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VLS Announcements 051 - 21 August 2015

Dear Colleagues,

Welcome to issue 051 of our weekly announcements.

As part of our current domestic engagement campaign, letters have been sent to all High Schools in Western Australia this week, advising them of the Scholarships that Murdoch University is offering for School Leavers entering university in 2016. In the letter Schools have been asked to direct any queries to Kerina Puttman, Manager Domestic Engagement. Kerina’s team will also be talking directly to the School Counsellors at the High Schools, as part of their regular contact and visits. Should you wish to view a copy of the letter, it can be found here.


David Hampson
Dean, School of Veterinary and Life Sciences

Submissions for the announcements can be made by emailing Emma Thorp by COB each Tuesday for publication on Friday.

Note: items that require action are marked with a red flag for action.   Click on [Expand All/Collapse All] below to view the entire stories.

Teaching and Research News [Expand All] | [Collapse All]

  • CRC Plant Biosecurity Awards.

    Veterinary and Life Sciences were awarded two out of four national awards at the PBCRC dinner on the 13th August.

    Student, Nat Banks won the Emerging Scientist Award whilst the PBCRC Project 3099 team, (Delivery and adoption of nitrogen/low oxygen and nitrogen + phosphine technology for the management of grain storage pests and grain quality), led by YongLin Ren, won the PBCRC Biosecurity Impact Award, which recognises a CRC project making a measurable change to Plant Biosecurity by delivering research outcomes to end-users..

  • Postdoctoral Research Fellow Positions

    National Environmental Science Programme – Threatened Species Recovery Hub is seeking applications for Postdoctoral Research Fellow Positions.

    We are seeking highly motivated Postdoctoral Research Fellows (up to five positions) to be part of an exciting team committed to improving the outcomes of Australia's threatened species and ecological communities. The roles will involve specific outcome-oriented research related to a range of projects focusing on: cost effective biodiversity offsetting; threatened plants conservation listing and prioritisation; threatened species monitoring and environmental accounts; ecosystem modelling; prioritisation of threat eradication and species reintroduction; spatial planning; and threatened species management, particularly invasive predators.

    Appointed Postdoctoral Research Fellows will be required to work on one or more of the above topics to develop solutions that will meet the research priorities of the Threatened Species Recovery Hub.

    More information including the application process can be found here:

    Applications close: 25 Sep 2015 (11:55 PM) E. Australia Stand

  • Invitation to join the Conversation for action.

    Have you registered for the 2nd Conversation? The theme of the Conversation will be: Students as partners in learning

    This year at the Conversation we will be celebrating the 40th anniversary of the University, launching the Changing Minds and Lives L&T strategy and welcoming two keynote speakers Prof Karen Nelson Pro Vice Chancellor (Students) from the University of the Sunshine Coast and Associate Professor Bill Ashraf from Blackboard will be talking about the role of technology enhanced learning. The event will be held in the Nexus Theatre between 26-28th August. Staff and students are invited to attend and participate in the Conversation. The schedule will include:

    Day 1: Keynote speaker Prof Karen Nelson will talk about the first year experience and what we can do to improve retention in our university. We will have two panels: one chaired by Prof Richard Harper on 40 years of L&T at Murdoch University with the first Aboriginal student Isabelle Adams on the panel. The second panel will be chaired by Prof Sara de Freitas and focus upon ‘students as partners in learning’.

    Day 2: The Murdoch Debates, chaired by Dr Janice Dudley, will bring students versus staff to debate issues around the role of the university. Last year the student team won the debate so the staff will be fighting back this year led by Dr Andrew Webster.

    Day 3: By popular request from staff, the Showcase day will provide an opportunity for staff and students to present their work and research on learning and teaching. The day will include presentations from the 40 submissions from staff and students. The categories will include: Full papers, short papers, posters, rapid fire presentations and video submissions. The MC will be Prof Domenico Gasbarro.

    Do book your places for the second Conversation about learning and teaching today. Book now:

    For more information about speakers and the schedule see:
  • Baudin's Cockatoos Research Project
  • Murdoch research focussing on the GPS tracking of Baudin's Cockatoo's has recently been featured by local media outlets.

    The research program, funded by the Department of Housing and WWF Australia, in collaboration with Parks and Wildlife, Perth Zoo, University of Amsterdam and the Kaarakin Black Cockatoo Conservation Centre, released nine rehabilitated cockatoos this week. The footage of this release was featured on both Channel 10 and Channel 9 news. With both outlets highlighting the conservation of the species.

    View the Channel 9 footage here

  • Australian Museum Eureka Prize Finalist
  • Murdoch Technician, Aileen Elliot, has just been announced as a finalist in the Science Photography Category for the Australian Museum's 2015 Eureka Prizes.

    Eureka Prizes are presented annually by the Australian Museum in partnership with our sponsors and supporters, the prizes reward excellence in the fields of research & innovation, leadership, school science and science communication & journalism. For further information about the awards please visit the Australian Museum website.

    View Aileen's video.

  • New Murdoch University course gets Perth vets working in abattoirs
  • A Perth-run program is encouraging veterinary graduates to work in Australian abattoirs as food safety expert

    A handful of final year veterinary students at the city's Murdoch University have opted to take a 12-week intensive course, qualifying them as on-plant vets (OPVs).
    The course was created after the Agriculture Department identified a critical shortage of OPVs.
    Dr Michael Laurence from Murdoch University's School of Veterinary and Life Sciences said it was a non-traditional career path.
    "The role of an abattoir vet is not traditionally a popular one for veterinary graduates, but because of the collaboration, we're now finding that we're getting students interested," he said.
    "We facilitated a 12-week course at the end of their final year, and the students come out of that course almost accredited as OPVs.
    "Obviously they need to do a bit of practical experience first, but effectively its added a second qualification to their veterinary degree even before they graduate."
    Dr Laurence said several students had gone on to secure somewhat unconventional roles as OPVs.
    "They supervise animal health and welfare in abattoirs that slaughter animals to export their meat overseas or to supply our domestic markets," he said.
    OPVs are the only practitioners able to certify that the meat produced is suitable for human consumption, and are charged with examining animals before and after slaughter to check for injuries or disease.
    "Usually people think of veterinary surgeons as people who help to save the lives of animals, but in some ways this particular role is also to do with animal welfare," said Dr Laurence.
    "The OPVs to make sure that the way the animals are handled pre-slaughter is ethical - whether they're ill, lame, or suffering from any disease - make sure that those things aren't present and that they're looked after."

Staff News and Events [Expand All] | [Collapse All]

  • Recent Unauthorised Entry and Theftfor action.

    Please be aware that there have been 2 incidents of unauthorised entry.

    Unauthorised entry has recently occurred around the VLS transportable and laptop theft from student bags outside laboratories in the Vet area.
    All incidents were reported to Murdoch Security, but individuals must report incidents to the police as required.
    Please be mindful of safety for yourselves and property.

  • Post Doc After Work Drinks

    Post Doc After Work Drinks for Early Career Researchers.

    Dear early career researchers,

    Our Post Doc After Work drinks will happen each month on the last Friday in the BSB common room (building 240, room 2.020) starting at 4pm. It is a great opportunity to get to know each other and enjoy some nibbles and drinks. The next happy Fridays are listed below so pencil them in your diary!

    - 28/08/2015

    - 25/09/2015

    - 30/10/2015
    - 27/11/2015

    Hope to see you all there!



    Dr Sofie De Meyer

    Post-doctoral researcher and Re* Team Rep

  • Welcome to New staff

    Please join us in welcoming Dr. Josie Hardwick who will be working in equine surgery.

    Josie is a graduate of the Royal Veterinary College and completed an internship and surgical residency at the Randwick Equine Centre in Sydney before moving to Western Australia in 2014. Most recently Josie was employed as a surgeon at the Perth Equine Centre. Josie will be participating in both our day service and the emergency practice.

Seminars, Conferences and Workshops [Expand All] | [Collapse All]

  • Perth based Respiratory Institute has global lung health in focus
  • Is air pollution as bad for us as smoking? Is the growing economy affecting our health?

    Only 12% of people in the world live in cities which meet WHO air quality standards, and acute effects of air pollution cause those with lung and heart disease to deteriorate, require hospitalisation or even to die. Long term effects include reduction in lung growth of children and adolescents, worsening lung function in adults, cardiovascular disease and lung cancer. It is a global problem, with ambient air pollution in cities and rural areas estimated to cause more than 3.7 million premature deaths worldwide.

    The inaugural Philip Thompson Oration, presented by the Institute of Respiratory Health (formally the Lung Institute of WA) will cover this topic in detail when Emeritus Professor Norbert Berend presents his talk “Air pollution and lung health – A global problem with special importance for Asia Pacific” in Perth in September.

    Norbert Berend is Professor Emeritus at the University of Sydney and Head of Respiratory Research at the George Institute for Global Health, with honorary appointments at three Chinese universities. He is an expert in respiratory health, with his research interests including Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, asthma, and airway physiology. He has previously been President of the Thoracic Society of Australia and New Zealand and the Asia Pacific Society of Respirology and Director of the Woolcock Institute.

    Professor Phil Thompson, the founding director of the Institute for Respiratory Health says “I am honoured to have Prof Berend to be the first speaker at this Oration in my name. His research has global implications and will be of great interest to the respiratory research community in Western Australia and to anyone with an interest in air pollution and its impact on health.

    “I have had the privilege of working closely with Norbert over many years to further improvements in respiratory disease in Australia and in the Asia Pacific region. His clear thinking and analysis of major health issues has been an inspiration to all who work with him. I look forward to his presentation and catching up with him at the cocktail party after the talk.”

    The Philip Thompson Oration will be held on Thursday, 17th September between 5:30pm and 6:30pm (followed by drinks and canapés) in the McCusker Auditorium at the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research, QQ Block, QEII Medical Centre, 6 Verdun Street, Nedlands.

    Please register at or phone 08 93463198.

  • IIID Presentation

    The next presentation will be by Associate Professor Matt Linden, School of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, UWA

    The presentation, titled " Platelets in health and disease: Aggregate knowledge" will be held in Wednesday 26th August at 11am in the McCusker conference room. Please contact Deborah Robertson for further information.

VLS Announcements No. 051