've won!  Perth to Host the 2017 World Wide Web Conference

A Perth bidding team, including Information Technology’s Associate Professor Lance Fung, have won the right to host the 2017 World Wide Web conference. The bid has been strongly supported by DVCs Research of the four public WA universities, and the Perth Convention Bureau (PCB).

The World-Wide-Web Conference is a world class prestigious conference in the Web and ICT disciplines. This year’s event in Seoul attracted over 1,000 delegates, with only 84 full and 91 poster papers accepted from over 900 submissions.

The Perth bidding committee comprises representatives with diverse expertise and experience. Thirteen delegates attended the conference, with six taking part in the presentation. The team has worked extremely hard in the preparation and rehearsal. After a gruelling 30 minute presentation, followed by Q&A and two hours’ wait, the bidding team were informed of the great news of their win over SYDNEY!

The win heralds the beginning of three years of hard work and preparation in the lead-up to 2017. It is believed that this conference will be a catalyst to inspire and encourage students, academics and industry in the Web and ICT disciplines, and will put Perth on the world map. Congratulations to Lance and the team!

For information on this year’s WWW Conference,

pic 4 Apr news WWW2017 bidding team.jpg

[PIC CAPTION: The Winning Team: (Front L-to-R): Vivienne Conway (ECU), Rick Barrett (Curtin and Chair of WWW2017 Bid Committee), Sue Stepatschuk (PCB). (Back L-to-R) Lance Fung (Murdoch), Rick Cummings (Murdoch), Phil Nicholls (Curtin)]

School Awards Ceremony - Thursday 8th April

The School’s high achieving students were acknowledged this month, at the annual Awards Ceremony. The event, held in the Kim Beazley Lecture Theatre, showcased the successes of students in our School, as well as Health Professions and Psychology & Exercise Science, and acknowledged the generous support of the many prize donors.
As Vice Chancellor Richard Higgott noted in the night’s proceedings, “Recognising excellence in education requires considerable support and commitment from industry and personal donors.”

pic 2 Apr news_DSC1017 Awards - Averyl See Jennifer Searcy.jpg

[Pic caption: Averyl See is presented with the Nicholas Searcy Prize in Applied Mathematics, by prize donor and Adjunct Professor Jennifer Searcy]

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[Pic caption: Dean Bodzio Dlugogorski introduces the School’s award recipients]

Over 60 sponsored prizes were awarded across the School’s areas of study. Prize recipients included:

  • Caitlin Sweeney, who won the Sardar Gurdit Singh and Sardani Sunder Kaur Memorial Prize in Third Year  Chemistry – for the best GPA in the Bachelor of Science in Chemistry by a graduating student.
  • David Anderton, who won the Engineers Australia Electrical College Max Shean Medal - for the highest weighted GPA in second, third and fourth year of Electrical Power or Renewable Energy engineering.
  • Ashley Sherwood, who won the David Muir Prize in Extractive Metallurgy – awarded for the best academic performance in an Extractive Metallurgy Research Project and Thesis.
  • Dean Klimczak and Samuel Carton, who were jointly awarded the Jim Ellis Prize for Best Information Technology Graduate – awarded for the best academic performance by a student graduating with an Information Technology major.
  • Averyl See and Choi Cho, who were jointly awarded the Nicholas Searcy Prize in Applied Mathematics, for their outstanding academic performance.
  • Leslie Hansen, who won the Physics / Physics and Nanotechnology Staff Prize for the best academic performance in the first year of Part II of the Physics and Nanotechnology major.

The full list of winners will be published on the University’s website in the coming days, and a photo gallery from the event can be viewed here:

CCG Celebrates LabGear Australia Discovery Science Award

Professor Steve Wilton, from the Centre for Comparative Genomics, has been announced as the winner of the 2014 LabGear Australia Discovery Science Award.

This prize is awarded for distinguished contributions to the field of biochemistry and molecular biology. Nominees for the prize demonstrate involvement in research innovation, technology transfer, and communication. The Award is intended as a Travelling Lectureship to enable the awardee to present their work at a number of centres within Australia and New Zealand, as well as present a Symposium talk at the Australian Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology’s annual ComBio meeting.

Professor Wilton won the award for his work, along with CCG colleague Professor Sue Fletcher, on Duchenne muscular dystrophy, the most common and severe form of childhood muscle wasting. DMD is caused by mutations in the massive dystrophin gene that stop the production of this gene product that gives strength and stability to muscle fibres.

Professors Wilton and Fletcher have developed a type of molecular surgery using antisense oligonucleotides to act like scalpels that specifically excise (skip) the disease-causing part of the gene message, while leaving the gene intact - hence their technique is NOT gene therapy. This skipped gene message allows production of a shorter but still functional gene product that slows down the muscle pathology.

Professor Wilton further explains:

“DMD boys in the USA have been receiving one of our molecular scalpels (Eteplirsen) for over 2 years now, and over that time, the disease progression has been halted in the trial participants. Diagnostic testing has confirmed the expected changes in the gene message and the missing protein is being made. Rather than being wheelchair bound as would have been expected for DMD individuals of this age, the treated boys have maintained the same levels of ambulation for over 2 years, while their respiratory function have even improved over time.

We are now working on refining the next series of clinical candidates to treat other mutations in the dystrophin gene, and apply this type of genetic intervention to other diseases.”

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First Year Barbeque

On Wednesday April 9, the School hosted a networking barbecue in the Robertson Lecture Theatre courtyard for its newly commenced first year students, to help them feel at home and connected to the School now that they are settled in to first semester.

The barbecue was well attended by close to 100 students, taking up chance to mingle with their peers and staff. The event was also an opportunity to further promote the FYA Network’s student mentoring programme, where first year students are matched up with more senior students who volunteer their time to help make a new student’s transition to tertiary study a little smoother, and build their confidence and networks.

Thanks go to Mandy Middle, our First Year Advisor, for organising the event, and also to Rosie Price, Leandra Corich, Emma Tristham and Ken Seymour for their assistance, along with a number of student volunteers.

Welcome to Dr Bin Hu - Visiting Researcher in Chemistry

Dr Bin HU, from the Qing Hai Institute for Salt Lakes in Xining, China, arrived at Murdoch University in February to spend 12 months working with Prof Glenn Hefter & A/Prof Lubomir Hnedkovsky in Chemistry (CMEC).

Dr Hu will be working on the physicochemical properties of lithium salt solutions. Dr Hu’s visit is being funded by the Chinese Academy of Sciences and he is accompanied by his wife (also a chemist) and young daughter.

Welcome to Dr Ramya Ramkumar - Visiting Researcher in Chemistry

Dr Ramya Ramkumar arrived at Murdoch in late March, and will spend 12 months with us as a visiting postdoctoral researcher in Chemistry. Dr Ramkumar completed her PhD at the Indian Institute of Technology in Madras, India, during which she worked on conducting polymer based biosensors, publishing her results in reputable international journals including the Journal of Applied Polymer Science.

Dr Ramkumar will be working with Dr Manickam Minakshi Sundaram on his aqueous hybrid devices project, and will also undergo specialist training to enhance her skills in the field of electrochemical energy storage devices.

Staff News in Brief

Dr Martin Anda gave a presentation to members of the Australian Water Association, as part of their Young Water Professionals “My Water Career” seminar series, on March 27. Dr Anda shared his experiences of working in water management in various capacities, of course including his two decades as an academic in Environmental Engineering.